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Humanistic (Third-Force)


Generally speaking, human nature can be divided into three major components:
the mind (our intellect), the body (our biological makeup), and the spirit (our
emotional makeup). Different philosophies and, more recently, schools of psy-
chology have tended to emphasize one of these aspects at the expense of the
others. Which philosophy or school of psychology prevailed seemed to be deter-
mined largely by the Zeitgeist. The decade of the 1960s was a troubled time in
the United States. There was increased involvement in the unpopular Vietnam
War and its corresponding antiwar movement; Martin Luther King Jr., John
Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated; and violent, racial
protests occurred in a number of major cities. “Hippies” were in open rebellion
against the values of their parents and their nation. Like the ancient Skeptics,
they found little worth believing in, and like the ancient Cynics, they dropped
out of society and returned to a simple, natural life. This Age of Aquarius was
clearly not a time when rational philosophy (with emphasis on the mind) or em-
pirical philosophy (with emphasis on the body) were appealing.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the schools of structuralism, functionalism, be-
haviorism, Gestalt psychology, and psychoanalysis coexisted and pursued their
respective goals. By the mid-20th century, however, structuralism had disap-
peared as a school, and functionalism and Gestalt psychology had lost their dis-
tinctiveness as schools by being assimilated into other viewpoints. In the 1950s
and early 1960s, only behaviorism and psychoanalysis remained as influential, in-
tact schools of thought. In the troubled times described above, the knowledge of
humans provided by behaviorism and psychoanalysis was seen by many as


incomplete, distorted, or both. Needed was a new sciences study physical objects. Rather, it would
view of psychology, one that emphasized neither study humans as aware, choosing, valuing, emo-
the mind nor the body but the human spirit. tional, and unique beings in the universe.
In the early 1960s, a group of psychologists Traditional science does not do this and must there-
headed by Abraham Maslow started a movement fore be rejected.
referred to as third-force psychology. These psy-
chologists claimed that the other two forces in psy-
chology, behaviorism and psychoanalysis, neglected
a number of important human attributes. They said
that by applying the techniques used by the natural FORCE PSYCHOLOGY
sciences to the study of humans, behaviorism lik-
ened humans to robots, lower animals, or compu- Like almost everything else in modern psychology,
ters. For the behaviorist, there was nothing unique third-force psychology is not new. It can be traced
about humans. The major argument against psy- to the philosophies of romanticism and existential-
choanalysis was that it concentrated mainly on ism, which in turn can be traced to the early
emotionally disturbed people and on developing Greeks. In Chapter 7, we saw that the romantics
techniques for making abnormal people normal. (such as Rousseau) insisted that humans are more
What was missing, according to third-force psy- than machines, which was how the empiricists and
chologists, was information that would help already sensationalists were describing them, and more than
healthy individuals become healthier—that is, to the logical, rational beings, which was how ration-
reach their full potential. What was needed was a alists were describing them. Like the ancient
model of humans that emphasized their uniqueness Cynics, the romantics distrusted reason, religious
and their positive aspects rather than their negative dogma, science, and societal laws as guides for hu-
aspects, and it was this type of model that third- man conduct. For them, the only valid guide for a
force psychologists attempted to provide. person’s behavior was that person’s honest feelings.
Although third-force psychology became very The romantics (especially Rousseau) believed that
popular during the 1960s and 1970s, its popularity humans are naturally good and gregarious, and if
began to wane in the 1980s. Like behaviorism and given freedom they would become happy, fulfilled,
psychoanalysis, however, third-force psychology and social-minded. That is, given freedom, people
remains influential in contemporary psychology would do what was best for themselves and for
(see, for example, Clay, 2002). Third-force psy- other people. If people acted in self-destructive or
chology contrasts vividly with most other types be- antisocial ways, it was because their natural impulses
cause it does not assume determinism in explaining had been interfered with by societal forces. People
human behavior. Rather, it assumes that humans can never be bad, but social systems can be and
are free to choose their own type of existence. often are. Also in Chapter 7, we saw that the ex-
Instead of attributing the causes of behavior to sti- istentialists (such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche)
muli, drive states, genetics, or early experience, emphasized the importance of meaning in human
third-force psychologists claim that the most im- existence and the human ability to choose that
portant cause of behavior is subjective reality. meaning; this, too, was contrary to the philosophies
Because these psychologists do not assume deter- of empiricism and rationalism. For Kierkegaard sub-
minism, they are not scientists in the traditional jectivity is truth. That is, it is a person’s beliefs that
sense, and they make no apology for that. Science guide his or her life and determine the nature of his
in its present form, they say, is not equipped to or her existence. Truth is not something external to
study, explain, or understand human nature. A the person waiting to be discovered by logical, ra-
new science is needed, a human science. A human tional thought processes; it is inside each person and
science would not study humans as the physical is, in fact, created by each person. According to
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Nietzsche, God is dead, and therefore humans are rationale behind systematic behavior mod-
on their own. People can take two approaches to ification by purely external forces is in-
life: they can accept conventional morality as a compatible with a concept of man as a self-
guide for living, thus participating in herd confor- purposive and proactive, rather than merely
mity; or they can experiment with beliefs, values, reactive, being.
and life and arrive at their own truths and morality The focus of humanistic psychology is
and thus become supermen. Nietzsche clearly en- upon the specificity of man, upon that
couraged people to do the latter. which sets him apart from all other species.
Third-force psychology combines the philoso- It differs from other psychologies because it
phies of romanticism and existentialism, and this views man not solely as a biological organ-
combination is called humanistic psychology. ism modified by experience and culture but
Third-force and humanistic psychology, then, are as a person, a symbolic entity capable of
the same, but humanistic psychology has become pondering his existence, of lending it
the preferred label. In applying this label, however, meaning and direction. (Kinget, 1975, p. v)
it is important not to confuse the term humanistic
with the terms human, humane, or humanitarian. Although it is true that existentialism is a major
component of humanistic psychology, important
The frequent confusion of the terms hu- differences exist between existential and humanistic
man, humane, and humanistic indicates that psychology. After discussing phenomenology, a
many do not clearly understand the technique used by both existential and humanistic
meaning of the humanistic stance. To psychologists, we will review existential psychology
qualify as humanistic, it is not enough to and then humanistic psychology, and we will con-
concern human beings. Playing, working, clude the chapter with a comparison of the two.
building, traveling, organizing, are all hu-
man activities. This, however, does not
make them humanistic. Similarly, when
these activities are performed, for instance, PHENOMENOLOGY
for charitable or philanthropic purposes,
they are then raised to a humane or hu- Throughout this text, we have referred to a variety
manitarian status, which may be of vital of methodologies as phenomenological. In its most
importance but still does not make them general form, phenomenology refers to any meth-
humanistic. For an endeavor or a view- odology that focuses on cognitive experience as it
point to qualify properly as humanistic, it occurs, without attempting to reduce that experi-
must imply and focus upon a certain con- ence to its component parts. Thus, one can study
cept of man—a concept that recognizes his consciousness without being a phenomenologist, as
status as a person, irreducible to more ele- was the case when Wundt and Titchener attempted
mentary levels, and his unique worth as a to reduce conscious experience to its basic elements.
being potentially capable of autonomous After making this distinction, however, phenome-
judgment and action. A pertinent example nology can take many forms. The phenomenology
of the difference between the humane and of Johann Goethe and Ernst Mach focused on com-
the humanistic outlook is found in the case plex sensations including afterimages and illusions.
of behavior control that relies entirely upon The phenomenology of Franz Brentano (1838–
positive reinforcement. Such an approach is 1917) and his colleagues focused on psychological
humane (or humanitarian), since it imple- acts such as judging, recollecting, expecting, doubt-
ments generous and compassionate atti- ing, fearing, hoping, or loving. As we saw in Chapter
tudes. But it is not humanistic, because the 9, in Brentano’s brand of phenomenology, the

concept of intentionality was extremely important. Husserl’s pure phenomenology soon expanded
Brentano believed that every mental act refers to into modern existentialism. Whereas Husserl was
(intends) something outside itself—for example, “I mainly interested in epistemology and in the es-
see a tree,” “I like my mother,” or “That was a good sence of mental phenomena, the existentialists
piece of pie.” The contents of a mental act could be were interested in the nature of human existence.
real or imagined, but the act, according to Brentano, In philosophy, ontology is the study of existence,
always refers to (intends) something. In Chapter 14, or what it means to be. The existentialists are con-
we saw how Brentano’s phenomenology influenced cerned with two ontological questions: (1) What is
the Gestalt psychologists. Next, we see how the nature of human nature? and (2) What does it
Brentano’s phenomenology was instrumental in mean to be a particular individual? Thus, the exis-
the development of modern existentialism, mainly tentialists use phenomenology to study either the
through its influence on Edmund Husserl. important experiences that humans have in com-
The goal of Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) was mon or those experiences that individuals have as
to take the type of phenomenology Brentano de- they live their lives—experiences such as fear,
scribed and use it to create an objective, rigorous dread, freedom, love, hate, responsibility, guilt,
basis for philosophical and scientific inquiry. Like wonder, hope, and despair.
Brentano, Husserl believed that phenomenology Husserl’s phenomenology was converted into
could be used to create an objective bridge between existential psychology mainly by his student
the outer, physical world and the inner, subjective Martin Heidegger, to whom we turn next.
world. Of prime importance to Husserl was that
phenomenology be free of any preconceptions.
That is, Husserl believed in reporting exactly what
appears in consciousness, not what should be there EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY
according to some belief, theory, or model.
As we saw in Chapter 9, however, Husserl be- Although it is possible to trace existential philoso-
lieved that phenomenology could go beyond an phy to such early Greek philosophers as Socrates,
analysis of intentionality. A study of intentionality who urged people to understand themselves and
determined how the mind and the physical world said that “an unexamined life is not worth living,”
interact, and such a study was essential for the phys- it has become traditional to mark the beginning of
ical sciences. But, in addition to an analysis of existential philosophy with the writings of
intentionality, Husserl proposed a type of phenom- Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. The great Russian nov-
enology that concentrates on the workings of the elist Fyodor Dostoevsky is also mentioned as among
mind that are independent of the physical world. the first existential thinkers. All these individuals
Husserl called this second type of phenomenology probed the meaning of human existence and tried
pure phenomenology, and its purpose was to dis- to restore the importance of human feeling, choice,
cover the essence of conscious experience. Whereas and individuality that had been minimized in ratio-
the type of phenomenology that focuses on inten- nalistic philosophies, such as those of Kant and
tionality involves the person turned outward, pure Hegel, and in conceptions of people based on
phenomenology involves the person turned in- Newtonian concepts, such as those proposed by
ward. The goal of the latter is to accurately catalog the British empiricists and French sensationalists.
all mental acts and processes by which we interact
with environmental objects or events. Husserl be- Martin Heidegger
lieved that an inventory of such acts and processes
had to precede any adequate philosophy, science, or Born on September 26, Martin Heidegger
psychology because it is those mental acts and pro- (1889–1976) was Husserl’s student and then his as-
cesses on which all human knowledge is based. sistant, and he dedicated his famous book Being and
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Time (1927) to Husserl. Heidegger’s work is gener- and Heidegger usually described the relationship
ally considered the bridge between existential phi- between a person and the world as “being-in-the-
losophy and existential psychology. Many, if not world.” A more dramatic way of stating this rela-
most, of the terms and concepts that appear in the tionship is to say that without the world humans
writings of current existential psychologists can be would not exist, and without humans the world
traced to the writings of Heidegger. Like Husserl, would not exist. The human mind illuminates the
Heidegger was a phenomenologist; but unlike physical world and thereby brings it into existence.
Husserl, Heidegger used phenomenology to exam- But Heidegger’s concept of Dasein is even
ine the totality of human existence. In 1933 more complicated. To be means “to exist,” and to
Heidegger became rector at the University of exist is a dynamic process. To exist as a human is to
Freiburg. In his inaugural speech titled “The Role exist unlike anything else. In the process of existing,
of the University in the New Reich,” he was humans choose, evaluate, accept, reject, and ex-
highly supportive of the Nazi party. Although pand. Humans are not static; they are always be-
Heidegger resigned his rectorship a few months af- coming something other than what they were. To
ter the Nazis took office, he never took a strong exist is to become different; to exist is to change.
stand against them (Langan, 1961, p. 4). In fact, How a particular person chooses to exist is an indi-
Farias (1989) leaves little doubt that Heidegger vidual matter, but for all people existence is an ac-
was committed to Nazism and was involved in tive process. The Da, or there, in Dasein refers to
the activities of the Nazi regime. It is ironic that that place in space and time where existence takes
someone with such unfortunate political leanings place; but no matter where and when it takes place,
had such a significant influence on humanistic existence (to be) is a complex, dynamic, and
psychology. uniquely human phenomenon. Unlike anything
else in the universe, humans choose the nature of
Dasein. Heidegger used the term Dasein to in- their own existence.
dicate that a person and the world are inseparable.
Literally, Dasein means “to be” (sein) “there” (Da), Authenticity and Inauthenticity. It was very
important to Heidegger that humans can ponder
the finiteness of their existence. For Heidegger a
prerequisite for living an authentic life is coming
to grips with the fact that “I must someday die.”
With that realization dealt with, the person can get
busy and exercise his or her freedom to create a
meaningful existence, an existence that allows for
almost constant personal growth, or becoming.
Because realizing that one is mortal causes anx-
iety, however, people often refuse to recognize that
fact and thereby inhibit a full understanding of
themselves and their possibilities. According to
Heidegger, this results in an inauthentic life. An
authentic life is lived with a sense of excitement or
even urgency because one realizes one’s existence is
© Bettman/CORBIS

