History and Systems of Psychology PSY502
Humanistic psychology is a branch of psychology that developed from behaviorism. Humanistic
psychologists thought that the behaviorists ignored the humanistic view of people, their needs, aspirations,
hopes, fears, and focused only on behavior. In other words, the human and emotional element was ignored
and only the apparent behavioral patterns were studied. They also thought that psychoanalysts put too
much emphasis on unconscious motivations and they neglect "humanity" of man. Therefore, humanistic
psychologists focused on such human sentiments as joy, contentment, kindness, ecstasy and generosity.
Abraham Maslow was born in 1908 and he died in 1970. He was born in New York and he did PhD in
1934 form Wisconsin University. Maslow is famous for his theory of motivation, called the Hierarchy of
Maslow's primary contribution to psychology is his Hierarchy of Human Needs. Maslow contended that
humans have a number of needs that are instinctual, and are innate. Maslow assumed our needs are
arranged in a hierarchy in terms of their potency. Although all needs are instinctive, some are more
powerful than others. The lower the need is in hierarchy, the more powerful it is. The higher the need is in
hierarchy, the weaker and more distinctly human it is. The lower, or basic, needs in the hierarchy are similar
to those possessed by non-human animals, but only humans possess the higher needs.
Those needs or motives are:
i. Physiological needs
At the bottom of the hierarchy are physiological needs, including the biological requirements for food,
water, air, and sleep.
ii. Safety needs
Once the physiological needs are met, an individual can concentrate on the second level, the need for safety
and security. Here included the needs for structure, order, security, and predictability.
iii. Need for belongingness
The third level is the need for love and belonging. Included here are the needs for friends and companions,
a supportive family, identification with a group, and an intimate relationship.
iv. Esteem Needs
The fourth level is the esteem needs. This group of needs requires both recognition from other people that
results in feelings of prestige, acceptance, status, and self-esteem that results in feelings of adequacy,
competence, and confidence. Lack of satisfaction of the esteem needs results in discouragement and
feelings of inferiority.
v. Need for Self Actualization
Finally, self-actualization sits at the apex of the original pyramid of needs. Self actualization needs refer to
the need of achieving one's true potential.
History and Systems of Psychology PSY502
The other prominent humanistic psychologist was Carl Rogers who was born near Chicago, U.S.A., in 1902
and died in 1987. His education started from the second grade, because he had already read before
kindergarten. He got his PhD in educational psychology from New York in 1931 and worked at Ohio State
and University of Chicago. He was offered a full professorship at Ohio State in 1940. In 1942, he wrote his
first book, Counseling and Psychotherapy. Then, in 1945, he was invited to set up a counseling center at
the University of Chicago. It was while working there in 1951 that he published his major work, Client-
Centered Therapy, wherein he outlines his basic theory.
Carl Rogers (1902-1987)
In 1961 in his book entitled "On Becoming a Person" he regarded self actualization as the greatest drive in
human personality. He called it the highest level of mental health. According to Carl Rogers, a
psychologically healthy person:
Has openness to experience
Fully lives the moment
Has a sense of freedom
And is highly creative
Based upon his humanistic theory and point of view he developed his system of psychotherapy called
Theory of Client Centered Therapy. According to this theory, the person has the capacity to rid himself of
his problems. Method of Client Centered Therapy includes reflection in affective terms.
Humanistic Psychology has given rise to a subject called the Positive Psychology in 21st century. Positive
psychology is the scientific study of human happiness. The history of psychology as a science shows that the
field has been primarily dedicated to address mental illness rather than mental wellness. Its research
programs and application models have dealt mainly with how people are wrong rather than how they are
right. The need to correct this bias was anticipated in psychological writings as early as those of the
American psychologist and philosopher William James. In his 1902 book, The Varieties of Religious Experience,
James argues that happiness is a chief concern of human life and those who pursue it should be regarded as
"healthy-minded." Several humanistic psychologists--such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich
Fromm--developed successful theories and practices that involved human happiness despite there being a
lack of solid empirical evidence behind their work. However, it is the pioneering research of Martin
Seligman, Ed Diener, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Christopher Peterson, Don Clifton, and many others that
promise to put the study of human happiness onto a firm scientific foundation and add some positivity to
the predominantly negative discipline of psychology.
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