Humanistic Theories of Personality

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Humanistic Theories of Personality:

Humanistic Theories of Personality By the 1960s, psychologists became dissatisfied with Freud’s negativity and the mechanistic psychology of the behaviorists.

Humanistic Theories of Personality:

Humanistic Theories of Personality Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

What is Humanism?:

What is Humanism? As human beings, we are self-aware, capable of free-choice, self-fulfillment, & ethical behavior Asserts the fundamental goodness of people and their constant striving toward higher levels of functioning

Humanistic Personality Theories:

Humanistic Personality Theories Does not dwell on past occurrences, but rather focuses on the present and future Our behaviors & choices (our personalities) are guided by a hierarchy of needs and how we feel about ourselves

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Innate need to reach one’s potential

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SA’s are self aware, self accepting, open and spontaneous, loving and caring, and not paralyzed by other’s opinions. “acquired enough courage to be unpopular, to be unashamed about being openly virtuous” College students most likely to become self-actualized were “privately affectionate to those of their elders who deserve it.” and “secretly uneasy about the cruelty, meanness and mob spirit so often found in young people.”

Self Actualization:

Self Actualization Maslow estimated only 1% of the population actually reaches this. The top of the motivational hierarchy. This makes it the weakest of all needs and the most easily impeded. “This inner nature is not strong and overpowering and unmistakable like the instincts of animals. It is weak and delicate and subtle and easily overcome by habit, cultural pressure, and wrong attitudes toward it.” – Maslow

Carl Rogers’ Self Theory:

Carl Rogers’ Self Theory Perceived Self How would you describe yourself? True Self How do you think others would describe you? Ideal Self Fantasy time – how would you like to be?


Self-Concept Our overall impressions of ourselves (Who am I?) How we evaluate our adequacy Unique Frames of Reference (e.g. stupid—smart, attractive—ugly, etc.)


Self-Esteem How much we value (like or dislike) ourselves Depends on how much we’ve received unconditional positive regard or conditional positive regard


Incongruence Self-Concept True Self Ideal Self


Congruence Self-Concept True Self Ideal Concept

Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective:

Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective Humanistic psychology has a pervasive impact on counseling, education, child-rearing, and management. Concepts in humanistic psychology are vague and subjective and lack scientific basis. Some view these theories as overly optimistic and that they ignore the nature of human evil Some argue that humanistic view lead to self-indulgence, narcissism and self-centeredness – Western view of hyper-individualism

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