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ABRAHAM H.

MASLOW: Holistic-Dynamic Theory

Overview
 Maslow’s theory has been called humanistic theory, transpersonal theory, the third force in psychology, the fourth force in
personality, needs theory, and self-actualization theory.
 Maslow referred to it as holistic-dynamic theory because it assumes that the whole person is constantly being motivated
by one need or another and that people have the potential to grow toward psychological health, that is self-actualization.
To attain self-actualization, people must satisfy lower needs.
o Maslow’s theory accepted some tenets of psychoanalysis and behaviorism just like other humanistic theories.
However, he criticized both theories for their limited views of humanity and their inadequate understanding of
the psychologically healthy person.

Maslow’s View of Motivation
Maslow’s theory of personality rests on several basic assumptions regarding motivation:
(1) He adopted a holistic approach to motivation. That is, the whole person, not any single part or function, is motivated.
(2) Motivation is usually complex, meaning that a person’s behavior may spring from several separate motives.
(3) People are continually motivated by one need or another. When one need is satisfied, it ordinarily loses its motivational
power and is then replaced by another need.
(4) All people everywhere are motivated by the same basic needs.
(5) Needs can be arranged on a hierarchy.

Hierarchy of Needs

Self-Actualization

Esteem

Love & Belongingness

Safety

Physiological

 The hierarchy assumes that lower needs must be satisfied or at least relatively satisfied (prepotency) before higher level
needs become motivators. The needs are arranged in order of their prepotency.
o The five basic needs, composing the hierarchy are conative needs, meaning that they have a striving or
motivational character.

Physiological Needs
 the most basic and prepotent needs of any person, including food, water, oxygen, and so on
 Physiological needs differ from other needs in two important respects:
(1) they are the only needs that can be completely satisfied or even overly satisfied
(2) it has a constantly recurring nature
Safety Needs
 These includes physical security, stability, dependency, protection, and freedom.
 They cannot be completely or overly satisfied
Love and Belongingness Needs
 These include the desire for friendship, the wish for a mate and children, to belong to a family, a neighbourhood. These
also include some aspects of sex and human contact, and the need to both give and receive love.
Esteem Needs
 These include self-respect, confidence, competence, and the knowledge that others hold them in high esteem.
 Maslow identified two levels of esteem needs:
o Reputation, the perception of the prestige, recognition, or fame a person has achieved in the eyes of others.
o Self-esteem is a person’s own feelings of worth and confidence.
Self-Actualization Needs
 the highest need recognized by Maslow
 Once esteem needs are satisfied, they do not always move to the level of self-actualization unless they embrace the B-
values.
 Self-actualization needs includes self-fulfillment, the realization of all one’s potential, and the desire to become creative in
the full sense of the world.
 Self-actualizing people become independent on the satisfaction of either love or esteem needs.

Instinctoid needs are human needs that are innately determined even though they can be modified by learning (e.Instinctoid needs are persistent and their satisfaction leads to psychological health. o Differences between the two are those of degree and not kind: o (1) Higher level needs are later on the phylogenetic or evolutionary scale [e.When cognitive needs are blocked. . although satisfaction of lower level needs produce a degree of hedonistic pleasure. inhibited. .Metapathology. sex). some behaviors are not motivated. not all determinants are motives. learned. Also.Unlike conative needs. esteem. the lack of fulfillment. (2) They had progressed through the hierarchy of needs (3) embracing of the B-values (4) Self-actualizing individuals fulfilled their needs to grow. and cognitive needs which leads to physical and psychological health.  Unmotivated Behavior: Maslow believed that even though all behaviors have a cause. knowledge is necessary to satisfy each of the basic needs. In other words. . (2) Cognitive Needs . and determined by the external environment. and to increasingly become what they were capable of becoming Values of Self-Actualizers .Though difficult to change. effortful. which is usually temporary. General Discussion of Needs  Reversed Order of Needs: occasionally the hierarchal order of the basic needs are reversed.People with strong aesthetic needs desire beautiful and orderly surroundings and pleasing experiences. Also. . .B-values are “metaneeds” to indicate that they are the ultimate level of needs. Maslow identified three other categories of needs: (1) Aesthetic Needs .g. It serves some aim or goal. they serve as compensation for unsatisfied basic needs.The motives of self-actualizing people are called metamotivation.Only people who live among the B-values are self-actualizing. A person who has reached the level of self-actualization would have no motivation to return to a lower stage of development. to understand. that is.Neurotic needs are non-productive. Comparison of Higher and Lower Needs o Higher needs (love.Satisfaction of neurotic needs lead only to stagnation and pathology unlike the satisfaction of conative. It is characterized by expressive behaviors and is associated with the B-values.Coping behavior (which is always motivated and aimed at satisfying a need) is ordinarily conscious. . Even though instinctoid needs are basic and unlearned. all of the five conative needs are threatened. instinctoid needs can be molded.Expressive behavior (which is often unmotivated) is often an end itself and serves no other purpose than to be. higher needs appear and operate late during the course of individual development. . they can be changed and even destroyed by the more powerful forces of civilization. They are usually reactive.represents the highest level of human development (The Good Human Being) Criteria for Self-Actualization (1) Self-actualizing people were free from psychopathology. Much of what Maslow called “expressive behaviors” is unmotivated.the desire to know. the deprivation of self-actualization needs by the absence of values.Lack of satisfaction of any the basic needs leads to some kind of pathology. the satisfaction of higher level needs is more subjectively desirable to those people who have experienced both higher and lower needs. (3) Neurotic Needs . and they alone are capable of metamotivation.  Expressive and Coping Behavior . Being values. or altered by environmental influences. Self-Actualization . It is frequently unconscious and usually takes place naturally and with little effort. and self-actualization) and lower needs (physiological and safety) are similarly instinctoid in nature. to solve mysteries. to develop.  Deprivation of Needs .Self-actualizing people are motivated by the “eternal verities “called B-value.The thwarting of instinctoid needs produces pathology unlike noninstinctoid ones.In addition to the five conative needs.  Instinctoid Nature of Needs . . and to be curios . and the loss of meaning in life. o (2) Higher level needs produce more happiness and more peak experiences. that is.g. they are not universal. . .Instinctoid needs are species-specific. . only humans (a relatively recent species) have the need for self-actualization]. . aesthetic.

