The only Brexit is a hard-right Tory one. Labour must back another vote | Chi Onwurah | Opinion
If Labour enables Brexit, it will also enable a Tory bonfire of workers’ rights and environmental protections, says Labour MP Chi Onwurah. A s the Labour party resumes negotiations with what can only be described as Theresa May’s faction of government, Labour members and voters across the country are increasingly concerned as to what any deal might look like – especially as the local election results are used to justify each and every option. But there is something that all of us in the Labour movement need to keep at the forefront of our minds – something substantive we have learned since the Brexit referendum.
While Brexit voters come from all classes and all political stripes and voted Brexit for many different reasons, the people driving Brexit in the Tory party have a very specific economic agenda – one that is now at the heart of these negotiations. Labour is the party of social solidarity and the Tories want Brexit because they want to destroy social solidarity in Britain. To all intents and purposes, they want to eliminate the Labour movement.
Brexit: Farage demands role in talks with EU if his party wins Euro elections – live news Read more
This is why Labour’s negotiations with May are so difficult. You would think that Labour’s Brexit bottom lines would be a welcome gift for May, delivering a Brexit the country could live with. Developed over many months by Keir Starmer and his team, with the express aim of keeping the party and the country together, Labour’s Brexit proposal is the least worst option. It enables the continued integration of supply chains, keeping business in business and invested in Britain, and avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, without resorting to the Alternative Reality Arrangements Unicorn .
The problem for May is that the Labour proposals also prevent the UK from dismantling the hard-won protections for workers and the environment that we have through our membership of the European Union. It also stops us entering into the kind of trade agreement with the United States that it has with Canada and Mexico – one that destroyed family farming in Mexico, undermining its entire economy – and put downward pressure on wages in all three countries. Opening our markets to American farming methods , as the US ambassador has called for, will destroy the small-scale farmers who give our landscape its beauty and variety.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Chesil Beach in Portland, Dorset. EU regulations have ensured Britain’s beaches are less polluted Photograph: Stuart Fretwell/Rex Features
Unsurprisingly, the Tories want Labour to accept a set of soft assurances around these issues. Trust us, we would never attack workers rights, the prime minister is saying. Trust us, we would never do a trade deal with the US that destroys British agriculture or dismantles the NHS, she is promising.
But whatever May says or believes, the reality is that her party and her likely successor wants Brexit because they want to use any future parliamentary majority to return us to the past in ways that EU membership does not allow. They want to be free to carry out trade deals that will damage British industry and rural communities.
What has the EU ever done for my … beach? Read more
So we in the Labour movement have to be tough here. We need assurances around labour rights and environmental protections that will bind the next government. Not vague personal promises from a lame duck prime minister. We must have what we said we must have: a customs union with the EU that allows British industry and British agriculture to continue to participate in European supply chains and have frictionless access to European markets.
Whatever assurances May can offer, they will not stop the hard-right Tory Brexiteers in their quest to eradicate solidarity from the UK economy. If we are to avoid the fate of Ramsay Macdonald , then any deal must be put to a vote of the people. To do otherwise would be to play either the knave or the fool – and gives Theresa May’s successor the right to decide which we have been.
• Chi Onwurah is the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Topics Brexit Opinion Article 50 European Union Foreign policy Labour Theresa May Conservatives comment
Critical Investigation regarding Sonnet 18
Critical Investigation regarding Sonnet 18 Critical Investigation regarding Sonnet 18 May 5,
The following sonnet, on the other hand, extremely maybe really should not be considered a love poetry because that Shakespeare offers obviously geared to draw in lots of focus on themselves since the poet and that their explanation regarding his / her beloved’s natural beauty would not consist of a great deal aspect. “Owe” throughout Shakespeare’s day, appeared to be at times utilized as any synonym pertaining to “own”. And summer’s book hath very brief https://www.deltacollege.edu/dept/finaid/dept/ar/catalog/cat0809/1843.htm to start a date: In conclusion is the fact that as long as the human race is always still living make sure gentlemen can read, the following sonnet is going to are living, and for that reason immortalize in excess of your poet really likes. “Shall I Compare and contrast thee into a summertime Day?” All Fiction
