Theory of Personality

Topics: Psychology, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow Pages: 7 (2504 words) Published: April 9, 2006
Theory of Personality Paper
Humanistic psychology has led to the development of several different psychotherapies. All are based on the idea that people possess the resources for growth and healing and that the goal of therapy is to help remove the barriers that block this growth and achievement. Although, several theorists have contributed to Humanistic Psychology, one of the most renowned is, Abraham Maslow. Humanistic psychology is defined as: "Explicitly concerned with the human dimension of psychology and the human context for the development of psychological theory." (

Abraham Maslow was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1908, and attended City College in New York for three semesters, where he studied law. Maslow moved from New York to Wisconsin where he then attended the University of Wisconsin. It was at Wisconsin, where he developed an interest in psychology. After receiving his PHD, in psychology, Maslow left Wisconsin in 1935 and headed back to New York to work with E.L. Thorndike at Columbia University. E.L. Thorndike was a noted psychology professor at Columbia University, and was at the forefront in the development of Behavioral Psychology. The work of E.L.Thorndike influenced Maslow's path of intrigue into the world of psychology. It was at this time that Abraham Maslow developed an interest in researching human sexuality. Maslow became a faculty member at Brandeis University in 1951 and taught there until 1969, as well as a resident fellow of the Laughlin Institute in California. Humanistic Psychology evolved as a reaction to determinism, i.e., the idea that human behavior is determined b forces not under the control of the person. As a result, it is sometimes referred to as the "third force." Third force psychology is another term for humanistic psychology, which was viewed by Maslow and others an alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviorism (Hergenhahn, Olson,). Important figures in behaviorism include John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner. Behaviorism was considered deterministic because it is based on the premise that the environment determines people's behavior. Another form of humanistic psychology is the Fourth Force psychology, which is explained as the psychology that examines the human relationship to the cosmos or to something "bigger than we are" and the mystical, spiritual, or peak experiences that the realization of such a relationship produces. Theorists focused on the depth of the human psyche, which they stressed, must be combined with those of the conscious mind in order to produce a healthy human personality. By the late 1950s, two meetings had been held in Detroit among psychologists that were interested in founding a professional organization dedicated to a more humanistic vision. This organization also hoped to create a complete description of what it is to be a human being. The group investigated the human aspects of experience, such as love, hope, and creativity. These psychologists, including Abraham Maslow and Clark Moustakas, believed that this was likely to become the main concerns of a new psychological movement, which would be known as the "third force." ( The importance of Abraham Maslow's, Hierarchy of Needs, is shown by its continued use as a means to understanding human behavior. Maslow's model has been used in studies from various fields. The theory is used by business, social sciences, and education; it is used for understanding what the driving forces are, or what is important to individuals. Maslow depicted the model of his theory in the shape of a triangle or pyramid, and divided it into five levels. Maslow believed that unless basic needs are met, higher levels in the pyramid have no bearing. Survival is the most basic human element. Abraham Maslow is considered a humanist, and his niche in the psychology environment is humanistic psychology. Maslow created a framework of needs that he called the "Hierarchy of Needs." This Hierarchy of...
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