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Personality Theories

Carl Rogers' Self Theory

• Self-actualization–innate tendency toward growth that motivates all human
• Self–the part of experience that a person identifies as I or me
o those who accurately experience the self are on path to self
• self concept–the way one thinks of oneself
• Personality shaped partly by self-actualization tendencies and partly by
others' evaluations.
• conditions of worth (feeling that you have the "right attitude") are created
whenever people are evaluated instead of their behavior
• he uses phenomenological approach (gives central role to immediate
experience and emphasizes each person's uniqueness) is used in client-
centered therapy

Client Centered Therapy

• relies on the creation of a relationship tat reflects three intertwined therapist

attitudes: unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence
• Reflection–a paraphrased summary of the client's words and esp. the feelings
and meanings that appear to accompany them–is extremely important and
should be done by the therapist. This confirms therapist's interest, and helps
the client to perceive thoughts and feelings
• Congruence (also genuineness) therapists should try to convey this by acting
in ways that are consistent with their feelings during therapy.

Abraham Maslow
Maslow's Hierarchy

1. Physiological needs, such as food, water, oxygen, activity, and sleep. Needs
that we need to survive
2. Safety, such as being cared for as a child and having a secure income as an
adult, security basically
3. Belongingness and love, such as being part of various social groups and
participating in affectionate sexual and nonsexual relationships
4. Esteem, being respected as a useful, honorable individual
5. Self-actualization, becoming all that one is capable of.

–Involves exploring and enhancing relationships with others, following

interests for intrinsic pleasure rather than for status or esteem, and
concerning with issues affecting all people, not just themselves.
Maslow's Humanistic Psychology

• self-actualization is not just a human capacity but a human need

• we are distracted from SA because we focus exclusively on needs that are
lower on the hierarchy
• most people are controlled by a deficiency orientation, a preoccupation with
perceived needs for material things

–These people lead a meaningless life because they are always jealous and
always focus on the missing something material.

• Growth orientation-in this, people do not focus on what is missing but draw
satisfaction from what they have, what they are, and what they can do
(essentially they don't bitch; I guess women can't ever self-actualize).

–This orientation opens the door to peak experiences, in which people feel joy,
even ecstasy, in the mere fact of being alive, being human, and knowing that
they are utilizing their fullest potential.


• Seeks to crate condition in which clients can become more unified, self-aware,
and self-accepting, and thus ready to grow again.
• therapists use more direct dramatic methods than do Rogerians
• therapists prod clients to become aware of feelings and impulses that they
have disowned and to discard feelings, ideas and values that are not really
their own
• Do a lot of dialogues and pay attention to body language.

Humanism: Rogers and Maslow

Rogers had a strong background in scientific knowledge b/c he studied books on
agriculture when he was a teen. From books like Feeds and Feeding by: Morison, he
learned how experiments were conducted, how control grps were matched w/
experimental groups, how conditions were held constant, and how to test a
-used this scientific procedure knowledge to show his therapies effective,
acknowledge the biological side of humans, and render his concepts testable
Formulated a person-centered point of view; finding Freud’s ideas in conflict w/
experimental aspects of his academic training.
Rejects the Medical Model (idea people are sick and need treatment/medication)
Used the term client instead of patient
Endorsed the Growth Model (help remove whatever blocks to growth exist so one can
move beyond being normal or average)

Rogers’s View of the Person

Humanistic Psychology = emphasizes the present experience and essential worth of
the whole person, promotes creativity, intentionalism, free choice, and spontaneity,
and fosters the belief that people can solve their own psychological problems.
Grew to be popular in 1950’s and early 1960’s
Emerged from Existentialism (approach to understanding a person’s most immediate
experience, the conditions the person’s existence, and necessity of freedom of
-"get inside each person’s world"
-understand how individuals live, move, and experiences his/her being in the world
-value consciousness and personal responsibility
-Freedom to accept responsibility --- one must make oneself
-stress unique capacities of the individual for self-realization and personal growth
-study of choice, joy, love, creativity, and authenticity
-DO NOT see humans beginning life with blank slate, instead the aim of life is an
unfolding of inherent powers present in human nature.
-stress human aspects of experience; personal choice, interpersonal relationships,
intentions, purposes, and spiritual experiences
Also emerged from Phenomenology (attitude of discovery encompassing a search for
essential issues; emphasis on consciousness, necessity of describing experience, and
a desire to grasp reality as each individual perceives it)
-subjective approach to knowledge and understanding was a large contribution
carried over to humanism
-if wishing to understand a person, you must get inside his/her individual world of
meaning--- this is done by showing empathy
Humanists seek to validate their findings through subjective experience rather than
relying solely on impersonal, objective criteria such as statistical methods and
experimental tests.
Emphasize the idiographic approach (belief that meaningful and generally applicable
discoveries will come from understanding one case at a time)
Roger utilizes the Organismic Approach (human viewed as total being whose
physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects cannot be separated except by artificial
-person is placed first
Roger’s theory of therapy is now usually called the Person-Centered approach
(previously Client-Centered therapy)
Rejected the conception of learning he attributed to most universities. "…unique
element is that my therapy is based on a learning that is exponential and cognitive.
(universities won’t accept view)…Universities think education goes on only from neck
up. Not true! Education may be limited to that, but learning is something else"