The addressee of your poem, the particular lyrical You actually, is often a cherished man or woman, exactly who all over the full poem can be details seeing that ‘thee?, ?thy?, ?thou?. In the actual sonnet, your lecturer demands whether your dog ought to examine the particular child to a summer’s time, nevertheless records how the kid offers qualities which go over a new summer’s day. The following composition is definitely the 18th sonnet, as well as probably the most well-known in all of the Shakespeare’s 100 in addition to 55 several sonnets. “But thy long term the summer months should not lose color,Nor eliminate having that will sensible thou ow’st,Nor can demise talk thou wander’st in their colourWhen within long term wrinkles in order to time frame thou grow’st”Shakespeare’s self-assured claim can help you believe that the goal of the actual poem was not in fact to pay for your much loved man or women some sort of go with instead for you to commend on your own regarding graceful proficiency. Throughout this kind of composition, the usage of images is visible frequently, in the intense image of a woman’s natural beauty when compared to light summer months. Within the first presentation, your poetry says that lovely issues the natural way shed his or her fanciness with time. For example, the very last words from the sonnet in each range have a rhyme sample regarding a-b-a-b. (A pair of)This more aged sense of the word with regards to The four humours. (3)The actual more mature feeling of the phrase in connection with The four humours. (1)The actual to the outside look and feel on the face rather than the sunlight (“the vision involving heaven”) in the earlier line, or (A couple of)A more aged a sense the term with regards to Some humours. (A person)The to the outside visual appeal in the experience when compared to the sun (“the attention associated with heaven”) in the previous collection, or (3)The actual old feeling of the word in terms of The four humours. (One particular)Your towards you overall look from the deal with as compared with the sunlight (“the vision with heaven”) in the last set, or (One particular)This to the outside appearance from the encounter rather than sunshine (“the vision associated with heaven”) in the earlier range, or
Shakespeare, on the other hand, points out in which their love’s elegance is greater than writingbee.com/scholarship-essay-writing-service that relating to summer time and doesn’t have got it is inclination on the way to uncomfortable two opposites: This sonnet is probably the most common from the sequence connected with Shakespeare’s sonnets; it can be the favourite lyric poetry throughout Language. Sonnet 19 is usually a normal English or maybe Shakespearean sonnet, owning 17 wrinkles of iambic pentameter: 3 quatrains then some sort of couplet. your dog answers by blogging in which that she is atbetter simply because summertime doesn’t in 2009 extended.
“And each and every sensible by honest at some time reductions,By prospect and also nature’s transforming study course untrimmed”The repeating your message ‘fair’ best parts the truth that this fate is actually inevitable to get whatever has natural beauty. The actual ninth collection deliberately shows an entire form a contrast thought: “But thy timeless Summer time will not necessarily fade” identifies the sweetness that will remain intended for eternity, and may constantly remain the high quality plus continuous existence. In the 2nd quatrain Shakespeare positions his dilemma fairly explicitly: every single beauty may lose color either unintentionally as well as from the pure length of time period: Together with the remaining couplet, “So provided that adult males may take in air plus eyes is able to see, So long life that and living in order to thee,” Shakespeare indicates his or her accurate fondness with his fantastic promise of desire for in excess of this individual really loves.
A bad of the sonnet can be quite sophisticated plus suavely affectionate, which often provides a heart-warming frame of mind for the readers. Your hyperbole additionally signifies the longevity of this poetry: provided that you’ll find folks continue to full of life to read songs this specific sonnet is going to dwell, and you should are now living in them. “So prolonged because males can easily breathe in, or perhaps face could see, Per Such a long time existence this kind of, and this offers daily life to help thee” “This” is the composition. This indicates that will Shakespeare wished to give attention to herself as opposed to on his love. Sorry, however copying text message will be forbidden on this internet site! The result is the actual rhyme design abba cdcd efefef in addition to gg. Line-Wise Analysis
“Owe” inside Shakespeare’s day, ended up being in some cases used as any replacements pertaining to “own”. Allowing you to think along with consider sensible while you’re reading her operate. The author does not give any sort of suggestions telling the guests which the poem is actually on the way to given it might be for the male and female. This rhythms will be varied together with the subtlest ability and also the beautiful line-“But thy long lasting catalog.brazosport.edu the summer months can not fade” reverberates like a cerebrovascular event with a gong. And summer’s lease contract hath very short to start dating: by the way, you actually taught me to be along with my personal preparation regarding considering the following sonnet.
The poem arises while using the poet’s whimsical problem – irrespective of whether they ought to examine his friend to your “summer’s day time.” Gradually, he asserts of which “Thou” is usually “more lovely” along with “more” continuous, and for that reason enlists many points in order to make a case for his questions. The word, “untrimmed” consistent ten, may be taken two methods: Initial, in the sense connected with loss of ornament plus extras, and secondly, in the sense connected with untrimmed sails over a mail. Through the sophisticated language and outline connected with her precious, Shakespeare shows his fulfillment to become motivated by a beautiful female. Shakespeare makes use of words and phrases for example; thou, dimm’d, untrimmm’d, wander’st along with growest. Enchanting appreciate most likely precisely what Shakespeare designed by means of offering this poetry.