finite. With the time that one has available, one

must explore life’s possibilities and become all that
one can become. An inauthentic life does not have
the same urgency because the inevitability of death
Martin Heidegger is not accepted. One pretends, and pretending is

inauthentic. Other inauthentic modes of existence thrownness determines, for example, whether we
include living a traditional, conventional life ac- are male or female, short or tall, attractive or unat-
cording to the dictates of society and emphasizing tractive, rich or poor, American or Russian, the
present activities without concern for the future. time in human history that we are born, and so
The inauthentic person gives up his or her freedom on. Thrownness determines the conditions under
and lets others make the choices involved in his or which we exercise our freedom. According to
her life. In general, the speech and behavior of au- Heidegger, all humans are free, but the conditions
thentic individuals accurately reflect their inner under which that freedom is exercised varies.
feelings, whereas with inauthentic individuals this Thrownness provides the context for one’s exis-
is not the case. tence. What Heidegger called thrownness has also
been called facticity, referring to the facts that char-
Guilt and Anxiety. Heidegger believed that if acterize a human existence.
we do not exercise our personal freedom, we ex-
perience guilt. Because most people do not fully
Ludwig Binswanger
exercise their freedom to choose, they experience
at least some guilt. All humans can do to minimize Ludwig Binswanger (1881–1966) obtained his
guilt is try to live an authentic life—that is, to rec- medical degree from the University of Zürich in
ognize and live in accordance with their ability to 1907 and then studied psychiatry under Eugen
choose their own existence. Bleuler and psychoanalysis under Carl Jung.
Because acceptance of the fact that at some Binswanger was one of the first Freudian psycho-
time in the future we will be nothing causes anxi- analysts in Switzerland, and he and Freud remained
ety, such acceptance takes courage. Heidegger be- friends throughout their lives. Under the influence
lieved that choosing one’s existence rather than of Heidegger, Binswanger applied phenomenology
conforming to the dictates of society, culture, or to psychiatry, and later he became an existential
someone else also takes courage. And in general, analyst. Binswanger’s goal was to integrate the writ-
living an authentic life by accepting all conditions ings of Husserl and Heidegger with psychoanalytic
of existence and making personal choices means theory. Adopting Heidegger’s notion of Dasein,
that one must experience anxiety. For Heidegger Binswanger called his approach to psychotherapy
anxiety is a necessary part of living an authentic Daseinanalysis (existential analysis).
life. One reason for this anxiety is that authentic Like most existential psychologists, Binswanger
people are always experimenting with life, always emphasized the here-and-now, considering the past
taking chances, and always becoming. Entering the or future important only insofar as they manifested
unknown causes part of the anxiety associated with themselves in the present. To understand and help a
an authentic life. person, according to Binswanger, one must learn
Another reason that exercising one’s freedom how that person views his or her life at the mo-
in life causes anxiety is that it makes one responsible ment. Furthermore, the therapist must try to under-
for the consequences of those choices. The free stand the particular person’s anxieties, fears, values,
individual cannot blame God, parents, circum- thought processes, social relations, and personal
stances, genes, or anything else for what he or she meanings instead of those notions in general. Each
becomes. One is responsible for one’s own life. person lives in his or her own private, subjective
Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. world, which is not generalizable.

Thrownness. Heidegger did, however, place Modes of Existence. Binswanger discussed three
limits on personal freedom. He said that we are different modes of existence to which individuals
thrown into the Da, or there, aspect of our partic- give meaning through their consciousness. They
ular life by circumstances beyond our control. This are the Umwelt (the “around world”), the world
576 CHAPTER 18

one exercises one’s personal freedom. No matter

what a human’s circumstances are, however, he or
she aspires to transcend them—that is, not to be
victimized or controlled by them. Everyone seeks
being-beyond-the-world. By “being-beyond-
the-world,” Binswanger was not referring to a life
after death, or anything else supernatural, but to the
way in which people try to transform their circum-
stances by exercising their free will.
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The Importance of Meaning in One’s Life. People

may be thrown into negative circumstances such as
poverty, incest, rape, or war, but they need not be
devastated by those experiences. Most existentialists
accept Nietzsche’s proclamation: “What does not
kill me, makes me stronger” (Nietzsche, 1889/1998).
This strength comes from finding meaning even in a
negative experience and growing from that meaning.
In his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning
(1946/1984), Viktor E. Frankl (1905–1997) described
of things and events; the Mitwelt (the “with his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. One of
world”), interactions with other humans; and the his major observations was that prisoners who, even
Eigenwel (the “own world”), a person’s private, under those dire circumstances, found meaning in their
inner, subjective experience. To understand a per- lives and something to live for continued to live:
son fully, one must understand all three of his or her
modes of existence. We who lived in concentration camps can
One of Binswanger’s most important concepts remember the men who walked through
was that of Weltanschauung, or world-design the huts comforting others, giving away
(worldview). In general, world-design is how an their last piece of bread. They may have
individual views and embraces the world. World- been few in number, but they offer suffi-
designs can be open or closed, expansive or construc- cient proof that everything can be taken
tive, positive or negative, or simple or complex, or it from a man but one thing: the last of the
could have any number of other characteristics. In human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude
any case, it is through the world-design that one lives in any given set of circumstances, to
one’s life, and therefore the world-design touches choose one’s own way. (p. 86)
everything that one does. If a world-design is ineffec-
tive, in the sense that it results in too much anxiety, According to Frankl (1964/1984), “Suffering
fear, or guilt, it is the therapist’s job to help the client ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a
see that there are other ways of embracing the world, meaning” (p. 135).
other people, and oneself. By choosing, we change the meanings and va-
lues of what we experience. Although physical cir-
Ground of Existence. Binswanger agreed with cumstances may be the same for different people,
Heidegger that thrownness places limits on personal how those circumstances are embraced, interpreted,
freedom. For Binswanger the circumstances into valued, symbolized, and responded to is a matter of
which one is thrown determines one’s ground of personal choice. By exercising our freedom, we
existence, defined as the conditions under which grow as human beings; and because exercising

freedom is an unending process, the developmental

process is never completed. Becoming characterizes
the authentic life, which, in turn, is characterized by
anxiety. Not becoming, or remaining stagnant,
characterizes the inauthentic life—as does guilt—
because the person does not attempt to fully mani-
fest his or her human potential.

© Bernard Gotfryd/Contributor/Hulton Archives/Getty Images

Rollo May
Rollo May (1909–1994) introduced Heideggerian
existentialism to U.S. psychology through books he
edited, Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and
Psychology (with Angel and Ellenberger, 1958) and
Existential Psychology (1961). Because Binswanger’s
work has only recently been translated into
English, May was primarily responsible for incorpo-
rating European existential philosophy (mainly
Heidegger’s) into U.S. psychology.
May was born on April 21 in Ada, Ohio. Rollo May
Neither of his parents was well educated, and there
was little intellectual stimulation in the home.
When his older sister became psychotic, his father ceived the first PhD in clinical psychology ever
blamed it on too much education. May was not awarded by Columbia University. In modified form,
close to either of his parents, but he especially dis- this dissertation became his book The Meaning of
liked his mother (Rabinowitz, Good, and Cozad, Anxiety (1950). May’s other books include The Art of
1989). May received his Bachelor of Arts degree Counseling: How to Give and Gain Mental Health (1939),
from Oberlin College in 1930 and a Bachelor of The Springs of Creative Living: A Study of Human Nature
Divinity degree from Union Theological and God (1940), Man’s Search for Himself (1953),
Seminary in 1938. While at the Union Seminary, Psychology and the Human Dilemma (1967), Love and
May met the existential philosopher Paul Tillich, Will (1969), Power and Innocence: A Search for the
and the two became lifelong friends. In 1973 May Sources of Violence (1972), The Courage to Create
wrote Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship as a trib- (1975), Freedom and Destiny (1981), The Discovery of
ute to Tillich, who died in 1965. After receiving his Being: Writings in Existential Psychology (1983), and
BD from Union Seminary, May served as a minister The Cry for Myth (1991). May died on October 22,
for two years in Montclair, New Jersey. In the 1994, of multiple causes.
1940s, he studied psychoanalysis at the William Like many other existential thinkers, May was
Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, strongly influenced by Kierkegaard, who had re-
and Psychology, and he became a practicing psycho- jected Hegel’s belief that an individual’s life had
analyst in 1946. May enrolled in the doctorate program meaning only insofar as it related to the totality of
at Columbia University, but before he obtained his things, which Hegel called the Absolute.
degree, he contracted tuberculosis and nearly died. Kierkegaard proposed that each person’s life is a
During this depressing time, May studied separate entity with its own self-determined mean-
Kierkegaard’s and Freud’s views on anxiety; upon re- ing. Again, for Kierkegaard, subjectivity is truth;
turning to Columbia, he submitted “The Meaning of that is, a person’s beliefs define that person’s
Anxiety” as his doctoral dissertation. In 1949 May re- reality.
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The Human Dilemma. May (1967) pointed out self. Self-alienation occurs whenever people ac-
that humans are both objects and subjects of expe- cept, as their own, values dictated by society rather
rience. We are objects in the sense that we exist than those personally attained. Self-alienation re-
physically, and therefore things happen to us. As sults not only in guilt but also in apathy and despair.
objects, we are not distinguished from the other The frightening aspects of human freedom and the
physical objects that are studied by the natural many ways people attempt to escape from their
sciences. It is as objects that humans are studied freedom are discussed in Erich Fromm’s classic
by the traditional methods of science—the assump- book Escape from Freedom (1941).
tion being that human behavior is caused in much According to Kierkegaard, May, and most
the same way that the behavior of any physical ob- other existentialists, we can either exercise our
ject is caused. Besides being objects, however, we free will and experience normal anxiety or not
are also subjects. That is, we do not simply have exercise it and feel guilty. Obviously, it is not easy
experience; we interpret, value, and make choices being human, for this conflict between anxiety and
regarding our experience. We give our experience guilt is a constant theme in human existence: “The
meaning. This dual aspect of human nature, which conflict is between every human being’s need to
May called the human dilemma, makes humans struggle toward enlarged self-awareness, maturity,
unique in the universe. By dilemma, May did not freedom and responsibility, and his tendency to re-
mean an insoluble problem; rather, he meant a par- main a child and cling to the protection of parents
adox of human existence. or parental substitutes” (May, 1953, p. 193).

Normal and Neurotic Anxiety. May believed,

along with the other existentialists, that the most The Importance of Myth. According to May,
important fact about humans is that they are free. myths provide the major vehicle for providing
As we have seen, however, freedom does not pro- meaning in life: “Myth is a way of making sense
duce a tranquil life. Freedom carries with it respon- in a senseless world. Myths are narrative patterns
sibility, uncertainty, and therefore anxiety. The that give significance to our existence” (1991, p.
healthy (authentic) person exercises freedom to 15). After a long, illustrious career as a psychoana-
embrace life fully and to approach his or her full lyst, May reached the following conclusion about
potential. Exercising one’s freedom means going people seeking professional help: “As a practicing
beyond what one previously was, ignoring the ex- psychoanalyst I find that contemporary therapy is
pectations (roles) for one’s behavior that others almost entirely concerned, when all is surveyed,
impose, and therefore often acting contrary to tra- with the problems of the individual’s search for
ditions, mores, or conventions. All this causes myth” (1991, p. 9). In sympathy with May’s con-
anxiety, but it is normal, healthy anxiety because clusion, McAdams and Pals (2006) say, “The pro-
it is conducive to personal growth (becoming). cess of putting life experience into a meaningful
Neurotic anxiety is not conducive to personal narrative form influences development, coping, and
growth because it results from the fear of freedom. well-being” (p. 210). Because myth is a type of
The person experiencing neurotic anxiety lives his narrative (story), May’s observation that effective
or her life in such a way that reduces or eliminates living depends on effective myths is supported by
personal freedom. Such a person conforms to tradi- recently developed “narrative therapy.” Narrative
tion, religious dogma, the expectations of others, or therapy examines the stories by which people live
anything else that reduces his or her need to make and understand their lives and the effectiveness of
personal choices. Kierkegaard called the neurotic’s those stories (see, for example, Lieblich, McAdams,
situation shut-upness. The neurotic is shut off and Josselson, 2004; McAdams, 2006; McLeod,
from himself or herself as well as from other people; 1997; Pennebaker and Seagal, 1999; Singer, 2004;
he or she has become alienated from his or her true White and Epston, 1990).

