Personality Theory Analysis
April 13, 2015
Personality Theory Analysis
Humanistic and existential personality theories have gone to change the focus of psychological views from the cause of behavior to the set individual. Carl Roger’s person-centered theory along with Rollo May’s existential psychology go on to concentrate more on present and future experiences of the individual person rather than to focus on their past experiences that have gone on to cause the persons current mental state. Psychological health in its importance should be emphasized, the way it’s accomplished as well as how important it is to maintain it as well. The dark parts of realty that are experienced by people of poor psychological health can benefit by this because issues can be brought out to the light. The person-centered theory is a humanistic approach to personality. Some basic assumptions to this theory include one’s natural tendency to move toward their full potential and one’s maintenance of their self-concept (Feist & Feist, 2009). Existential psychology focuses on the essence of humanity, the realization of being-in-the-world, the avoidance of nothingness, and how choices are driven by free will (Boeree, 2003). In these two theories it is discussed how certain situations can affect behavior as well as vice versa. Both person-centered and existential psychology theories have some factors that share personality, though they as well have differences in ideas of what truly comprises personality. The two theories both suggest that the psychological health involves relationships, like how a person functions in their interpersonal relationships, how one is treated interpersonally, as well as the presences or lack of interpersonal relationships. Roger’s and May’s person-centered and existential psychology have both very unique views on situational behavior. Normally a situation may affect a person’s behavior, or a person’s behavior may affect a situation. Truthfully, there are many factors to be considered when viewing behavior from a situational standpoint. The Person-centered theory makes the claim that the individual person will aim towards their own full potential. This in turn means; ideally the individual will respond to situations in ways that will be attributed to their self-concept. According to Rogers, people have two selves that make up the self-concept which are known as the organismic self and the ideal self. Though, one’s own self-concept may not be entirely accurate. Organismic self refers to that of the experiences that may occur outside of the person’s awareness. While the ideal self is in reference to the type of person, one wishes to be. People tend to individually respond to situations with behaviors that coincide with their self-concept. If one behaves in a way that is inconsistent with their self-concept, incongruence and a lack of psychological health will occur (Feist & Feist, 2009). According to Rogers, individuals also respond to situations on three levels of awareness: below the threshold of awareness, or ignored; accurately symbolized and freely entered into the self-structure; or distorted because an experience is inconsistent with one’s self -concept (Feist & Feist, 2009). An experiences that a person is not aware of, are simply ignored, or if there are too many other stimuli taking priority. The experiences that are accurately symbolized and stay consistent with a person’s own self-concept are then accepted openly. The experiences that are or become incongruent with a person’s self-concept will be distorted in order to assimilate with one’s own self-concept. This then reduces anxiety from the experience; however, the situation’s accuracy then becomes compromised. Now existentialism focuses hard and strong on a person’s free will. This then means that the individual has the freedom to make decisions on any situations to include inactions. Thus, any behaviors that are experienced are a direct result of any decision made by the individuals own exercised free will. That is why “intentionally” refers to the underlying structure, or intentions too, that allow for individuals to make the decisions they make about the future. Intentionality leads to a decision or action, depending on the situation (Feist & Feist, 2009). This is consistent with Roger’s theory because of the fact that both of the theories stray from determinism. Determinism is the philosophy that all behavior is in some form a response to that of factors in one’s environment. For this reason it is believed that no individual has true actual control over their behavior. In accordance to existential psychology, anxiety tends to influence situational behavior. Anxiety is a feeling that is best described as an experience by an individual when they have come to the realization that either their existence, or the aspect valued by their existence is at risk of being destroyed. This is idea may be consistent with the aspect of non-being, or with the knowledge that one’s very own existence may cease to exist at any time. Knowledge of one’s self being part of the world, or their existence as a part of nature and time which gives need to the realization that if one can be, or exist, they as well cannot be, or not exist, and therefore be nonbeing. These very concepts drive behavior in almost every situation, where one tries to strive for a place in the world and to maintain well-balanced psychological health. Anxiety can occur as normal or neurotic anxieties. Normal anxiety is a fear that is in some way comparable or proportionate to threat, therefor it is warranted and can be consciously confronted. So if a person confronts a situation with normal anxiety, then the result can be constructive as well as instrumental to the individual’s development. Therefor Roger’s might agree with this concept due to the fact that anxieties can aide in a person’s individual growth and potential. Neurotic anxiety on the other hand is a fear that is disproportional to a situation. The results for a person confronting situations with neurotic anxiety can retain experiences from ever reaching awareness, this resulting in a surrender of one’s opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Neurotic anxiety ceases growth in a person to