Humanistic Psychology: The Drive For Self-Actualization

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The Drive for Self-Actualization
The drive for self-actualization is a complicated and multifaceted trait that embraces the potentialities of an individual and seeks to transcend the bondage of a mundane life. Self-actualization is a lifelong process that requires personal and psychological growth in order to be fully realized. Given proper circumstances and an understanding of the value and uniqueness of each human’s experience, self-actualization can be an empowering, existential, and enlightening lifelong journey. The purpose of this paper is to analyze theoretical and empirical literature in order to explain and define the constituents of self-actualization, how it is manifested, its advantages and disadvantages, and my own personal experience
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One of the major theoretical perspectives that explains self-actualization is the humanistic perspective. The humanistic psychological approach is one that values the individual as, firstly and foremost, a human being (Rogers, 1961). Two of the most influential humanistic psychology researchers are Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, who each developed models and explanations for humanistic psychology. Maslow represented his humanistic views by creating the Hierarchy of Needs, and Rogers contributed to humanistic psychology by developing client-based therapy. According to Maslow’s needs hierarchy, self-actualization is the highest and hardest to fulfill of all human needs. This means that several other needs must be taken care of before the individual is able to reach the top level of self-actualization. Carl Rogers’ view on self-actualization differed in that it comes from intrinsic motivation that can be revealed in client-centered therapy. For Rogers’ theory to work, four things must be facilitated by the therapist in a therapeutic relationship, which are personal congruence, unconditional positive regard, and accurate empathetic understanding (ahp.org). According to the Association of Humanistic Psychology’s Historic Review of Humanistic Psychology, “Maslow and Rogers embraced self-actualization both as an empirical principle and an ethical idea.” This means that both of the humanistic psychologists believed that self-actualization is an undisputed scientific capability, and a humanistic possibility. Humanistic psychology emphasizes the point that no one is inherently bad, which must be realized in order to move towards growth and reach one’s full potential (Carver&Scheier, 2012, p.

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