Jumbo075 said: ↑ Those on this fansite who are actively campaigning against Dak Prescott being given a big money contract extension are just wasting everyone’s time. The Cowboys ARE going to give him a contract extension, and it will be a HUGE contract. That is already decided by the Jones family. They are only negotiating over how HUGE it will be, not if he will get an extension.
The Cowboys aren’t going to franchise tag Dak next year. They are going to give him a long-term deal this year, and he WILL BE the Cowboys QB for at least the next three seasons – the prime years for most of the star players on this roster. They are going to bet the farm on Dak being able to take this team to a championship soon.
What the Cowboys are NOT going to do is undermine Dak’s potential success by elevating another QB to the same level of Dak within the immediate future. So wishing for it, and campaigning for it is like listening to a nagging wife. It is just tiresome, and gets old really, really fast. Some of you are like a gaggle of nagging wives who get together to complain about their husbands at the beauty shop. I hope you have fun complaining to each other, but I don’t want to be a part of it.
I don’t claim to know if Dak will be able to achieve Championship status in Dallas. I see the same faults some of you do. But the Cowboys are committed to him, and as a fan, I’m committed to support him despite his flaws. I don’t see the point of constantly griping about his flaws. Yes, I see them. So what? Is pining for someone new going to change anything? Nope. It is a complete waste of time to do so.
So I implore the site administrators to set up a Dak Prescott chat space for ALL Dak Prescott complainers to go to to complain about Dak – kind of an online beauty parlor for the nagging nebobs of negativity to get together in a big circle jerk and pleasure each other. I can simply avoid clicking on that location, and enjoy the input of others without the constant refrain of Dak Prescott negativity. Click to expand… I agree that Dak is our QB, and I’m glad. I like Dak. He will be getting a long term deal soon. Like you, I sometimes tire of the Dak bashing.
However…I disagree with your assessment of what you call “nagging nebobs of negativity” (a phrase you somehow chose to borrow from one of history’s bottom feeders) getting together as you propose, under one administrative category. Here are some things you are suggesting that should make many here uncomfortable:
I don’t like the Dak bashing either but I would never presume one fan’s opinion is any better than another. If a Cowboys fan chooses to “hate on” Dak, so be it. If someone doesn’t like a post, they can choose not to post. The topics on these boards only live as long as people choose to post on them. I often disagree with your opinions. But I support your right to put them wherever you choose. Or anyone else. The day we set this place up with “acceptable” opinions and “unacceptable” opinions is the day we no longer have a forum. It becomes a country club with only one acceptable opinion. That’s garbage. We don’t need one group of fans deciding what’s a “real fan’s” opinion. Jumbo, you’re a great Cowboys fan. I respect that. Even when we disagree. But none of us, including you, know what is a “waste of time” and what isn’t on an opinion board. Collectively, all us will decide what opinions are better than others by the topics we choose to comment on. One of my strongest opinions on these boards is that we should spend less time telling our fellow fans what is an acceptable opinion. If you have an opinion, post it. Everyone is fully capable of deciding on their own whether they agree or not.
WordPress.com Personality Theory
In contrast to both the often dark, subconscious emphasis of the psychodynamic theorists and the somewhat cold, calculated perspectives of behavioral/cognitive theorists, the humanistic psychologists focus on each individual’s potential for personal growth and self-actualization. Carl Rogers was influenced by strong religious experiences (both in America and in China) and his early clinical career in a children’s hospital. Consequently, he developed his therapeutic techniques and the accompanying theory in accordance with a positive and hopeful perspective. Rogers also focused on the unique characteristics and viewpoint of individuals.
Abraham Maslow is best known for his extensive studies on the most salient feature of the humanistic perspective: self-actualization. He is also the one who referred to humanistic psychology as the third force, after the psychodynamic and behavioral/cognitive perspectives, and he specifically addressed the need for psychology to move beyond its study of unhealthy individuals. He was also interested in the psychology of the work place, and his recognition in the business field has perhaps made him the most famous psychologist.
