The term humanism is used widely in the field of psychology. This word relates to an approach of studying an individual as a whole. Humanism examines each person with their unique nature (Maslow, 1975). Humanistic psychologists’ studies human demeanor from the perspective of the person’s independent familiarity. Maslow (1943) and Rogers (1946) were pronounced humanistic theorists. Their theories focused on the sensible experience of an individual. They are as well remembered for insisting that the core of humanistic psychology revolved around the individual subjective certainty and not the unprejudiced and scientific approach.
Abraham Maslow and Rogers theories both have the self-actualization thing as a common idea, Rodgers in his theories believes that every individual exists with the main aim of reaching self-realization at the end (Rodgers, 2002). That it is every man dream to become substantiate this goal. He further clarified that a normal existing person will work towards self-actualizing. That childhood experience sat large will determine whether an individual attains self-actualization or not.
Abraham Maslow on the hand emphasized on the same aspect of personality but on a different view. He represented the human needs in a pyramid structure where at the bottom were the most basic human physiological needs. Also termed as the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 2008). Human needs strived to realize their full potential. Man needed to prioritize the accomplishment of these needs to survive. At the top of the pyramid were the most sophisticated human needs. It was the self-actualization needs. It is therefore clear that both humanistic theorists believed in self-actualization as the ultimate goal of life.
The two theorists however display some differences in their definition of the concept, self-actualization. According to Rogers, human beings exist because of their necessity to indulge the self-realization need (Rodgers, 2002). That without this need they would not be there. That a person can only be fully effective if he or she prompt the need to meet this goal and fully work towards it. Abraham Maslow on a different view of the same, he believes that a normal individual will slowly climb ladders to finally meet the need to self-actualize. His theory relies on the fact that a self-actualized person must be able to accept himself first, then people living around him and the society in general (Maslow, 2008).
In my view, I consider Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory to be more relevant. This theory is practical to the present world because every human being living must strive to satisfy the most basic physiological needs such as food and water to continue living. It is only then that someone will think of achieving other needs which are more luxurious and less elementary (Maslow, 2008).Again, it is not pragmatic to believe that every individual in the world would possess the features of open mindedness and conviction to private feelings and that of their environment as Rogers assume (Rodgers,2002) .In addition to this, People live with diverse goals in life and the assumption that individuals must labor towards the self-realization goal to survive is wrong.
The modern society is decayed to some extent but good people still exist. In my outlook of the modern society and how a self-actualized individual should carry out themselves, it is important to take into account that such an individual in the society must have achieved some special degree of success and I therefore expect such a person to be more autonomous, friendly, humorous, open, beholden and has a different perspective point of view from other society members. The society must therefore shape itself in a unique way in order to accommodate individual with such features. The society must be ready to raise honest individual who will not tolerate corruption and any other form of ill doings.
Apart from the self-actualization aspect of Maslow’s theory, he also shared his personal version of a fit human personality. Abraham Maslow studied and researched on brilliant ancient figures such as Abraham Lincoln whom he considered to be of typical mental health. Abraham Maslow in his findings states that individual with such kind of personality ought to share a range of features. That these people have peculiar familiarities that are passionately satisfying (Rust, 2001). Rogers also projected a theory focusing on the personality of an individual. In his application, Rogers states that self-concept is a very significant feature of behavior and contains judgments, feelings and beliefs people have about identity .Both proposals about personality as brought out by the two theorists are similar in a number of ways (Rogers, 2002).
In a nutshell, while the two theorist’s conflict in most ideas I still hold that these two theories are essential in that both theories can be applied to support psychotherapy in the modern world.
We can do it today.
- Maslow, A. H., Shostrom, E. L., & Psychological & Educational Films. (2008). Maslow and self actualization. Corona del Mar, CA: Distributed by Psychological & Educational Films.
- Rogers, C. R., Stevens, B., Gendlin, E. T., Shlien, J. M., & Van, D. W. (2002). Person to person: The problem of being human. London: Souvenir.
- Rust, M., Moulton-Tate, W., Moore, E., Hockenbury, D. H., Hockenbury, S. E., Coast Learning Systems., Coastline Community College., … Insight Media (Firm). (2001). Personality theories. New York, NY: Insight Media.
- Maslow, A. H., & Salenger Educational Media (Firm). (1975). Almost everything you ever wanted to know about motivating people: Or, Maslow’s hierachy of needs. Santa Monica, Calif: Salenger Educational Media.