In his analysis of myth, May (1991) shows close and provide a means of dealing with the mysteries
argument with Jung: “Individual myths will gener- of creation. Most important, however, “hunger for
ally be a variation on some central theme of classical myth is a hunger for community. … To be a mem-
myths. … Myths are archetypal patterns in human ber of one’s community is to share in its myths”
consciousness [and therefore] where there is con- (1991, p. 45). For May, then, the best myths are
sciousness, there will be myth” (pp. 33, 37). those that encourage a sense of kinship among hu-
Like Nietzsche, Freud, and Jung, May believed mans. The myth of the rugged individual, popular
that positive and negative tendencies coexist in all for so long in the United States, encourages people
humans and that the tension between them is the to live in isolation and leads to loneliness and vio-
primary source of creativity. For May, it is the dai- lence. Survival itself depends on replacing myths
monic that is responsible for great literature, that isolate people with those that bind them to-
drama, and art, and it is the daimonic that is at gether. For example,
the heart of many myths; for example, myths por-
We awake after a sleep of many centuries
traying conflicts between good and evil or
to find ourselves in a new and irrefutable
between God and Satan. May (1969) defined the
sense in the myth of humankind. We find
daimonic as
ourselves in a new world community; we
any natural function which has the power to take cannot destroy the parts without destroy-
over the whole person. Sex and eros, anger ing the whole. In this bright loveliness we
and rage, and the craving for power are know now that we are truly sisters and
examples. The daimonic can be either brothers, at last in the same family. (May,
creative or destructive and is normally 1991, p. 302)
both. … The daimonic is the urge in every
being to affirm itself, assert itself, perpetu- Human Science. Unlike many existential thin-
ate and increase itself. The daimonic kers, May was not opposed to studying humans
becomes evil when it usurps the total scientifically. He was opposed, however, to em-
personality without regard to the integra- ploying the methods of the physical sciences to
tion of that self, or to the unique forms and study humans. Such methods, he said, overlook at-
desires of others and their need for inte- tributes that are uniquely human. Instead, May
gration. It then appears as excessive ag- (1967) suggested the creation of a new science spe-
gression, hostility, cruelty—the things cifically designed to study humans:
about ourselves which horrify us most, and
which we repress whenever we can, or The outlines of a science of man we
more likely, project on others. But these suggest will deal with man as the symbol-
are the reverse side of the same assertion maker, the reasoner, the historical
which empowers our creativity. All life is a mammal, who can participate in his com-
flux between these two aspects of the munity and who possesses the potentiality
daimonic. (p. 123) of freedom and ethical action. The pursuit
of this science will take no less rigorous
May had little patience with those who portray thought and wholehearted discipline than
humans as only good or bad. For him, we are po- the pursuit of experimental and natural
tentially both, and therein lies the drama of human science at their best, but it will place the
existence. scientific enterprise in a broader context.
According to May, myths serve four primary Perhaps it will again be possible to study
functions: They provide a sense of identity, provide man scientifically and still see him whole.
a sense of community, support our moral values, (p. 199)
580 CHAPTER 18

Schneider (1998) elaborates the human science

envisioned by May and discusses its relevance for
contemporary psychology. Also, the emerging field
of positive psychology (discussed later in this chap-
ter) is moving in the direction suggested by May.

George Kelly
George Kelly (1905–1967) was born on April 28
on a farm near Perth, Kansas. An only child, his
father was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and
his mother was a former schoolteacher. By the

© Brandeis University
time Kelly was born, his father had given up the
ministry and turned to farming. In 1909, when
Kelly was 4 years old, his father converted a lumber
wagon into a covered wagon and with it moved his
family to Colorado, where he staked a claim to a
George Kelly
plot of land offered free to settlers. Unable to find
an adequate amount of water on their claim, the
family moved back to Kansas. There, Kelly’s edu-
cation consisted of attending a one-room school the “R” was put there so the “S” would
and being tutored by his parents. From the pioneer- have something to account for. I never did
ing efforts of his family, Kelly developed a prag- find out what that arrow stood for—not to
matic spirit that remained with him throughout this day—and I have pretty well given up
his life: the major criterion he used to judge an trying to figure it out. (p. 47)
idea or a device was whether it worked.
When Kelly was 13, he was sent to Wichita,
Next, Kelly went to the University of Kansas,
where he attended four different high schools in
where he earned his master’s degree in 1928 with a
four years. Upon graduation from high school, he
major in educational psychology and a minor in
attended Friends University in Wichita for three
labor relations. While at the University of Kansas,
years and then Park College in Parkville,
Kelly decided that it was time for him to become
Missouri, where he earned his bachelor’s degree
acquainted with Freud’s writings. Freud did not
in 1926 with majors in physics and mathematics.
impress him any more than S!R psychology did:
Kelly was totally unimpressed by his first psychol-
“I don’t remember which one of Freud’s books I
ogy class. For several class meetings, he waited in
was trying to read, but I do remember the mount-
vain for something interesting to be said. Finally,
ing feeling of incredulity that anyone could
one day the instructor wrote “S!R” on the black-
write such nonsense, much less publish it” (1969,
board, and Kelly (1969) believed that finally he was
p. 47).
going to hear something interesting. He recalled his
The next year was a busy one for Kelly; he
taught part-time in a labor college in Minneapolis
Although I listened intently for several and gave speech classes for the American Bankers
sessions, after that the most I could make Association and an Americanization class to immi-
of it was that the “S” was what you had to grants wishing to become U.S. citizens. In the win-
have in order to account for the “R” and ter of 1928, he moved to Sheldon, Iowa, where he

taught at a junior college. Among his other duties, I began fabricating “insights.” I deliberately
Kelly coached dramatics, and this experience may offered “preposterous interpretations” to
have influenced his later theorizing. It was here that my clients. Some of them were about as
Kelly met his future wife, Gladys Thompson, an un-Freudian as I could make them—first
English teacher at the same school. After a year proposed somewhat cautiously, of course,
and a half, Kelly returned to Minnesota, where he and then, as I began to see what was hap-
taught for a brief time at the University of pening, more boldly. My only criteria
Minnesota. He then returned to Wichita to work were that the explanation account for the
for a while as an aeronautical engineer. In 1929 he crucial facts as the client saw them, and
received an exchange scholarship, which allowed that it carry implications for approaching
him to study for a year at the University of the future in a different way. (Kelly, 1969,
Edinburgh in Scotland. It was while earning his p. 52)
advanced degree in education at Edinburgh under
the supervision of the illustrious statistician and psy- In this statement lies the cornerstone of Kelly’s
chologist Sir Godfrey Thomson that Kelly became position: Whether or not a person has a psycholog-
interested in psychology. His thesis was on predict- ical problem is mainly a matter of how that person
ing teaching success. views things.
In 1930, on his return from Scotland, Kelly At the beginning of World War II, Kelly
enrolled in the graduate program in psychology at joined the Navy and was placed in charge of a local
the State University of Iowa, where he obtained his civilian pilot-training program. After the war, he
doctorate in 1931. His dissertation was on the com- taught at the University of Maryland for a year
mon factors in speech and reading disabilities. Kelly and in 1946 moved to Ohio State University as
began his academic career at Fort Hays Kansas State professor of psychology and director of clinical psy-
College during the Great Depression. This was a chology. It was during his 19 years at Ohio State
time when there were many troubled people; that Kelly refined his theory of personality and his
Kelly desperately wanted to help them, but his approach to psychotherapy. In 1955, he published
training in physiological psychology did not equip his most important work, The Psychology of Personal
him to do so. He decided to become a psychother- Constructs, in two volumes.
apist. His lack of training in clinical psychology, In 1960 Kelly and his wife received a grant
along with his pragmatic attitude, gave Kelly great from the human ecology fund, allowing them to
latitude in dealing with emotional problems, and travel around the world discussing the relationship
his observations eventually resulted in his unique between Kelly’s theory and international problems.
theory of personality. In 1965 Kelly accepted a position at Brandeis
Soon after arriving at Fort Hays, Kelly devel- University, where for a short time he was a col-
oped traveling clinics that serviced the public school league of Maslow. Kelly died on March 6, 1967,
system. The clinics brought Kelly into contact with at the age of 62. His honors included presidencies
a wide range of emotional problems that both stu- of both the clinical and counseling divisions of the
dents and teachers experienced. Kelly soon made a APA. He also headed the American Board of
remarkable observation. Because he was not trained Examiners in Professional Psychology, an organiza-
in any particular therapeutic approach, he began to tion whose purpose was to upgrade the quality of
experiment with a variety of approaches, and he professional psychology.
discovered that anything that caused his clients to view
themselves or their problems differently improved the situ- Constructive Alternativism. Kelly observed
ation. Whether a proposed explanation was “logi- that the major goal of scientists is to reduce uncer-
cal” or “correct” seemed to have little to do with its tainty; and because he believed that this is also the
effectiveness: goal of all humans, he said all humans are like
582 CHAPTER 18

scientists. But whereas scientists create theories with nor a victim of the past; all are free to view things as
which they attempt to predict future events, non- they wish:
scientists create construct systems to predict fu- We take the stand that there are always
ture events. If either a scientific theory or a personal some alternative constructions available to
construct system is effective, it adequately predicts choose among in dealing with the world.
the future and thereby reduces uncertainty. And No one needs to paint himself into a cor-
both scientific theories and construct systems are ner; no one needs to be completely
tested empirically. That is, they are checked against hemmed in by circumstances; no one
reality and are revised until their ability to predict needs to be the victim of his biography.
future events or experiences is satisfactory. For (Kelly, 1955, Vol. 1, p. 15)
Kelly a construct was a verbal label. For example,
According to Kelly, it is not common experi-
On meeting a person for the first time, one ence that makes people similar; rather, it is how
might construe that person with the con- they construe reality. If two people employ more
struct “friendly.” If the person’s subsequent or less the same personal constructs in dealing with
behavior is in accordance with the con- the world, then they are similar no matter how
struct of friendly, then the construct will similar or dissimilar their physical experiences had
be useful in anticipating that person’s be- been. Kelly also said that to truly understand an-
havior. If the new acquaintance acts in an other person, we have to know how that person
unfriendly manner, he or she will need to construes things. In other words, we have to
be construed either with different con- know what that person’s expectations are, and
structs or by using the other pole … of the then we can choose to act in accordance with those
friendly-unfriendly construct. The major expectations. The deepest type of social interaction
point is that constructs are used to antici- occurs when this process is mutual.
pate the future, so they must fit reality.
Arriving at a construct system that corre- Kelly and Vaihinger. Although Kelly’s thinking
sponds fairly closely to reality is largely a was existential in nature, there is no evidence that
matter of trial and error. (Hergenhahn and he was directly influenced by any existential philo-
Olson, 2007, p. 409) sophers or psychologists. However, he was aware of
For Kelly, whether or not an experience is Vaihinger’s philosophy of “as if.” Although there
physically pleasant is relatively unimportant. Of are important differences between Vaihinger’s phi-
greater importance is whether or not it validates losophy and Kelly’s theory (see Hermans, Kempen,
the predictions generated by one’s construct system. and Van Loon, 1992), both emphasized proposi-
Kelly (1970) said, “Confirmation and disconfirma- tional thinking, or the experimentation with ideas
tion of one’s predictions [have] greater psychologi- to see where they lead. About Vaihinger, Kelly
cal significance than rewards, punishments, or… (1964) said,
drive reduction” (p. 11). Toward the end of the last century a
With his concept of constructive alternati- German philosopher, Hans Vaihinger, be-
vism, Kelly aligned himself squarely with the ex- gan to develop a system of philosophy he
istentialists. Kelly maintained that people are free to called the “philosophy of ‘as if.’” In it he
choose the constructs they use in interacting with offered a system of thought in which God
the world. This means that people can view and and reality might best be represented as
interpret events in an almost infinite number of [propositions]. This was not to say that
ways because construing them is an individual mat- either God or reality was any less certain
ter. No one needs to be a victim of circumstances than anything else in the realm of man’s

awareness, but only that all matters con- what he just was or is what he is about to be.
fronting man might best be regarded in (Kelly, 1964, p. 147)
hypothetical ways. In some measure, I
suppose, I am suggesting that Vaihinger’s In the role of supporting actor, the therapist
position has particular value for psychol- helps the client deal with this threatening moment
ogy. At least, let us pursue the topic— and then provides experiences that validate the cli-
which is probably just the way Vaihinger ent’s new construct system. According to Kelly,
would have proposed that we go at it. people with psychological problems have lost their
(p. 139) ability to make-believe, an ability that the therapist
must help the client regain. Kelly’s fixed-role ther-
The following statement nicely summarizes apy can be seen as an early version of narrative
Kelly’s belief in the importance of propositional therapy that was discussed earlier.
thinking and exemplifies his kinship with existential In the 1960s, there was much talk about people
philosophy: “Whatever nature may be, or however being “themselves”; Kelly’s advice was the
the quest for truth will turn out in the end, the opposite:
events we face today are subject to as great a variety
of constructions as our wits will enable us to con- A good deal is said these days about being
trive” (1970, p. 1). oneself. It is supposed to be healthy to be
oneself. While it is a little hard for me to
Fixed-Role Therapy. Kelly’s approach to ther- understand how one could be anything else,
apy reflected his belief that psychological problems I suppose what is meant is that one should
are perceptual problems and that the job of the thera- not strive to become anything other than
pist is therefore to help the client view things differ- what he is. This strikes me as a very dull way
ently. Kelly often began the therapeutic process by of living; in fact, I would be inclined to ar-
having a client write a self-characterization, gue that all of us would be better off if we set
which provided Kelly with information about out to be something other than what we are.
how the client viewed himself or herself, the world, Well, I’m not so sure we would all be better
and other people. Next, Kelly created a role for the off—perhaps it would be more accurate to
client to play for about two weeks. The character in say life would be a lot more interesting.
the role was markedly different from the client’s (Kelly, 1964, p. 147)
self-characterization. The client became an actor,
Kelly became a major force within clinical psy-
and the therapist became a supporting actor. Kelly
chology in the postwar years, but the popularity of
called this approach to treating clients fixed-role
his ideas in the United States diminished. In England,
therapy. He hoped that this procedure would
however, Kelly’s ideas became extremely popular—
help the client discover other possible ways of
even after his death—primarily because of the efforts
viewing his or her life:
of his disciple Donald Bannister. Exposure to Kelly’s
What I am saying is that it is not so much theory remains a requirement in most clinical pro-
what man is that counts as it is what he grams approved by the British Psychological
ventures out to make himself. To make the Association (Jankowicz, 1987, p. 483). The popular-
leap he must do more than disclose himself; ity of Kelly’s theory is again growing in the
he must risk a certain amount of confusion. United States, especially in the area of industrial-
Then, as soon as he does catch a glimpse of a organizational psychology (Jankowicz, 1987). Other
different kind of life, he needs to find some areas to which Kelly’s theory is being applied in-
way of overcoming the paralyzing moment clude friendship formation, developmental psychol-
of threat, for this is the instant when he ogy, perception, political science, and environmental
wonders what he really is—whether he is psychology (Adams-Webber, 1979; Mancuso and
584 CHAPTER 18

Adams-Webber, 1982); depression and suicide

(Neimeyer, 1984; Parker, 1981); obsessive-
compulsive disorders (Rigdon and Epting, 1983);
drug and alcohol abuse (Dawes, 1985; Rivers and
Landfield, 1985); childhood disorders (Agnew,
1985); fear of death and physical illness (Robinson

© Psychology Archives—The University of Akron

and Wood, 1984; Viney, 1983, 1984); couples in
conflict (Neimeyer and Hudson, 1984); and other
relationship disorders (Leitner, 1984; Neimeyer and
Neimeyer, 1985).
Neimeyer and Jackson (1997) provide a brief,
but informative, overview of Kelly’s life, the devel-
opment of his ideas, and the relevance of his ideas
in contemporary psychology.