Henry Murray was an enigmatic figure, who seemingly failed to properly acknowledge the woman who inspired much of his work, and who believed his life had been something of a failure. Perhaps he felt remorse as a result of maintaining an extramarital affair with the aforementioned woman, thanks in large part to the advice and help of Carl Jung! Murray extended a primarily psychodynamic perspective to the study of human needs in normal individuals. His Thematic Apperception Test was one of the first psychological tests applied outside of a therapeutic setting, and it provided the basis for studying the need for achievement (something akin to a learned form of self-actualization). Carl Rogers and Humanistic Psychology
Carl Rogers is the psychologist many people associate first with humanistic psychology, but he did not establish the field in the way that Freud established psychoanalysis. A few years older than Abraham Maslow, and having moved into clinical practice more directly, Rogers felt a need to develop a new theoretical perspective that fit with his clinical observations and personal beliefs. Thus, he was proposing a humanistic approach to psychology and, more specifically, psychotherapy before Maslow. It was Maslow, however, who used the term humanistic psychology as a direct contrast to behaviorism and psychoanalysis. And it was Maslow who contacted some friends, in 1954, in order to begin meetings that led to the creation of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology. Rogers was included in that group, but so were Erich Fromm and Karen Horney, both of whom had distinctly humanistic elements in their own theories, elements that shared a common connection to Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology (Stagner, 1988). In addition, the spiritual aspects of humanistic psychology, such as peak experiences and transcendence, have roots in the work of Carl Jung and William James, and go even further back in time to ancient philosophies of Yoga and Buddhism.
In at least one important way, Rogers’ career was similar to that of Sigmund Freud. As he began his clinical career, he found that the techniques he had been taught were not very effective. So, he began experimenting with his own ideas, and developing his own therapeutic approach. As that approach developed, so did a unique theory of personality that aimed at explaining the effectiveness of the therapy. Rogers found it difficult to explain what he had learned, but he felt quite passionately about it:
…the real meaning of a word can never be expressed in words, because the real meaning would be the thing itself. If one wishes to give such a real meaning he should put his hand over his mouth and point . This is what I should most like to do. I would willingly throw away all the words of this manuscript if I could, somehow, effectively point to the experience which is therapy. It is a process, a thing-in-itself, an experience, a relationship, a dynamic… (pp. ix; Rogers, 1951) Brief Biography of Carl Rogers
Carl Ransom Rogers was born on January 8, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were well-educated, and his father was a successful civil engineer. His parents loved their six children, of whom Rogers was the fourth, but they exerted a distinct control over them. They were fundamentalist Christians, who emphasized a close-knit family and constant, productive work, but approved of little else. The Rogers household expected standards of behavior appropriate for the ‘elect’ of God: there was no drinking of alcohol, no dancing, no visits to the theater, no card games, and little social life at all (DeCarvalho, 1991; Thorne, 2003).
Rogers was not the healthiest of children, and his family considered him to be overly sensitive. The more his family teased him, the more he retreated into a lonely world of fantasy. He sought consolation by reading books, and he was well above his grade level for reading when he began school. In 1914 the family moved to a large farm west of Chicago, a move motivated primarily by a desire to keep the children away from the temptations of suburban city life. The result was even more isolation for Rogers, who lamented that he’d only had two dates by the end of high school. He continued to learn, however, becoming something of an expert on the large moths that lived in the area. In addition, his father encouraged the children to develop their own ventures, and Rogers and his brothers raised a variety of livestock. Given these interests, and in keeping with family tradition, Rogers enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study scientific agriculture (DeCarvalho, 1991; Thorne, 2003).
During his first year of college, Rogers attended a Sunday morning group of students led by Professor George Humphrey. Professor Humphrey was a facilitative leader, who refused to be conventional and who encouraged the students to make their own decisions. Rogers found the intellectual freedom very stimulating, and he also began to make close friends. This increased intellectual and emotional energy led Rogers to re-examine his commitment to Christianity. Given his strong religious faith, he decided to change his major to history, in anticipation of a career as a Christian minister. He was fortunate to be chosen as one of only twelve students from America to attend a World Student Christian Federation conference in Peking, China. He traveled throughout China (also visiting Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, and Hawaii) for 6 months, surrounded by other intelligent and creative young people. He kept a detailed journal, and wrote lengthy letters to his family and Helen Elliott, a childhood friend whom he considered to be his “sweetheart.” His mind was stretched in all directions by this profound cross-cultural experience, and the intellectual and spiritual freedom he was embracing blinded him to the fact that his fundamentalist family was deeply disturbed by what he had to say. However, by the time Rogers was aware of his family’s disapproval, he had been changed, and he believed that people of very different cultures and faiths can all be sincere and honest (Kirschenbaum, 1995; Thorne, 2003). As a curious side note, Rogers’ roommate on the trip was a Black seminary professor. Rogers was vaguely aware that it was strange at that time for a Black man and a White man to room together, but he was particularly surprised at the stares they received from the Chinese people they met, who had never seen a Black person before (Rogers & Russell, 2002). After his return from China, Rogers graduated from college, and 2 months later he married Helen. Again his family disapproved, believing that the young couple should be more established first. But Rogers had been accepted to the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and both he and Helen wanted to be together. His family may have wanted them to wait because Union Theological Seminary was, perhaps, the most liberal seminary in America at the time (DeCarvalho, 1991; Rogers & Russell, 2002; Thorne, 2003).