reach potential. The characteristics of a person’s personality are factors that can attribute to a person depending on how their thoughts and behaviors vary. All individuals have different personality characteristics, and different personality theories propose different characteristics to personality. Characteristics of personality development that are seen in the person-centered theory are the organismic and ideal self, together constituting to one’s own self-concept. Rogers believed there were factors that contributed to the fully functioning person, or one who has reached self-actualization. The first characteristic is the one in which a person has to be open to new experiences and be willing to work through them, so if a person denies to do so with the experience then they cannot reach their potential. The next characteristic is existential living which is consistent with existential psychology in that they both emphasize on the importance of being-in-the-world. So if one is in touch with themselves and their surroundings, then they can appreciate life as it happens, and avoiding preconceptions. Trusting in one’s own feelings and instincts is very important for one to have a healthy personality. This helps the individual to reduce second-guessing their own incongruence. Now, creativity is very same to openness, but it includes one to seek out adjustment to new experiences as well as accepting new ones. The last characteristic, a fulfilled life describes one’s contentment with life (McLeod, 2007). Personality characteristics that are described by existential psychology go to include any phenomena that occur with an individual. So according to existential theorists, all of the contents of the consciousness, relationships, thoughts, events, images, memories, fantasies, play a role in developing an individual’s personality. Both person-centered and existential theories go to support that one’s move toward self-actualization and self-acceptance, personality characteristics are important to existential psychology and are more generalized, like awareness, being present, continually creating existence through phenomena, and one being self-aware. The thing about Humanistic and existential psychological theories is they also emphasize the important part that interpersonal relationships play. Like the ways in which one also relates to other individuals and how likewise in the ways which individuals relate to them. Strong interpersonal relationships often go along with good psychological health. According to Rogers’s, having positive interpersonal relationships become very imperative to a person’s psychological health. Rogers also emphasizes the importance of unconditional positive regard. Unconditional positive regard is in reference of being warm and accepting toward an individual, and doing it without evaluation and reservation. This in turn is complete acceptance towards an individual without having possessiveness this helps someone to feel comfortable and allowing for a person to grow. As for empathy among or between individuals, it allows for them to feel understood by one another without feeling judged. The receiving of unconditional positive regard and empathy allows for the individual to grow toward self-actualization and also achieve psychological health. Counter to unconditional positive regard and empathy are conditions of worth. Conditions of worth involve one’s perception of their acceptance based entirely on whether they meet the expectations of others to receive approval (Feist & Feist, 2009). So when relationships are formed on conditions of worth, the individual can only behave in approved manners and ways in order to be accepted, and therefore cannot reach self-actualization. Unlike person-centered theory, existential psychology focuses more individuals as separate beings in the world, and that each and every single individual must also accept their own separateness. It is also on the person to be responsible for creating meaning for them self. It is also one’s own responsibility to accept themselves and finding some kind of meaning, but interpersonal relationships still go on to play an important role in existential psychology. Love and will are two concepts that, according to May, need to be reunited. Love and will refers to the delight experienced from and the value held for another person; will is the organization that directs movement toward a goal (Feist & Feist, 2009). The combination of love and will helps to allow individuals to move toward, and express, their care for other individuals. Being true with oneself and with individuals helps people to develop deep interpersonal relationships and good psychological health. Authenticity Gives meaning to one’s life by eliminating the separation of subject and object (Feist & Feist, 2009). People that are authentic and strive for truth need start with being honest with themselves, and extend it to their interpersonal relationships. Authenticity stays consistent with Rogers’s concept of congruence. If one lives a life that is an authentic lifestyle, then according to Rogers, their behavior will also be congruent with their own self-concept. In conclusion, both of these theories show that behavior is not determined, but that one operates by their own free will. Also those interpersonal relationships have a role to play in both theories as well. Personality characteristics for the person-centered theory include factors that will lead to a fully functioning person, or to that of one who has gone to achieved self-actualization. Now, personality characteristics, according to existential psychology, involve awareness and the creation of existence through that of experience. Interpersonal relationships have a role within both theories. Though the route to psychological health differs with each theory, the importance that self-actualization has and relates to being a part of this world and that congruence relates to authenticity which ties these theories to one another. References
Boeree, G. C. (2003). Individual, existential, and humanistic psychology. General Psychology Retrieved March 30, 2015 from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsyhumanists.html Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.