Abraham Maslow
hostile figure, one so unloving as to nearly
induce madness in her children. In all of
Abraham Maslow Maslow’s references to his mother—some
uttered publicly while she was still alive—
Some argue that Alfred Adler should be considered there is not one that expresses any warmth
the first humanistic psychologist because he defined or affection. (Hoffman, 1988, p. 7)
a healthy lifestyle as one reflecting a considerable
amount of social interest and his concept of the It is interesting that Maslow saw the motivation
creative self stressed that what a person becomes is for his work in humanistic psychology in his hatred
largely a matter of personal choice. Certainly, of his mother. Shortly before he died, Maslow en-
Adler’s theory had much in common with those tered the following comment in his personal
theories later called humanistic. Usually, however, journal:
Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) is recognized as
the one most responsible for making humanistic I’ve always wondered where my
psychology a formal branch of psychology. Utopianism, ethical stress, humanism, stress
Maslow was born on April 1 in Brooklyn, New on kindness, love, friendship, and all the
York. He was the oldest of seven children born to rest came from. I knew certainly of the
parents who were Jewish immigrants from Russia. direct consequences of having no mother-
Maslow recalled his father Samuel as loving whis- love. But the whole thrust of my life-
key, women, and fighting (Wilson, 1972, p. 131). philosophy and all my research and theo-
Maslow disliked his father but eventually made rizing also has its roots in a hatred for and
peace with him. Not so with his mother, however; revulsion against everything she stood for.
Maslow hated his mother all his life: (Lowry, 1979, p. 958)

[Maslow] grew to maturity with an unre- Not being close to his parents and being the
lieved hatred for her and never achieved only Jewish boy in his neighborhood, Maslow
the slightest reconciliation. He even re- was intensely lonely and shy and took refuge in
fused to attend her funeral. He character- books and scholarly pursuits. He was an excellent
ized Rose Maslow as a cruel, ignorant, and student at Boys High School in Brooklyn and went

on to attend City College of New York. While enced his later theorizing. During this time,
attending City College, he made an effort to satisfy Maslow also observed that sexual behavior within
his father’s desire for him to become a lawyer by the colony was related to dominance and subservi-
also attending law school. Unhappy with law ence, and he wondered whether the same was true
school, however, he walked out of class one night, for human sexual activity, a possibility he would
leaving his books behind. Being a mediocre stu- explore shortly. After receiving his doctorate,
dent at City College, he transferred to Cornell Maslow taught at Wisconsin for a while before
University, where he took introductory psychology moving to Columbia University, where he became
from Edward Titchener. Titchener’s approach to Edward Thorndike’s research assistant. He also be-
psychology did not impress Maslow, and after gan his research on human sexuality by interview-
only one semester at Cornell he transferred back ing both male and female college students about
to City College, partly to be near his first cousin their sexual behavior but soon abandoned males
Bertha Goodman, whom he loved very much. He because they tended to lie too much about their
and Bertha were married in 1928 when he was 20 sexual activities (Hoffman, 1988). Maslow made
and she was 19, and they eventually had two chil- important contributions to our knowledge of hu-
dren. Prior to their marriage, Maslow had enrolled man sexuality several years before Kinsey’s famous
at the University of Wisconsin, and Bertha joined research. Furthermore, the interviewing skills he
him there. By Maslow’s own account, his life did developed during this research served him well
not really begin until he and Bertha moved to when he later studied the characteristics of psycho-
Wisconsin. logically healthy individuals.
As ironic as it now seems, Maslow was first After a year and a half at Columbia, Maslow
infatuated with the behaviorism of John Watson, moved to Brooklyn College, where he stayed until
in which he saw a way of solving human problems 1951. Living in New York in the 1930s and 1940s
and changing the world for the better. His infatua- gave Maslow an opportunity to come into contact
tion ended when he and Bertha had their first child: with many prominent European psychologists who
Our first baby changed me as a psycholo- came to the United States to escape the Nazi terror.
gist. It made the behaviorism I had been so Among them were Erich Fromm, Max Wertheimer,
enthusiastic about look so foolish I could Karen Horney, and Alfred Adler. Adler began giving
not stomach it anymore. That was the seminars in his home on Friday evenings, and
thunderclap that settled things. … I was Maslow attended frequently. Maslow also befriended
stunned by the mystery and by the sense of the famous anthropologist Ruth Benedict about this
not really being in control. I felt small and same time. Maslow became obsessed with trying to
weak and feeble before all this. I’d say understand Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer,
anyone who had a baby couldn’t be a be- whom he considered truly exceptional people, and
haviorist. (M. H. Hall, 1968, p. 55) it was this obsession that evolved into Maslow’s ver-
sion of humanistic psychology.
At the University of Wisconsin, Maslow earned In 1951 Maslow accepted the position of chair-
his bachelor’s degree in 1930, his master’s degree in man of the psychology department at Brandeis
1931, and his doctorate in 1934. As a graduate University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and it was
student at Wisconsin, Maslow became the first doc- here that Maslow became the leading figure in
toral student of the famous experimental psycholo- third-force psychology. In 1968, because of in-
gist Harry Harlow. Maslow’s dissertation was on the creased disenchantment with academic life and fail-
establishment of dominance in a colony of mon- ing health, Maslow accepted a fellowship offered to
keys. He observed that dominance has more to do him by the Saga Administrative Corporation.
with a type of “inner confidence” than with physi- Hoffman (1988) described the offer that was made
cal strength, an observation that may have influ- to Maslow:
586 CHAPTER 18

Laughlin [the president and chairman of human being. Such a description would in-
the Saga Corporation] cheerfully informed clude the importance of language, the valuing
Maslow, the fellowship was ready. He was process, the full range of human emotions, and
prepared to offer Maslow a two- the ways humans seek and attain meaning in
to-four-year commitment with the fol- their lives.
lowing conditions: a handsome salary, a
Charlotte R. Bühler (1893–1974) was a found-
new car, and a personally decorated private
ing member of the Association of Humanistic
office with full secretarial services at Saga’s
Psychologists and served as its president in 1965–
attractive campuslike headquarters on
1966. Her influential position paper on humanistic
Stanford University’s suburban outskirts.
psychology (1971) elaborated several of the tenets
What would Maslow have to do in return?
listed above and showed their relevance to such
Nothing. (p. 316)
topics as creativity, education, and psychotherapy.
Maslow accepted and, as advertised, was free to Humanistic psychology, which rejects the no-
think and write as he pleased, and he enjoyed his tion that psychology should be entirely scientific,
freedom very much. On June 8, 1970, however, sees humans as indivisible wholes. Any attempt to
Maslow suffered a heart attack while jogging and reduce them to habits, cognitive structures, or S–R
died at the age of 62. connections results in a distortion of human nature.
Due primarily to Maslow’s efforts, the Journal of According to Maslow (1966), psychologists often use
Humanistic Psychology was founded in 1961; also in scientific method to cut themselves off from the po-
1961, the American Association of Humanistic etic, romantic, and spiritual aspects of human nature:
Psychologists was established, with James F. T. Briefly put, it appears to me that science
Bugental as its first president; and a division of and everything scientific can be and often
the American Psychological Association (APA), is used as a tool in the service of a distorted,
Humanistic Psychology, was created in 1971. narrowed, humorless, de-eroticized, de-
emotionalized, desacralized, and desancti-
The Basic Tenets of Humanistic Psychology. The fied Weltanschauung [world-view]. This
beliefs shared by psychologists working within the desacralization can be used as a defense
humanistic paradigm include the following: against being flooded by emotion, espe-
cially the emotions of humility, reverence,
■ Little of value can be learned about humans by mastery, wonder and awe. (p. 139)
studying nonhuman animals.
■ Subjective reality is the primary guide for hu- Humanistic psychologists flatly reject the goal
man behavior. of predicting and controlling human behavior,
which so many scientifically inclined psychologists
■ Studying individuals is more informative than
studying what groups of individuals have in
common. If humanistic science may be said to have
■ A major effort should be made to discover any goals beyond sheer fascination with
those things that expand and enrich human the human mystery and enjoyment of it,
experience. these would be to release the person from
external controls and to make him less
■ Research should seek information that will predictable to the observer (to make him
help solve human problems. freer, more creative, more inner deter-
■ The goal of psychology should be to formulate mined) even though perhaps more pre-
a complete description of what it means to be a dictable to himself. (Maslow, 1966, p. 40)

Humans, then, are much more than physical when the safety needs are reasonably satisfied, one is
objects, and therefore the methods employed by free to deal with the belonging and love needs (the
the physical sciences have no relevance to the study need to love and be loved, to share one’s life with a
of humans. Similarly, psychoanalysis, by concen- relevant other); when the belonging and love needs
trating on the study of psychologically disturbed are adequately satisfied, one is released to ponder
individuals, has created a “crippled” psychology: the esteem needs (to make a recognizable contribu-
“It becomes more and more clear that the study tion to the well-being of one’s fellow humans); if
of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy spe- the esteem needs are met satisfactorily, one is in a
cimens can yield only a crippled psychology and a position to become self-actualized. Maslow’s pro-
crippled philosophy” (Maslow, 1954/1970, p. 180). posed hierarchy of needs can be diagrammed as
For Maslow, there are exceptional people whose follows:
lives cannot be understood simply as the absence
of mental disorders. To be understood, exceptional
people must be studied directly: "
Esteem Needs
Health is not simply the absence of disease "
or even the opposite of it. Any theory of
motivation that is worthy of attention Belonging and Love Needs
must deal with the highest capacities of the "
healthy and strong person as well as with Safety Needs
the defensive maneuvers of crippled spirits. "
(Maslow, 1954/1987, p. 14) Physiological Needs
Maslow’s point was not that psychology should
Self-Actualization. By self-actualization, Mas-
stop attempting to be scientific or stop studying and
low meant reaching one’s full, human potential:
attempting to help those with psychological pro-
blems, but that such endeavors tell only part of So far as motivational status is concerned,
the story. Beyond this, psychology needs to attempt healthy people have sufficiently gratified
to understand humans who are in the process of their basic needs for safety, belongingness,
reaching their full potential. We need to know love, respect, and self-esteem so that they
how such people think and what motivates them. are motivated primarily by trends to self-
Thus, Maslow invested most of his energies in try- actualization defined as ongoing actuali-
ing to understand exceptional humans. zation of potentials, capacities and talents,
as fulfillment of mission (or call, fate, des-
The Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, tiny, or vocation), as a fuller knowledge of,
human needs are arranged in a hierarchy. The and acceptance of, the person’s own in-
lower the needs in the hierarchy, the more basic trinsic nature, as an unceasing trend toward
they are and the more similar they are to the needs unity, integration or synergy within the
of other animals. The higher the needs in the hier- person. (Maslow, 1968, p. 25)
archy, the more distinctly human they are. Musicians must make music, artists
The needs are arranged so that as one satisfies a must paint, poets must write if they are to
lower need, one can deal with the next higher be ultimately at peace with themselves.
need. When one’s physiological needs (such as What humans can be, they must be. They
hunger, thirst, and sex) are predictably satisfied, must be true to their own nature. This
one can deal with the safety needs (protection need we may call self-actualization.
from the elements, pain, and unexpected dangers); (Maslow, 1954/1987, p. 22)
588 CHAPTER 18