Psychological should place more emphasis on the study of individuals and less on the study of large groups.. and when this movement is thwarted. . . Positive Psychology .They can also tolerate the absence of sex. . Critique of Maslow . People do not achieve self-actualization because: (a) Growth toward health personality can be blocked at each of the steps in the hierarchy of needs. they experience an existential illness. . Philosophy of Science . They simply love and are loved. Subjective reports should be favored over rigidly objectives ones.Maslow’s ideas have received less research interest.Maslow’s framework on hierarchy of needs gives his theory excellent flexibility to organize what is known about human behavior. the human body is not strong enough to endure the ecstasy of fulfillment for any length of time. playfulness or humor. Gemeinschaftsgefühl or social interest. everyone is born with a will toward health. because they have no deficiency need for it.For Maslow.One area of positive psychology where Maslow’s ideas have been particularly influential is in the role of positive experiences in people’s lives (peak experiences). and Actualization . .Maslow left future researchers with few clear guidelines to follow when attempting to replicate his studies on self-actualization. and naturalness 4.All people have a holistic tendency to move toward completeness or totality.This field in psychology which combines an emphasis on hope. wholeness or the transcendence of dichotomies. Self-actualizers do not love because they expect something in return. and that people should be allowed to tell about themselves in a holistic fashion instead of the more orthodox approach that studies people in bits and pieces. (b) Jonah complex. the client gains satisfaction of love and belongingness needs and thereby acquires feelings of confidence and self-worth. and a feeling of awesomeness in the presence of beauty and perfection. and receptive. uniqueness. The need for privacy 6. . people compare themselves with those who have accomplished greatness. .Maslow belied that value-free science does not lead to the proper study of human personality. Resistance to enculturation Love. the aim of therapy is for clients to embrace the Being-values and to accomplish this aim. . effortlessness. and nature 3. . Psychotherapy . . Profound interpersonal relations 11. and unfulfillment. . others. The Jonah Complex .Most people who seek for psychotherapy have the lower needs relatively well satisfied but have some difficulty achieving love and belonging needs.Psychotherapy is largely and interpersonal process. Spontaneity. or the fear of being one’s best. Autonomy 7. simplicity. The peak experience 9. The democratic character structure 12. He argued for a different philosophy of science. Philosophical sense of humor 14. Sex. goodness. justice and order. the concept that originated from Maslow which refers to the type of science that lacks emotion. a fear of being one’s best. workplace motivation. .But why? First. loving. . completion. aliveness or spontaneity. Acceptance of self. and self-sufficiency or autonomy. He failed to provide an operational definition of self-actualization and full description of his sampling procedures. More efficient perception of reality 2. beauty. awe.Maslow also argued for a Taoistic attitude for psychology. a tendency to grow toward self-actualization.The values of self-actualizing people include truth. It is characterized by the attempts to run away from one’s destiny. optimism. It represent a fear of success. Second.According to Maslow. interpersonal relationship with the therapist.His theory is also highly useful in psychotherapy. wonder. simplicity. They suffer from feelings of inadequacy. B-love is mutually felt and shared and not motivated by a deficiency or incompleteness within the lover. richness or totality. or a sense of oneness with the humanity 10. and rapture. a humanistic approach that is not value-free and that has scientists who care about the people and the topics they investigate. a holistic. and get appalled by their own arrogance. Creativeness 15. passive. Continued freshness of appreciation 8. disintegration. clients must be free from their dependency on others so that their natural impulse toward growth and self-actualization could become active.Desacralization. Problem-centering 5. Discrimination between means and ends 13.Self-actualizing people are capable of B-love that is they love for the essence or “Being” of the other. joy. one that would be noninterfering. Through a warm. Prediction and goal be replaced with sheer fascination as goals for science. Characteristics of Self-Actualizing People 1. and well-being stems directly from humanistic theories such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. community feeling. perfection.

Maslow’s arcane and often unclear language makes important part of his theory ambiguous and inconsistent.. although he does not overlook the possibility of certain reversals. . . however. but he recognized that people are capable of great evil and destruction when basic needs are being thwarted. .The hierarchy of needs concept follows a logical progression. A full understanding of Maslow’s total theory. and Maslow hypothesized that the order of needs is the same for everyone.His theory places emphasis on both uniqueness and similarities. whereas the behavior of self- actualizing people is at least partially shaped by free choice. suggests a far more complex model.For Maslow. . . .The behavior of people motivated by physiological and safety needs is determined by outside forces.A hierarchy of needs model with only five steps gives the theory a deceptive appearance of simplicity. . basic needs are structured the same for all people and that people satisfy these needs at their own rate. individuals are both shaped by biology and society. and the two cannot be separated. .Maslow’s view can be considered teleological and purposive because high level needs exist as potentials and people aim for it.Maslow’s theory is high on optimism.