The schools of thought in psychology

Using one of the schools of thought in psychology below explain your behaviour during your first day at Wits. You are expected to fully describe the school of thought of your choice. Also explain in which ways the school of thought you choose does and does not account for your behaviour. The schools of thought you may choose from are the psychodynamic perspective, the behaviourist perspective and the humanist perspective. Humanism, a contemporary theoretical perspective in modern psychology is used to explain the behaviour of Tate Salua*, a part-time student, during her first day at Wits University.

The above school of thought is described, referring to the two predominant theorists in this area, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, and focuses on self-actualisation and self-concept. An explanation follows of how this perspective does and does not account for the student’s behaviour. The psychodynamic perspective will be examined very briefly, as a comparative measure. Finally, the humanistic perspective will be evaluated. The humanistic approach, also known as the ‘third force’ (Mi??

ller, 1995) (Maslow termed behaviourism the ‘first force’ and psychoanalysis the ‘second force’), focuses on conscious experience, with the three main ideas being, a human’s personal growth, their free will in choosing a destiny, and individual positive qualities (Santrock, 2003). The mid 20th century saw the emergence of humanism as an opposition to the deterministic psychodynamic and behaviourist perspectives, which were seen as having negative and dehumanising focuses respectively (Santrock, 2003).

The first approach centred mainly on mentally unwell individuals and internal psychological conflicts, whereas the second tended to disregard the individual and, in particular, the intricacies of the human personality (Santrock, 2003). Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), a New York psychologist and the first humanistic theorist to appear, wrote Motivation and Personality in 1954. In this book, Maslow (regarded widely as the father of humanism) formulated what he termed a “hierarchy of needs” (Santrock, 2003, p.

493) with self-actualisation (the need to fulfil oneself) sitting at the top of the ladder and psychological/social, safety and physical needs following down, in that order. Maslow asserted in his hierarchical theory of human motivation, that when certain basic needs are fulfilled, higher intentions towards self-actualisation can surface (Mi?? ller, 1995). Some of the characteristics of self-actualised individuals, according to Maslow were, having a realistic orientation, being problem-centred as opposed to self-centred, and being independent and autonomous (Santrock, 2003).

Maslow’s view of humans was very positive. He saw man as innately good, being worthy of respect and having the potential to self-actualise (Mi?? ller, 1995). The second theorist, Carl Rogers (1902-1987), born in Illinois, agreed with Maslow’s idea of self-actualisation, but focused on the “dependence of self-actualisation on the relationship between mother and child” (Sternberg, 1998, p. 50). His belief was, if the mother fulfills the child’s need for unconditional love, it would become well adjusted.

He termed this love ‘unconditional positive regard’ (Sternberg, 1998). A focal theme for Rogers was what he termed self-concept, which he described as a person’s complete perception and assessment of their behaviour, abilities and personality (Santrock, 2003). He went on to split the self into two components, the real self and the ideal self. The former being what we are, based on our experience, and the latter being what we want to be (Santrock, 2003). He posited that the greater the difference between the real and the ideal self, the more maladjusted the person.

Malim et al (1997) state that there are five major perspectives within psychology, two of which, behaviourist and humanistic will be the focus of this essay following a brief outline of the other three perspectives, cognitive, psychodynamic and biological. The …

An explanation of Maslow’s theory known as the hierarchy needs: Maslow’s theory is about the survival mechanisms of human beings and how they can be different. There are two different states of well-being humans are have. 1) This is about being comfortable physically …

This theory also has a part on education for example the repetition of the way a teacher pronounces something in a language class or the way a teacher explains something. Students believe in their teachers as a person whom knows …

Rogers states in no uncertain terms that the counsellor’s attitude of unconditional positive regard for the person, validating his or her worth and significance, is the most critical element in therapy. Change, he believed, is more likely in the presence …

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