The concept of self-actualization goes back at More than any other kind of knowledge
least as far as Aristotle, but what Aristotle meant by we fear knowledge of ourselves, knowl-
self-actualization was the innate tendency to mani- edge that might transform our self-esteem
fest the characteristics or the essence of one’s spe- and our self-image. … While human
cies. For example, an acorn has an innate tendency beings love knowledge and seek it—they
to become an oak tree and to exhibit the character- are curious—they also fear it. The closer to
istics of oak treeness. Jung reintroduced the concept the personal it is, the more they fear it.
of self-actualization into modern psychology, and (p. 16)
what he meant by the term and what Maslow later
meant by it was distinctly different from the Related to the fear of self-knowledge is the
Aristotelian meaning. By self-actualization, Jung, Jonah complex, which Maslow (1971) defined as
Maslow, and Rogers (whom we consider next) “fear of one’s own greatness, … evasion of one’s
meant the realization of an individual’s potential, destiny, … running away from one’s best talents”
not that of the species’ potential, as was Aristotle’s (p. 34). According to Maslow, humans often fear
meaning. success as much as they do failure and this fear,
Because it is impossible for any person to like the fear of self-knowledge, militates against
completely reach his or her full potential, Maslow self-actualization.
referred to those who have satisfied hierarchical
needs as self-actualizing. (A list of characteristics of
The Characteristics of Self-Actualizing People. As
self-actualizing people is given shortly.)
we have seen, Maslow believed that for too long
As one climbs the hierarchy, the needs become
psychology had emphasized the study of lower an-
more fragile. That is, the physiological and safety
imals and psychologically disturbed individuals. To
needs have a long evolutionary history and are
begin to remedy the situation, he studied a number
therefore very powerful; the higher needs for
of people he thought were self-actualizing. Among
love, esteem, and self-actualization are “newer”
them were Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer,
and distinctly human and therefore do not have as
Sigmund Freud, Jane Addams, William James, and
firm a biological foundation. This means that their
Abraham Lincoln. Maslow concluded that self-
satisfaction is easily interfered with. The higher
actualizing people have the following
up the hierarchy one goes, the truer this is; and
therefore the satisfaction of the need for self-
actualization—although the need is innate—is eas- ■ They perceive reality accurately and fully.
ily interfered with. Of self-actualization, Maslow ■ They demonstrate a great acceptance of
said, “This inner nature is not strong and overpow- themselves and of others.
ering and unmistakable like the instincts of animals.
It is weak and delicate and subtle and easily over-
■ They exhibit spontaneity and naturalness.
come by habit, cultural pressure, and wrong atti- ■ They have a need for privacy.
tudes toward it” (1968, p. 4). ■ They tend to be independent of their envi-
Thus, although all humans have an innate drive ronment and culture.
to be self-actualized (to reach their full potential as
humans), self-actualized people are rare. Another
■ They demonstrate a continuous freshness of
major reason that self-actualization occurs so infre- appreciation.
quently is that it requires a great deal of honest ■ They tend to have periodic mystic or peak
knowledge of oneself, and most humans are fearful experiences. Maslow (1954/1987) described
of such knowledge: peak experiences as

feelings of limitless horizons opening up to himself off from this friendship sharply and
the vision, the feeling of being simulta- abruptly and without any observable pangs
neously more powerful and also more whatsoever. Another woman who was
helpless than one ever was before, the married to someone she did not love, when
feeling of great ecstasy and wonder and she decided on divorce, did it with a deci-
awe, the loss of placing in time and space siveness that looked almost like ruthlessness.
with, finally, the conviction that some- Some of them recover so quickly from the
thing extremely important and valuable death of people close to them as to seem
had happened, so that the subject is to heartless. (p. 146)
some extent transformed and strengthened
Deficiency and Being Motivation and Perception. If
even in his daily life by such experiences.
(p. 137) a person is functioning at any level other than self-
actualization, he or she is said to be deficiency-
motivated. That is, the person is seeking specific
■ They are concerned with all humans instead of things to satisfy specific needs, and his or her per-
with only their friends, relatives, and ceptions are need-directed. Jourard describes need-
acquaintances. directed perception (also called deficiency or D-
■ They tend to have only a few friends. perception) as follows: “Need-directed perception
is a highly focused searchlight darting here and
■ They have a strong ethical sense but do not there, seeking the objects which will satisfy needs,
necessarily accept conventional ethics. ignoring everything irrelevant to the need” (1974,
■ They have a well-developed but not hostile p. 68). Deficiency motivation (D-motivation)
sense of humor. leads to need-directed perception.
■ They are creative. Unlike most psychologists, Maslow was mainly
interested in what happens to people after their basic
Although Maslow (1954/1987) concluded that needs are satisfied. His answer was that people who
his group of self-actualizing people was made up of satisfy their basic needs and become self-actualizing
outstanding humans, he also indicated that they enter into a different mode of existence. Instead of
were not without faults: being deficiency-motivated, they are being-
motivated (B-motivated). Being motivation in-
Our subjects show many of the lesser hu- volves embracing the higher values of life such as
man failings. They too are equipped with beauty, truth, and justice. Being-motivated people
silly, wasteful or thoughtless habits. They are also capable of B-love, which unlike D-love is
can be boring, stubborn, irritating. They nonpossessive and insatiable. Unlike D-perception,
are by no means free from a rather super- being perception (B-perception) does not involve
ficial vanity, pride, partiality to their own seeking specific things in the environment.
productions, family, friends, and children. Therefore, the person interacting with the world
Temper outbursts are not rare. through B-perception is open to a wider range of
Our subjects are occasionally capable of experience than the person who interacts through
an extraordinary and unexpected ruthless- D-perception.
ness. It must be remembered that they are
very strong people. This makes it possible Transpersonal Psychology. Toward the end of
for them to display a surgical coldness when his life, Maslow began to ponder a new kind of
this is called for, beyond the power of the psychology that went beyond personal experience.
average man. The man who found that a This transpersonal psychology would constitute
long-trusted acquaintance was dishonest cut a fourth force and would focus on the mystical,
590 CHAPTER 18

ecstatic, or spiritual aspects of human nature. In the Maslow’s many honors include election to the
preface of his book Toward a Psychology of Being presidency of the APA for the year 1967–1968. At
(1968), Maslow described his vision of fourth- the time of his death in 1970, Maslow’s ideas were
force psychology: influential not only within psychology but also in
fields such as medicine, marketing, theology, edu-
I … consider Humanistic, Third Force
cation, and nursing. Although Maslow’s influence
Psychology to be transitional, a preparation
has diminished, it is not uncommon for his theory
for a still “higher” Fourth Psychology,
of motivation to be taught in psychology, educa-
transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the
tion, and business courses. Coon (2006) speculates
cosmos rather than in human needs and
as to the reasons for Maslow’s lasting appeal:
interest, going beyond humanness, iden-
tity, self-actualization, and the like. … Perhaps it is that his theory of motivation
These new developments may very well embodies deeply felt democratic ideals
offer a tangible, usable, effective satisfac- expressed in psychological terms. It is
tion of the “frustrated idealism” of many hopeful and optimistic, even utopian in its
quietly desperate people, especially young dream of an eventual Eupsychia [good
people. These psychologies give promise mind country]. Given the right set of
of developing into the life-philosophy, the psychological and social conditions, every
religion-surrogate, the value-system, the person among us has the potential to
life-program that these people have been become happy, fulfilled, creative, emo-
missing. Without the transcendent and the tionally whole—in Maslow’s terms, self-
transpersonal, we get sick, violent, and actualized. It is the American ethos of
nihilistic, or else hopeless and apathetic. self-improvement taken to its ultimate
We need something “bigger than we are” psychological conclusion, and it unabash-
to be awed by and to commit ourselves to edly embraces our right to life, liberty, and
in a new, naturalistic, empirical, non- the pursuit of happiness. (pp. 270–271)
churchly sense. (pp. iii–iv)
Maslow lived to see Anthony J. Sutich (1907–
1976), who was also a founding editor of the Journal Carl Rogers
of Humanistic Psychology, found the Journal of Carl Rogers (1902–1987) was born on January 8
Transpersonal Psychology in 1969. Maslow’s “The in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, and
Farther Reaches of Human Nature” appeared as was the fourth of six children. He was closer to
the lead article in the new journal. (This article his mother than to his father, who was a successful
should not be confused with the book of readings civil engineer and was often away from home. In
published posthumously [1971] with the same title.) the affluent suburb of Oak Park, Rogers attended
Transpersonal psychology has much in common school with Ernest Hemingway and the children
with non-Western psychologies, philosophies, and of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
religions. For example, all recognize meditation as a Rogers described his family as closely knit and
way of getting in touch with the higher states of highly religious. Friendships outside the family
consciousness. Many interested in the occult and in were discouraged:
parapsychology have been attracted to humanistic
psychology and especially to transpersonal psychol- I think the attitudes toward persons outside
ogy. Perhaps because these topics are generally our large family can be summed up sche-
viewed as outside the realm of science, the APA matically in this way: Other persons be-
has thus far denied petitions to create a division of have in dubious ways which we do not
transpersonal psychology. approve in our family. Many of them play

Wisconsin in 1919, he chose to study agriculture.

In his early years in college, Rogers was very active
in church activities, and in 1922 he was selected to
attend the World Student Christian Federation
Conference in Peking (Beijing), China. During this
six-month trip, Rogers, for the first time, experi-
enced people of different cultures with different
religions. Rogers wrote to his parents declaring his
independence from their conservative religion, and
almost immediately he developed an ulcer that
caused him to be hospitalized for several weeks.
Upon returning to the University of
Wisconsin, Rogers changed his major from agricul-
ture to history. He received his bachelor’s degree in
1924. Shortly after graduation, he married his child-
© Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS

hood sweetheart, Helen Elliott, with whom he

eventually had two children. Soon after their mar-
riage, Carl and Helen moved to New York, where
he enrolled in the liberal Union Theological
Seminary while also taking courses in psychol-
ogy and education at neighboring Columbia
Carl Rogers
University. After two years at the seminary,
cards, go to movies, smoke, drink, and Rogers’s doubts about whether the religious ap-
engage in other activities—some unmen- proach was the most effective way of helping peo-
tionable. So the best thing to do is to be ple caused him to transfer to Columbia University
tolerant of them, since they may not know on a full-time basis; there he earned his master’s
better, and to keep away from any close degree in clinical psychology in 1928 and his doc-
communication with them and live your torate in 1931. His dissertation concerned the mea-
life within the family. (Rogers, 1973, p. 3) surement of personality adjustment in children.
After obtaining his doctorate, Rogers went to
Not surprisingly, Rogers was a loner in school work for the Child Study Department of the
and, like Maslow, took refuge in books, reading Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
everything that he could get his hands on, including in Rochester, New York, where he had served as a
encyclopedias and dictionaries. When Rogers was fellow while working toward his doctorate. Rogers
12 years old, he and his family moved to a farm 25 had several experiences there that caused him to
miles west of Chicago. The purpose of the move develop his own brand of psychotherapy. For ex-
was to provide a more wholesome and religious ample, the society was dominated by therapists
atmosphere for the family. Because his father in- trained in the psychoanalytic tradition, people
sisted that the farm be run scientifically, Rogers who saw their job as gaining an “insight” into the
developed an intense interest in science, reading cause of a problem and then sharing that insight
everything he could about agricultural experiments. with the client. At first, Rogers followed this pro-
Rogers maintained this interest in science through- cedure. In one case, he concluded that a mother’s
out his career, although he worked in one of psy- rejection of her son was the cause of the son’s de-
chology’s more subjective areas. When Rogers linquent behavior, but his attempts to share this
graduated from high school, he intended to become insight with the mother failed completely. Rogers
a farmer; and when he entered the University of (1961) described what happened next:
592 CHAPTER 18

Finally I gave up. I told her that it seemed as had been the case with the psychoanalysts; for
we had both tried, but we had failed. … Rogers, people seeking help were “clients.”
She agreed. So we concluded the inter- Gendlin (1988) said that Rogers’s proposed alterna-
view, shook hands, and she walked to the tive to psychoanalysis was nothing less than a “war
door of the office. Then she turned and against monolithic authority” (p. 127).
asked, “Do you take adults for counseling As part of the war effort, in 1944 Rogers took a
here?” When I replied in the affirmative, leave from Ohio State to become director of
she said, “Well then, I would like some counseling services for the United Services
help.” She came to the chair she had left, Organization in New York. After one year,
and began to pour out her despair about Rogers moved to the University of Chicago as pro-
her marriage, her troubled relationship fessor of psychology and director of counseling. It
with her husband, her sense of failure and was during his 12-year stay at Chicago that Rogers
confusion, all very different from the sterile wrote what many consider to be his most important
“Case History” she had given before. Real work, Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice,
therapy began then. Implications, and Theory (1951). This book marked
This incident was one of a number a change in Rogers’s approach to psychology.
which helped me to experience that fact— Originally, his approach was called nondirective,
only fully realized later—that it is the client believing that in a positive therapeutic atmosphere
who knows what hurts, what directions to clients would solve their problems automatically.
go, what problems are crucial, what ex- Therapy became client-centered when Rogers re-
periences have been deeply buried. It be- alized that the therapist had to make an active at-
gan to occur to me that unless I had a need tempt to understand and accept a client’s subjective
to demonstrate my own cleverness and reality before progress could be made. It was also at
learning, I would do better to rely upon Chicago that Rogers and his colleagues engaged in
the client for the direction of movement in the first attempt to objectively measure the effec-
the process. (pp. 11–12) tiveness of psychotherapy.
To measure therapy’s effectiveness, Rogers
It was while Rogers was employed by the used a method called the Q-technique (also called
Child Study Department that he wrote his first the Q-sort technique) created by the British-trained
book, The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child researcher William Stephenson (1953). Rogers’s
(1939), and its publication led to an offer of an version of the technique involved having clients
academic position at Ohio State University. describe themselves as they were at the moment
Rogers was reluctant to leave the clinical setting, (real self) and then as they would like to become
but when Ohio State agreed to start him at the (ideal self). The two selves were measured in such a
rank of full professor, he decided, at the age of way as to allow the correlation between them to be
38, to begin a new career in the academic world. determined. Typically, when therapy begins, the
At Ohio, Rogers communicated his own ideas con- correlation between the two selves is very low,
cerning the therapeutic process in his now famous but if therapy is effective it becomes higher. That
Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in is, the real self becomes more similar to the ideal
Practice (1942). It is widely believed that this book self. Using this technique, a therapist can determine
described the first major alternative to psychoanaly- the effectiveness of his or her procedures at any
sis. Rogers’s approach to psychotherapy was con- point during, or after, therapy (see, for example,
sidered revolutionary because it eliminated the Rogers, 1954; Rogers and Dymond, 1955).
needs for diagnosis, a search for the causes of dis- In 1957 Rogers returned to the University of
turbances, and any type of labeling of disorders. He Wisconsin, where he held the dual position of pro-
also refused to call disturbed individuals “patients,” fessor of psychology and professor of psychiatry, and

