My College Class Notes

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Positive growth: Humanistic theories of personality

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Chapter 9: p343

Focus Questions

According to humanistic psychology, what lies at the core of personality?

Humanistic theories hold that human nature is basically good and that the core of personality is the desire to perfect our skill and find peace and happiness.

Roger’s humanistic theory stresses the self-image, or phenomenological self, in conjunction with unconditional positive regard and avoidance of conditions of worth.

What is unconditional positive regard and how is it important?

To be happy and to develop normally, we must grow up in a family and social environment that treat us with what Rogers calls unconditional positive regard. That is, we must be valued and trusted for ourselves and accepted unconditionally as worthwhile human beings. Out opinions and behaviors must be respected. We must be accepted and loved for who we are, even when we do things of which others disapprove.

What is self-actualization?

Self-actualization is a humanistic view that people will pursue the highest and most idealistic aims unless their development is thwarted by a malevolent social environment.


Rogers and Self-Worth

Both the humanistic and existential perspectives view abnormal behavior as resulting from a person’s failure to find meaning in life and fulfill his or her potential. The humanistic school of psychology, as represented in the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers, views mental health and personal growth as the natural conditions of human life. In Rogers’s view, every person possesses a drive toward self-actualization, the fulfillment of one’s greatest potential. Mental illness develops when circumstances in a person’s environment block this drive. The existential perspective sees emotional disturbances as the result of a person’s failure to act authentically—that is, to behave in accordance with one’s own goals and values, rather than the goals and values of others.

BIO Carl Rogers

In the 1940s and 1950s American psychologist Carl Rogers developed a form of psychotherapy known as person-centered therapy. This approach emphasizes that each person has the capacity for self-understanding and self-healing. The therapist tries to demonstrate empathy and true caring for clients, allowing them to reveal their true feelings without fear of being judged.

Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 7:33 am

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