Basic Concepts
General Actualizing Tendency- inherent tendency of the organism to develop all its
capacities in ways which serve to maintain or enhance the organism
-constructive biological tendency is the one central source of energy in the human
Four characteristics:
-organismic (natural, biological, inborn predisposition reflected in all functioning
-active process (organisms always up to something, seeking food or sexual
satisfaction, initiating, exploring, producing change in the environment, playing)
-directional (inclines every form of life toward growth, self-regulation, fulfillment,
reproduction, and independence from external control)
-selective (not all potential is necessarily developed)
-person’s lifelong process of realizing own potential to become a fully functioning
-involves an increased openness to experience
-person lives existentially (going w/ flow of moments in life, experience life here and
now, not controlling future or living in past)
-place full trust in own organismic intuitions: do what feels right
-appreciation of free choice, creativity, trustworthiness of human nature, richness of
Importance of Self (basic aspect of life)
Self-Perceptions of what you are
Ideal Self (the self a person most values and desires to be)–successfully pursuing the
ideal self gives person feelings of worth
Congruence with Experience
When a person is in state of congruence, their self-concept and experiences relating
to self are consistent. Actualizing tendency is whole and unified. Person shows
maturity and psychological adjustment
Incongruence is inconsistency b/t self-concept and experiences relating to self.
Maybe b/c of distorted or unrealistic beliefs. Might have denial.
Distortion involves a reinterpretation of an experience so as to make it consistent w/
how one wants things to be.
Innaccurate self-perceptions contribute to experiences of inner confusion, tension,
and maladaptive behavior.
Personality Development: Some Favorable Conditions

Abraham Maslow per Personality Theories (A La Carte)

1. Humanist
2. Concerned with her and now. Be all one can be. Not past of future.
3. Emphasized self-actualization in personality functioning and development
1. Over all other concepts (oppose to Rodgers)
2. Reserved for a select few ( Rodgers = all have possibility)
4. Abused and neglected childhood
5. Victim of Prejudice
6. Suppressed Anger
7. Acknowledges sinister side of human nature
8. Mother cold., vicious, superstitiously religious, dedicated to make Abe.
1. Cat killer
9. Abe. came up with and supported: religion virulent form of superstitious.
10. Father absent at first
1. Later in life, Abe. and Pa becomes good friend
2. He is a father’s son
1. Opposed theories and other stuff from people like Fraud,
and Adder
2. Inferiority Complex
11. Introduced to psycho. @ Cornell University.
12. Loved his first cousin Bertha, latter married her
13. Greatly influenced by Gestalt Psychologists
1. Founded by Max Wertheimer
2. Another big name = Kurt Koffka
3. Simple perceptions= whole made up of integrated parts
1. one could consider parts or whole, not both at once
4. "Laws of organization" -Explanation how parts are forming whole
1. Grouping similar object together to form a whole
2. Grouping proximal (similar) objects
3. Law of closure, incomplete object
4. Figure-ground rule — seems divided into a figure in the
foreground displayed against a background
1. Vase and the face
14. Motivation — Process by which organisms are propelled toward goals
15. Drive — A simple tension that demands to be satisfied
1. Traditionally straight forward.. Maslow thinks not. (Maslow 1954)
16. Needs — Goal seeking for certain satisfactions that are sought by all
humans regardless of their culture, environment, or generation.
17. Unique POV: A given behavior, thought, or feeling may occur at the behest
of multiple motivations (Maslow 1954)
18. The needs a person experiences are universal, the methods used to
satisfy them may be specific to the person’s culture
1. Enviro. Can determine the particular form of need satisfaction
2. Enviro. Over-rated

Other Notes in this Category

1. Abnormal Behaviour
2. Behavourism and Learning
3. Cognitivism
4. Freud
5. Humanism
6. Personality and Behaviour
7. Personality Theories
8. Physchological Methodology
9. Trait Theory
10. Vertical Thinking Vs. Lateral Thinking
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