he did much to resolve differences between the two Like Maslow, Rogers postulated an innate hu-
disciplines. In 1963 Rogers joined the Western man drive toward self-actualization, and if people
Behavioral Sciences Institute (WBSI) in La Jolla, use this actualizing tendency as a frame of reference in
California. At WBSI Rogers became increasingly in- living their lives, there is a strong likelihood that
terested in encounter groups and sensitivity training they will live fulfilling lives and ultimately reach
and less interested in individual therapy. Toward the their full potential. Such people are said to be living
end of his life, he also became interested in promot- according to the organismic valuing process.
ing world peace. In 1968 Rogers and 75 of his col- Using this process, a person approaches and main-
leagues resigned from WBSI and formed the Center tains experiences that are in accord with the actual-
for the Studies of the Person, also in La Jolla. There, izing tendency but terminates and avoids those that
Rogers continued to work with encounter groups, are not. Such a person is motivated by his or
but he expanded his interests in education and inter- her own true feelings and is living what the exis-
national politics. In 1985 he organized the Vienna tentialists call an authentic life—that is, a life moti-
Peace Project, which brought leaders from 13 coun- vated by a person’s true inner feelings rather than
tries together, and in 1986 he conducted peace mores, beliefs, traditions, values, or conventions im-
workshops in Moscow. Rogers continued to work posed by others. Here we see Rogers restating the
on these and other projects until his death on belief of the ancient Cynics and of Rousseau in the
February 4, 1987, from cardiac arrest following sur- primacy of personal feelings as guides for action. In
gery for a broken hip. the following quotation (Rogers, 1961), we see a
Rogers received many honors. He served as strong similarity among ancient Cynicism,
president of the APA in 1946–1947, and in 1956 Rousseau’s romantic philosophy, and Rogers’s hu-
he was a corecipient, along with Kenneth Spence manistic psychology:
and Wolfgang Köhler, of the first Distinguished One of the basic things which I was a long
Scientific Contribution Award from the APA. time in realizing, and which I am still
The latter award moved Rogers to tears because learning, is that when an activity feels as
he believed that his fellow psychologists had viewed though it is valuable or worth doing, it is
his work as unscientific: “My voice choked and the worth doing. Put another way, I have
tears flowed when I was called forth … to receive learned that my total organismic sensing of
[the award]” (Rogers, 1974, p. 117). In 1972 a situation is more trustworthy than my
Rogers received the Distinguished Professional intellect.
Contribution Award from the APA, making him All of my professional life I have been
the first person in the history of the APA to receive going in directions which others thought
both the Distinguished Scientific and Professional were foolish, and about which I have had
Contribution Awards. many doubts myself. But I have never re-
gretted moving in directions which “felt
Rogers’s Theory of Personality. At the urging right,” even though I have often felt lonely
of others, Rogers developed a theory of personality or foolish at the time. … Experience is for
to account for the phenomena he had observed me, the highest authority. … Neither the
during the therapeutic process. The rudiments of Bible nor the prophets—neither Freud nor
his theory were first presented in his APA presiden- research—neither the revelations of God
tial address (Rogers, 1947) and then expanded in his nor man—can take precedence over my
Client-Centered Therapy (1951). The most complete own experience. (pp. 22–24)
statement of his theory was in a chapter titled “A
Theory of Therapy, Personality, and Interpersonal Unfortunately, according to Rogers, most peo-
Relationships, as Developed in the Client-Centered ple do not live according to their innermost feelings
Framework” (Rogers, 1959). (the organismic valuing process). A problem arises
594 CHAPTER 18

because of our childhood need for positive re- psychologically adjusted, and would be fully
gard. Positive regard involves receiving such things functioning. (Rogers, 1959, p. 224)
as love, warmth, sympathy, and acceptance from
the relevant people in a child’s life. If positive re- When conditions of worth replace the organis-
gard is given freely to a child, no problem will arise, mic valuing process as a guide for living, the person
but usually it is not freely given. Instead parents (or becomes incongruent. What Rogers called an in-
other relevant people) give children positive regard congruent person is essentially the same as what
only if they act or think in certain ways. This sets up the existentialists call an inauthentic person. In both
conditions of worth. The children soon learn that cases, the person is no longer true to his or her own
in order to receive love, they must act and think in feelings. Rogers viewed incongruency as the cause
accordance with the values of the relevant people in of mental disorders, and he believed therefore that
their lives. Gradually, as the children internalize the goal of psychotherapy is to help people over-
those values, the values replace the organismic val- come conditions of worth and again live in accor-
uing process as a guide for living life. As long as dance with their organismic valuing processes.
people live their lives according to someone else’s Rogers (1959) described this goal as follows:
values instead of their own true feelings, experience
will be edited, and certain experiences that would This, as we see it, is the basic estrangement in
have been in accord with the organismic valuing man. He has not been true to himself, to his
process will be denied: own natural organismic valuing of experi-
ence, but for the sake of preserving the pos-
In order to hold the love of a parent, the itive regard of others has now come to falsify
child introjects as his own values and per- some of the values he experiences and to
ceptions which he does not actually ex- perceive them only in terms based upon their
perience. He then denies to awareness the value to others. Yet this has not been a con-
organismic experiencings that contradict scious choice, but a natural—and tragic—
these introjections. Thus, his self-concept development in infancy. The path of devel-
contains false elements that are not based opment toward psychological maturity, the
on what he is, in his experiencing. path of therapy, is the undoing of this
(Rogers, 1966, p. 192) estrangement in man’s functioning, the dis-
solving of conditions of worth, the achieve-
According to Rogers, there is only one way to
ment of a self which is congruent with
avoid imposing conditions of worth on people, and
experience, and the restoration of a unified
that is to give them unconditional positive regard.
organismic valuing process as the regulator of
With unconditional positive regard, people are
behavior. (pp. 226–227)
loved and respected for what they truly are; there-
fore, there is no need for certain experiences to be
When people are living in accordance with
denied or distorted. Only someone who experi-
their organismic valuing process, they are fully
ences unconditional positive regard can become a
functioning. The fully functioning person embraces
fully functioning person:
life in much the same way as Maslow’s self-
If an individual should experience only un- actualizing person does.
conditional positive regard, then no conditions Rogers fully appreciated the fact that human
of worth would develop, self-regard would growth can be facilitated by relationships other
be unconditional, the needs for positive re- than that between therapist and client. Rogers
gard and self-regard would never be at vari- (1980) described the conditions that must charac-
ance with organismic evaluation, and the in- terize any relationship if that relationship is going to
dividual would continue to be facilitate personal growth:

There are three conditions that must be simply as humanistic psychology. The following is
present in order for a climate to be growth a list of beliefs shared by existential and humanistic
promoting. These conditions apply psychology:
whether we are speaking of the relation- ■ Humans have a free will and are therefore re-
ship between therapist and client, parent
sponsible for their actions.
and child, leader and group, teacher and
student, or administrator and staff. The ■ The most appropriate method by which to
conditions apply, in fact, in any situation in study humans is phenomenology, the study of
which the development of the person is a intact subjective experience.
goal. … The first element could be called ■ To be understood, the human must be studied
genuineness, realness, or congruence. … as a whole. Elementism of any type gives a
The second attitude of importance in distorted view of human nature.
creating a climate for change is acceptance, ■ Humans are unique, and therefore anything
or caring, or prizing—what I have called
learned about other animals is irrelevant to the
“unconditional positive regard.”… The third
understanding of humans.
facilitative aspect of the relationship is em-
pathic understanding. … This kind of sensi- ■ Each human is unique, therefore, anything
tive, active listening is exceedingly rare in learned about one human is irrelevant to the
our lives. We think we listen, but very understanding of others.
rarely do we listen with real understanding, ■ Hedonism is not a major motive in human
true empathy. Yet listening, of this very behavior. Instead of seeking pleasure and
special kind, is one of the most potent avoiding pain, humans seek meaningful lives
forces for change that I know. [italics characterized by personal growth.
added] (pp. 115–116) ■ Living an authentic life is better than living an
Rogers’s person-centered psychology has been inauthentic one.
applied to such diverse areas as religion, medicine, ■ Because they possess unique attributes such as
law enforcement, ethnic and cultural relations, pol- free will, humans cannot be effectively studied
itics, and international conflict, as well as organiza- using traditional scientific methodology.
tional development (Levant and Schlien, 1984); Perhaps humans can be studied objectively, but
education (Rogers, 1969, 1983); marriage to do so would require the creation of a new,
(Rogers, 1972); personal power (Rogers, 1977); uniquely human science.
and the future (Rogers, 1980).
We will have more to say about Rogers’s con- The major difference between existential and
tributions to professional psychology in Chapter 21. humanistic psychology lies in their assumptions
about human nature. The humanists assume that
humans are basically good, and therefore, if placed
in a healthy environment, they will naturally live a
COMPARISON OF life in harmony with other humans. For humanists
the major motivation in life is the actualizing ten-
dency, which is innate and which continually drives
HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY a person toward those activities and events condu-
cive to self-actualization. The existentialists, on the
Existential and humanistic psychology have enough other hand, view human nature as essentially neu-
in common to cause them often to be lumped to- tral. For them, the only thing we are born with is
gether as “existential-humanistic psychology” or the freedom to choose the nature of our existence.
596 CHAPTER 18

This is what Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) meant does not dwell as much on the meaning of death in
by his famous statement “Existence precedes human existence. For additional discussion of the
essence.” For Sartre and most existential philoso- differences between existential philosophy and hu-
phers, there is no human essence at birth. We are manistic psychology, see DeCarvalho (1990).
free to choose our own essence as a unique human In Chapter 21 we will note the similarities be-
being. We become our choices: “Man is nothing tween third-force psychology and contemporary
else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first postmodernism.
principle of existentialism” (Sartre, 1957, p. 15).
We can exercise our freedom to create any type
of life we wish, either good or bad. The major Evaluation
motive in life, according to the existentialist, is to Modern humanistic psychology began as a protest
create meaning by effectively making choices. Many movement against behaviorism and psychoanalysis.
existential thinkers have reached the conclusion Behaviorism saw too much similarity between
that without meaning, life is not worth living, but humans and other animals. The protesters con-
that with meaning, humans can tolerate almost any tended that behaviorism concentrated on trivial
conditions. Frankl quoted Nietzsche as saying, “He types of behavior and ignored or minimized the
who has a why to live can bear with almost any mental and emotional processes that make humans
how” (1946/1984, p. 12). Frankl maintained that unique. Psychoanalysis focused on abnormal indivi-
there is only one motivational force for humans, duals and emphasized unconscious or sexual moti-
and that is what he called the “will to meaning” vation while ignoring healthy individuals whose
(1946/1984, p. 121). primary motives included personal growth and the
Generally, the view of human nature the hu- improvement of society. Humanistic psychologists
manists hold causes them to be optimistic about criticized scientific psychology in general because it
humans and their future. If societies could be modeled itself after the physical sciences by assum-
made compatible with our nature, they say, humans ing determinism and seeking lawfulness among clas-
could live together in peace and harmony. The ex- ses of events. Scientific psychology also viewed in-
istentialists are more pessimistic. For them, humans dividual uniqueness, something that was very
have no built-in guidance system but only the free- important to humanistic psychology, as a nuisance;
dom to choose. Because we are free, we cannot only general laws were of interest. Also, because
blame God, our parents, genetics, or circumstances science and reliable measurement went hand in
for our misfortune—only ourselves. This responsi- hand, scientific psychology excluded many impor-
bility often makes freedom more of a curse than a tant human attributes from study simply because of
blessing, and people often choose not to exercise the difficulty of measuring them. Processes such as
their freedom by conforming to values that others willing, valuing, and seeking meaning are examples
have formulated. In his famous book Escape from of such attributes, as are such emotions as love,
Freedom (1941), Erich Fromm (1900–1980) said guilt, despair, happiness, and hope.
that often the first thing people do when they rec-
ognize their freedom is attempt to escape from it by
affiliating themselves with someone or something Criticisms
that will reduce or eliminate their choices.
It should come as no surprise that humanistic psy-
Another important difference between existen-
chology itself has been criticized. Each of the fol-
tial and humanistic psychologists is that for the
lowing has been offered as one of its weaknesses:
existentialist, the realization that one’s death is in-
evitable is extremely important. Before a rich, full ■ Humanistic psychology equates behaviorism
life is possible, one must come to grips with the fact with the work of Watson and Skinner. Both
that one’s life is finite. The humanistic psychologist men stressed environmental events as the causes

of human behavior and denied the importance theory in studying human behavior is, at best,
of mental events. Other behaviorists, however, regressive.
stress both mental events and purpose in their ■ Many of the terms and concepts that human-
analysis of behavior—for example, McDougall istic psychologists use are so nebulous that they
and Tolman. defy clear definition and verification. There is
■ Humanistic psychology overlooks the cumu- even confusion over the definition of human-
lative nature of science by insisting that scien- istic psychology. After searching for a definition
tific psychology does not care about the loftier of humanistic psychology in the Journal of
human attributes. The problem is that we are Humanistic Psychology, in various books on hu-
not yet prepared to study such attributes. One manistic psychology, and in the programs of
must first learn a language before one can the Division of Humanistic Psychology of the
compose poetry. The type of scientific psy- APA, Michael Wertheimer (1978) reached the
chology that humanistic psychologists criticize following conclusion:
provides the basis for the future study of more
complex human characteristics. It is hard to quarrel with such goals as au-
■ The description of humans that humanistic thenticity, actualizing the potential inher-
psychologists offer is like the more favorable ent in every human being, creating truly
ones found through the centuries in poetry, meaningful human relationships, being
literature, or religion. It represents a type of fully in touch with our innermost feelings,
wishful thinking that is not supported by the and expanding our awareness. But what,
facts that more objective psychology has accu- really, is humanistic psychology? To para-
mulated. We should not ignore facts just be- phrase an old Jewish joke, if you ask two
cause they are not to our liking. humanists what humanistic psychology is,
you are likely to get at least three mutually
■ Humanistic psychology criticizes behaviorism, incompatible definitions.… It is highly
psychoanalysis, and scientific psychology in unlikely that an explicit definition of [hu-
general, but all three have made significant manistic psychology] could be written that
contributions to the betterment of the human would satisfy even a small fraction of the
condition. In other words, all three have done people who call themselves “humanistic
the very thing that humanistic psychology sets psychologists.” (pp. 739, 743)
as one of its major goals.
■ If humanistic psychology rejects traditional
scientific methodology as a means of evaluating Contributions
propositions about humans, what is to be used To be fair to humanistic psychologists, it must be
in its place? If intuition or reasoning alone is to pointed out that they usually do not complain that
be used, this enterprise should not be referred behaviorism, psychoanalysis, and scientific psychol-
to as psychology but would be more accurately ogy have made no contributions to the understand-
labeled philosophy or even religion. The hu- ing of humans. Rather, their claim has been that
manistic approach to studying humans is often behaviorism and psychoanalysis tell only part of
characterized as a throwback to psychology’s the story and that perhaps some important human
prescientific past. attributes cannot be studied using the traditional
■ By rejecting animal research, humanistic psy- methods and assumptions of science. As William
chologists are turning their backs on an ex- James said, if existing methods are ineffective for
tremely valuable source of knowledge about studying certain aspects of human nature, it is not
humans. Not to use the insights of evolutionary those aspects of human nature that are to be
598 CHAPTER 18

discarded but the methods. Humanistic psycholo- Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) describe
gists do not want to discard scientific inquiry; they what positive psychology has in common with tra-
want to expand our conception of science so that ditional humanistic psychology and what makes it
scientific inquiry can be used to study the higher different:
human attributes.
[The purpose of positive psychology] is to
The expansion of psychology’s domain is hu-
remind our field that psychology is not just
manistic psychology’s major contribution to the
the study of pathology, weakness, and
discipline. In psychology, there is now an increased
damage; it is also the study of strength and
tendency to study the whole person. We are con-
virtue. Treatment is not just fixing what is
cerned with not only how people learn, think, and
broken; it is nurturing what is best.
mature biologically and intellectually but also how
Psychology is not just a branch of medi-
people formulate plans to attain future goals and
cine concerned with illness or health; it is
why people laugh, cry, and create meaning in their
much larger. It is about work, education,
lives. In the opinion of many, the humanistic para-
insight, love, growth, and play. And in this
digm has breathed new life into psychology.
quest for what is best, positive psychology
Recently, a field called positive psychology has
does not rely on wishful thinking, faith,
developed that, like traditional humanistic psychol-
self-deception, fads, or hand waving; it
ogy, explores positive human attributes. However,
tries to adapt what is best in the scientific
according to Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000),
method to the unique problems that hu-
although the aspirations of humanistic psychology
man behavior presents to those who wish
were admirable, its accomplishments typically were
to understand it in all its complexity. (p. 7)
Unfortunately, humanistic psychology did Both positive psychologists and the earlier hu-
not attract much of a cumulative empirical manistic psychologists agree that mental health is
base, and it spawned myriad therapeutic more than the absence of mental illness. Currently,
self-help movements. In some of its in- the term flourishing is used to describe people who
carnations, it emphasized the self and en- are not only free from mental illness but, more im-
couraged a self-centeredness that played portantly, are filled with vitality and are functioning
down concerns for collective well-being. optimally in their personal and social lives. Keyes
Future debate will determine whether this (2007, p. 95) estimates that only one fifth of the
came about because Maslow and Rogers U.S. adult population is flourishing. A major goal
were ahead of their times, because these of positive psychology is to increase that number,
flaws were inherent in their original vision, and the earlier humanistic psychologists would no
or because of overly enthusiastic followers. doubt support that goal. In fact, the characteristics
However, one legacy of the humanism of of flourishing individuals are essentially the same as
the 1960s is prominently displayed in any those thought by Maslow to characterize self-
large bookstore: The “psychology” section actualizing individuals or those thought by Rogers
contains at least 10 shelves on crystal to characterize fully functioning individuals.
healing, aromatherapy, and reaching the For additional information on positive psychol-
inner child for every shelf of books that ogy, see Aspinwall and Staudinger, 2003; Firestone,
tries to uphold some scholarly standard. Firestone, and Catlett, 2003; Fowers, 2005; Keyes,
(p. 7) 2007; Keyes and Haidt, 2003; Lopez and Snyder,
2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, and Peterson, 2005.


The 1960s were troubled times in the United or unattractive, and so on. It is up to each person
States, and a group of psychologists emerged who to make the most of his or her life no matter what
believed that behaviorism and psychoanalysis, the the circumstances. Positive growth occurs when a
two major forces in psychology at the time, were person explores possibilities for living through his or
neglecting important aspects of human existence. her choices. Choosing, however, requires entering
What was needed was a third force that emphasized the unknown, and this causes anxiety. For
the positive, creative, and emotional side of hu- Heidegger then, exercising one’s freedom requires
mans. This third-force psychology is a combination courage, but only by exercising one’s freedom can
of existential philosophy and romantic notions of one live an authentic life—a life that the person
humans; the combination is called humanistic psy- chooses and therefore a life for which the person
chology, as well as third-force psychology. is completely responsible. If a person lives his or her
Humanistic psychologists are phenomenologists. life in accordance with other people’s values, he or
In modern times, Brentano and Husserl developed she is living an inauthentic life. For Heidegger the
phenomenology, which is the study of intact, con- first step toward living an authentic life is to come
scious experiences as they occur and without any to grips with the inevitability of death (nonbeing).
preconceived notions about the nature of those ex- Once a person comprehends and deals with fini-
periences. According to Brentano, all conscious acts tude, he or she can proceed to live a rich, full,
intend (refer to) something outside themselves. An authentic life.
example is the statement “I see that girl.” Husserl Binswanger applied Heidegger’s philosophical
thought that a careful, objective study of mental ideas to psychiatry and psychology. Binswanger called
phenomena could provide a bridge between philos- his approach to psychotherapy Daseinanalysis, or the
ophy and science. Besides the type of phenomenol- study of a person’s approach to being-in-the-world.
ogy that focuses on intentionality, Husserl proposed Binswanger divided Dasein into the Umwelt (the
a second type, a pure phenomenology that studies physical world), the Mitwelt (the social world), and
the essence of subjective experience. Thus, for the Eigenwelt (the person’s self-perceptions).
Husserl, phenomenology could study the mind According to Binswanger, each person embraces life’s
turned outward or turned inward. experiences through a Weltanschauung, or world-
As used by existentialists, phenomenology be- design, which is a general orientation toward life.
came a study of the totality of human existence. Binswanger attempted to understand his patients’
Such a study focuses on the full range of human world-designs; if a patient’s world-design was proving
cognitive and emotional experience, including anx- to be ineffective, he would suggest alternative, poten-
iety, dread, fear, joy, guilt, and anguish. Husserl’s tially more effective ones. Like Heidegger,
student Heidegger expanded phenomenology into Binswanger believed that the circumstances into
existential inquiry. Heidegger studied Dasein, or which one was thrown place limits on personal free-
being-in-the-world. Dasein means “to be there”; dom. Thrownness creates what Binswanger called the
but for humans “to be there” means “to exist ground of existence from which one has to begin the
there,” and existence is a complex process involving process of becoming by exercising one’s freedom.
the interpretation and the evaluation of one’s ex- According to Binswanger, each person attempts to
periences and making choices regarding those rise above his or her ground of existence and to attain
experiences. Heidegger believed that although hu- being-beyond-the-world—that is, to rise above cur-
mans have a free will, they are thrown by events rent circumstances by transforming them through free
beyond their control into their life circumstances. choice.
Thrownness determines such things as whether a May was primarily responsible for bringing ex-
person is male or female, rich or poor, attractive istential psychology to the United States. Like the
600 CHAPTER 18

other existential psychologists, May believed that would create a role for his client to play that was
normal, healthy living involves the experience of distinctly different from the client’s personality. By
anxiety because living an authentic life necessitates offering the client support and help in playing his or
venturing into the unknown. If a person cannot her role, Kelly became a supporting actor and helped
cope with normal anxiety, he or she will develop the client to view himself or herself differently. Once
neurotic anxiety and will be driven from an au- the client saw that there were alternative ways of
thentic life to a life of conformity or to a life that viewing one’s self, one’s life, and one’s problems, im-
is overly restrictive. Furthermore, because the per- provement often resulted. According to Kelly, neu-
son with neurotic anxiety is not exercising his or rotics have lost their ability to “make-believe,” and it
her human capacity to choose, he or she experi- is the therapist’s task to restore it. Kelley’s fixed-role
ences guilt. Thus, an authentic life is characterized therapy can be seen as an early version of narrative
by normal anxiety and guilt and an inauthentic life therapy.
by neurotic anxiety and guilt. May believed that According to Maslow, usually considered the
healthy people embrace myths that provide a sense founder of third-force psychology, human needs
of identity and community, support moral values, are arranged in a hierarchy. If one satisfactorily
and provide a way of dealing with the mysteries of meets the physiological, safety, belonging and
life. People without such myths feel isolated and love, and esteem needs, then one is in position to
fearful and often seek professional help. By analyz- become self-actualized. Leading a life characterized
ing the effectiveness of the stories by which people by fullness, spontaneity, and creativity, the self-
live, narrative therapy reflects May’s belief in the actualizing person is being-motivated rather than
pragmatic value of myths. According to May, myths deficiency-motivated. That is, because this person
often reflect the daimonic, which is the potential of has met the basic needs, he or she does not need
any human attribute or function to become nega- to seek specific things in the environment. Rather,
tive if it is expressed excessively. May believed the he or she can embrace the world fully and openly
most unique aspects of humans elude traditional and ponder the higher values of life. Toward the
scientific methodology and, therefore, if humans end of his life, Maslow proposed fourth-force or
are to be studied scientifically, a new human science transpersonal psychology, which explores a person’s
will need to be created. relationship to the universe and emphasized the
Kelly, who was not trained as a clinical psy- mystical and spiritual aspects of human nature.
chologist, tried a number of approaches to helping Rogers concluded that the only way to under-
emotionally disturbed individuals. He found that stand a person is to determine how that person
anything that caused his clients to view themselves views things—that is, to determine that person’s
and their problems differently resulted in improve- subjective reality. This view resulted in Rogers’s
ment. Because of this observation, Kelly concluded famous client-centered therapy, which was the first
that mental problems are really perceptual pro- major therapeutic alternative to psychoanalysis.
blems, and he maintained that humans are free to Rogers was also the first clinician to attempt to
construe themselves and the world in any way they quantify the effectiveness of therapy. He did this
choose. They do this by creating a construct system by employing the Q-technique (or Q-sort tech-
that is, or should be, tested empirically. Any num- nique), which allows the comparison between a
ber of constructs can be used to construe any situa- person’s real self and his or her ideal self at various
tion. That is, one can always view the world in a points during the therapeutic process. Like Maslow,
variety of ways, so how one views it is a matter of Rogers postulated an innate actualizing tendency.
personal choice. Like Vaihinger, Kelly encouraged For this actualizing tendency to be realized, one
propositional thinking—experimentation with ideas has to use the organismic valuing process as a frame
to see where they lead. In fixed-role therapy, Kelly of reference in living one’s life; that is, one has to
had his clients write a self-characterization; then, he use one’s own inner feelings in determining the

value of various experiences. If one lives according Watson and Skinner and thereby ignoring the
to one’s organismic valuing process, one is a fully work of other behaviorists who stressed the impor-
functioning person and is living an authentic life. tance of mental events and goal-directed behavior,
Unfortunately, because humans have a need for for failing to understand that psychology’s scientific
positive regard, they often allow the relevant peo- efforts must first concentrate on the simpler aspects
ple in their lives to place conditions of worth on of humans before it can study the more complex
them. When conditions of worth replace the or- aspects, for offering a description of humans more
ganismic valuing process as a frame of reference positive than the facts warrant, for minimizing or
for living one’s life, the person becomes incongru- ignoring the positive contributions of behaviorism
ent and lives an inauthentic life. According to and psychoanalysis, for suggesting methods of in-
Rogers, the only way to prevent incongruency is quiry that go back to psychology’s prescientific his-
for the person to receive unconditional positive re- tory, for having more in common with philosophy
gard from the relevant people in his or her life. and religion than with psychology, for overlooking
Existential and humanistic psychology share the a valuable source of information by rejecting the
following beliefs: humans possess a free will and are validity of animal research, and for using terms
therefore responsible for their actions; phenome- and concepts so nebulous as to defy clear definition
nology is the most appropriate method for studying or verification. Humanistic psychology’s major
humans; humans must be studied as whole beings contribution has been to expand psychology’s do-
and not divided up in any way; because humans are main by urging that all aspects of humans be inves-
unique as a species, animal research is irrelevant to tigated and that psychology’s conception of science
an understanding of humans; no two humans are be changed to allow objective study of uniquely
alike; the search for meaning is the most important human attributes. Recently the field of positive
human motive; all humans should aspire to live au- psychology has emerged, studying positive human
thentic lives; and, because humans are unique, tra- attributes but doing so in a manner more scientifi-
ditional scientific methodology cannot be used ef- cally rigorous and less self-centered than was often
fectively to study them. The major difference the case with traditional humanistic psychology.
between existential and humanistic psychology is However, both traditional humanistic psychology
that the former views human nature as neutral and positive psychology insist that mental health is
whereas the latter views it as basically good. more than the absence of mental illness. Both de-
According to existential psychologists, because we scribe the truly healthy person as living an exciting,
do not have an innate nature or guidance system, meaningful life. Whereas positive psychologists re-
we must choose our existence. Existential psychol- fer to such a person as flourishing, traditional hu-
ogists see freedom as a curse as well as a blessing and manistic psychologists had referred to him or her as
something from which most humans attempt to self-actualizing (Maslow) or as fully functioning
escape. (Rogers).
Humanistic psychology has been criticized for
equating behaviorism with the formulations of


1. What is third-force psychology? What did the 2. Describe Brentano’s phenomenology. What
third-force psychologists see as the limitations did he mean by intentionality? What did Husserl
of the other two forces? mean by pure phenomenology?
602 CHAPTER 18

3. How did Heidegger expand phenomenology? 13. What are the main tenets of humanistic
Discuss the following terms and concepts from psychology?
Heidegger’s theory: Dasein, authenticity, becom- 14. Summarize Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
ing, responsibility, and thrownness.
15. Why, according to Maslow, are self-actualizing
4. Describe Binswanger’s method of people so rare?
Daseinanalysis. Discuss the following terms and
16. List what Maslow found to be the characteris-
concepts from Binswanger’s theory: Umwelt,
tics of self-actualizing people.
Mitwelt, Eigenwelt, world-design, ground of exis-
tence, and being-beyond-the-world. 17. What is the difference between deficiency
motivation and being motivation? Give an
5. In May’s theory, what is the relationship be-
example of each.
tween anxiety and guilt? What is the difference
between normal anxiety and neurotic anxiety? 18. Describe what Maslow meant by transpersonal
or fourth-force psychology.
6. What, according to May, is the human
dilemma? 19. How did Rogers attempt to measure the ef-
fectiveness of psychotherapy?
7. For May, what functions do myths provide in
human existence? What determines the con- 20. For Rogers, what constitutes an incongruent
tent of classical myths? Are some myths better person? In your answer, include a discussion of
than others? the organismic valuing process, the need for
positive regard, and conditions of worth.
8. Describe the relationship between May’s belief
in the importance of myth in living one’s life 21. According to Rogers, what is the only way to
and contemporary narrative therapy. avoid incongruency?
9. Describe the kind of science that May believed 22. According to Rogers, what are the three major
needs to be created in order to effectively study components of any relationship that facilitate
humans. personal growth?
10. Why did Kelly maintain that all humans are 23. What are the similarities and differences be-
like scientists? tween humanistic and existential psychology?
11. Describe Kelly’s concepts of constructive al- 24. Summarize the criticisms and contributions of
ternativism and prepositional thinking. humanistic psychology.
12. Describe Kelly’s approach to psychotherapy. 25. Compare the contemporary field of positive
What did Kelly mean when he said that psy- psychology with traditional humanistic
chological problems are perceptual problems? psychology.
What techniques did Kelly use to help his cli-
ents regain their ability to make-believe?


Coon, D. J. (2006). Abraham H. Maslow: Hoffman, E. (1988). The right to be human: A biography of
Reconnaissance for Eupsychia. In D. A. Dewsbury, Abraham Maslow. Los Angeles: Tarcher.
L. T. Benjamin Jr., & M. Wertheimer (Eds.), Inwood, M. (2000). Heidegger: A very short introduction.
Portraits of pioneers in psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 255– New York: Oxford University Press.
271). Washington, DC: American Psychological

Jankowicz, A. D. (1987). Whatever happened to George May, R. (1991). The cry for myth. New York: Norton.
Kelly? Applications and implications. American Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. Boston: Houghton
Psychologist, 42, 481–487. Mifflin.
Kelly, G. A. (1964). The language of hypotheses: Man’s Royce, J. R., & Mos, L. P. (Eds.). (1981). Humanistic
psychological instrument. Journal of Individual psychology: Concepts and criticisms. New York:
Psychology, 20, 137–152. Plenum.
Kirschenbaum, H. (1979). On becoming Carl Rogers. New Schneider, K. J. (1998). Toward a science of the heart:
York: Dell. Romanticism and the revival of psychology.
Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being (2nd American Psychologist, 53, 277–289.
ed.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000).
Maslow, A. H. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. Positive psychology: An introduction. American
New York: Penguin Books. Psychologist, 55, 5–14.
Maslow, A. H. (1987). Motivation and personality (3rd ed.).
New York: Harper & Row. (Original work pub-
lished 1954)


Anxiety The feeling that results when one confronts emotionally disturbed person is to determine how that
the unknown, as when one contemplates death or when person views himself or herself and the world. (See also
one’s choices carry one into new life circumstances. Daseinanalysis and World-design.)
According to existentialists, one cannot live an authentic Conditions of worth According to Rogers, the con-
life without experiencing anxiety. ditions that the relevant people in our lives place on us
Authentic life According to existentialists, the type of and that we must meet before these people will give us
life that is freely chosen and not dictated by the values of positive regard.
others. In such a life, one’s own feelings, values, and Construct systems According to Kelly, the collection
interpretations act as a guide for conduct. of personal constructs with which people make predic-
Becoming A characteristic of the authentic life because tions about future events.
the authentic person is always becoming something other Constructive alternativism Kelly’s notion that it is
than what he or she was. Becoming is the normal, always possible to view ourselves and the world in a
healthy psychological growth of a human being. variety of ways.
Being motivation For Maslow, the type of motivation Courage According to existentialists, that attribute
that characterizes the self-actualizing person. Because necessary for living an authentic life because such a life is
being motivation is not need-directed, it embraces the characterized by uncertainty.
higher values of human existence, such as beauty, truth,
Daimonic According to May, any human attribute or
and justice. (Also called B-motivation.)
function that in moderation is positive but in excess is
Being perception Perception that embraces fully “what negative.
is there” because it is not an attempt to locate specific items
Dasein Heidegger’s term for “being-in-the-world.”
that will satisfy needs. (Also called B-perception.)
The world does not exist without humans, and humans
Being-beyond-the-world Binswanger’s term for be- do not exist without the world. Because humans exist in
coming. The healthy individual always attempts to tran- the world, it is there that they must exercise their free
scend what he or she is. will. Being-in-the-world means existing in the world,
Binswanger, Ludwig (1881–1966) Applied and existing means interpreting and valuing one’s ex-
Heidegger’s existential philosophy to psychiatry and periences and making choices regarding those
psychology. For Binswanger a prerequisite for helping an experiences.
604 CHAPTER 18

Daseinanalysis Binswanger’s method of psychother- assumes that humans are basically good. That is, if neg-
apy that requires that the therapist understand the client’s ative environmental factors do not stifle human devel-
worldview. Daseinanalysis examines a person’s mode of opment, humans will live humane lives. Humanistic
being-in-the-world. psychology is concerned with examining the more pos-
Deficiency motivation According to Maslow, moti- itive aspects of human nature that behaviorism and psy-
vation that is directed toward the satisfaction of some choanalysis had neglected. (Also called third-force
specific need. (Also called D-motivation.) psychology.)
Eigenwelt Binswanger’s term for a person’s private, Inauthentic life A life lived in accordance with values
inner experiences. other than those freely and personally chosen. Such a life
is characterized by guilt.
Existential psychology The brand of contemporary
psychology that was influenced by existential philosophy. Incongruent person Rogers’s term for the person
The key concepts in existential psychology include whose organismic valuing process is replaced by condi-
freedom, individuality, responsibility, anxiety, guilt, tions of worth as a guide for living.
thrownness, and authenticity. Intentionality Brentano’s contention that every mental
Fixed-role therapy Kelly’s brand of therapy whereby act refers to something external to the act.
he would assign a role for his clients to play that was Jonah complex According to Maslow, the fear of one’s
distinctly different from the client’s self-characterization. own potential greatness.
With this type of therapy, the therapist acts much like a Kelly, George (1905–1967) Emphasized that it is al-
supporting actor. (See also Self-characterization.) ways possible to construe one’s self and the world in a
Flourishing According to positive psychologists, the variety of ways. For Kelly, psychological problems are
state of being free from mental illness and also living an essentially perceptual problems.
enthusiastic, meaningful, and effective life. Maslow, Abraham (1908–1970) A humanistic psy-
Ground of existence Binswanger’s term for the cir- chologist who emphasized the innate human tendency
cumstances into which a person is thrown and according toward self-actualization. Maslow contended that be-
to which he or she must make choices. (Also called haviorism and psychoanalysis provided only a partial
facticity.) (See also Thrownness.) understanding of human existence and that humanistic,
or third-force, psychology needed to be added to com-
Guilt The feeling that results most intensely from living
plete our understanding.
an inauthentic life.
May, Rollo (1909–1994) Psychologist who was in-
Heidegger, Martin (1889–1976) Expanded Husserl’s
strumental in bringing European existential philosophy
phenomenology to include an examination of the total-
and psychology to the United States.
ity of human existence.
Mitwelt Binswanger’s term for the realm of social
Hierarchy of needs Maslow’s contention that human
needs are arranged in a hierarchy and that lower needs in
the hierarchy must be adequately satisfied before atten- Narrative therapy Examines the stories by which
tion can be focused on higher needs. The most basic and people live and understand their lives and, where nec-
powerful needs in the hierarchy are physiological needs, essary, encourages the replacement of ineffective stories
and then come safety needs, needs for belonging and with effective ones.
love, and the need for self-esteem. When all lower needs Need for positive regard According to Rogers, the
in the hierarchy are adequately satisfied, a person be- need for positive responses from the relevant people in
comes self-actualizing. one’s life.
Human dilemma According to May, the paradox that Need-directed perception Perception whose purpose
results from the dual nature of humans as objects to is to locate things in the environment that will satisfy a
which things happen and as subjects who assign meaning need. (Also called deficiency perception or
to their experiences. D-perception.)
Humanistic psychology The branch of psychology Neurotic anxiety The abnormal fear of freedom that
that is closely aligned with existential psychology. Unlike results in a person living a life that minimizes personal
existential psychology, however, humanistic psychology choice.

Normal anxiety Results from living an authentic life. valuing process, Self-actualization, and
(See also Authentic life.) Unconditional positive regard.)
Ontology The study of the nature of existence. Self-actualization According to Rogers and Maslow,
Organismic valuing process According to Rogers, the innate human tendency toward wholeness. The self-
the innate, internal guidance system that a person can use actualizing person is open to experience and embraces
to “stay on the track” toward self-actualization. the higher values of human existence.
Phenomenology The introspective study of intact, Self-alienation According to existentialists, the condi-
mental experiences. tion that results when people accept values other than
Positive psychology Field in contemporary psychol- those that they attained freely and personally as guides for
ogy that explores the positive attributes of humans but living.
does so in a more scientifically rigorous and less self- Self-characterization The self-description that Kelly
centered way than was often the case with traditional required of many of his clients before beginning their
humanistic psychology. therapeutic program.
Propositional thinking According to Kelly, the ex- Shut-upness Kierkegaard’s term for the type of life
perimentation with ideas to see where they lead. lived by a defensive, inauthentic person.
Pure phenomenology The methodology proposed by Subjective reality A person’s consciousness.
Husserl to discover the essence of those mental acts and Third-force psychology See Humanistic
processes by which we gain all knowledge. psychology.
Responsibility A necessary by-product of freedom. If Thrownness According to Heidegger and Binswanger,
we are free to choose our own existence, then we are the circumstances that characterize a person’s existence
completely responsible for that existence. that are beyond the person’s control. (See also Ground
Rogers, Carl (1902–1987) A humanist psychologist of existence.)
whose nondirective and then client-centered psycho- Transpersonal psychology Maslow’s proposed fourth
therapy was seen by many as the first viable alternative to force in psychology that stresses the relationship between
psychoanalysis as a method for treating troubled indivi- the individual and the cosmos (universe) and in so doing
duals. Like Maslow’s, Rogers’s theory of personality focuses on the mystical and spiritual aspects of human
emphasized the innate tendency toward self- nature.
actualization. According to Rogers, a person continues
Umwelt Binswanger’s term for the physical world.
toward self-actualization unless his or her organismic
valuing process is displaced by conditions of worth as a Unconditional positive regard According to Rogers,
guide for living. The only way to avoid creating condi- the giving of positive regard without any preconditions.
tions of worth is to give a person unconditional positive World-design (Weltanschauung) Binswanger’s term for a
regard. (See also Conditions of worth, Organismic person’s basic orientation toward the world and life.