Rogers spent 2 years at the seminary, including a summer assignment as the pastor of a small church in Vermont. However, his desire not to impose his own beliefs on others, made it difficult for him to preach. He began taking courses at nearby Teachers’ College of Columbia University, where he learned about clinical and educational psychology, as well as working with disturbed children. He then transferred to Teachers’ College, and after writing a dissertation in which he developed a test for measuring personality adjustment in children, he earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Then, in 1928, he began working at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (DeCarvalho, 1991; Thorne, 2003).
Rogers was immersed in his work in Rochester for 12 years. He found that even the most elaborate theories made little sense when dealing with children who had suffered severe psychological damage after traveling through the courts and the social work systems. So Rogers developed his own approach, and did his best to help them. Many of his colleagues, including the director, had no particular therapeutic orientation:
When I would try to see what I could do to alter their behavior, sometimes they would refuse to see me the next time. I’d have a hard time getting them to come from the detention home to my office, and that would cause me to think, “What is it that I did that offended the child?” Well, usually it was overinterpretation, or getting too smart in analyzing the causes of behavior…So we approached every situation with much more of a question of “What can we do to help?” rather than “What is the mysterious cause of this behavior?” or “What theory does the child fit into?” It was a very good place for learning in that it was easy to be open to experience, and there was certainly no pressure to fit into any particular pattern of thought. (pg. 108; Rogers & Russell, 2002)
Eventually Rogers wrote a book outlining his work with children, The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child (Rogers, 1939), which received excellent reviews. He was offered a professorship at Ohio State University. Beginning as a full professor gave Rogers a great deal of freedom, and he was frequently invited to give talks. It has been suggested that one such talk, in December 1940, at the University of Minnesota, entitled “Newer Concepts in Psychotherapy,” was the official birthday of client-centered therapy. Very popular with his students, Rogers was not so welcome amongst his colleagues. Rogers believed that his work was particularly threatening to those colleagues who believed that only their own expertise could make psychotherapy effective. After only 4 years, during which he published Counseling and Psychotherapy (Rogers, 1942), Rogers moved on to the University of Chicago, where he established the counseling center, wrote Client-Centered Therapy (Rogers, 1951) and contributed several chapters to Psychotherapy and Personality Change (Rogers & Dymond, 1954), and in 1956 received a Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. Then, in 1957, he accepted a joint appointment in psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin to study psychotic individuals. Rogers had serious doubts about leaving Chicago, but felt that the joint appointment would allow him to make a dramatic contribution to psychotherapy. It was a serious mistake. He did not get along with his colleagues in the psychology department, whom he considered to be antagonistic, outdated, “rat-oriented,” and distrustful of clinical psychology, and so he resigned. He kept his appointment in the psychiatry department, however, and in 1961 published perhaps his most influential book, On Becoming a Person (Rogers, 1961).
In 1963, Rogers moved to California to join the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, at the invitation of one of his former students, Richard Farson. This was a non-profit institute dedicated to the study of humanistically-oriented interpersonal relations. Rogers was leery of making another major move, but eventually agreed. He became very active in research on encounter groups and educational theory. Five years later, when Farson left the institute, there was a change in its direction. Rogers was unhappy with the changes, so he joined some colleagues in leaving and establishing the Center for Studies of the Person, where he remained until his death. In his later years, Rogers wrote books on topics such as personal power and marriage (Rogers, 1972, 1977). In 1980, he published A Way of Being (Rogers, 1980), in which he changed the terminology of his perspective from “client-centered” to “person-centered.” With the assistance of his daughter Natalie, who had studied with Abraham Maslow, he held many group workshops on life, family, business, education, and world peace. He traveled to regions where tension and danger were high, including Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Northern Ireland. In 1985 he brought together influential leaders of seventeen Central American countries for a peace conference in Austria. The day he died, February 4, 1987, without knowing it, he had just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (DeCarvalho, 1991; Kirschenbaum, 1995; Thorne, 2003).
Placing Rogers in Context: A Psychology 2,600 Years in the Making
Carl Rogers was an extraordinary individual whose approach to psychology emphasized individuality. Raised with a strong Christian faith, exposed to Eastern culture and spirituality in college, and then employed as a therapist for children, he came to value and respect each person he met. Because of that respect for the ability of each person to grow, and the belief that we are innately driven toward actualization, Rogers began the distinctly humanistic approach to psychotherapy that became known as client-centered therapy.
Taken together, client-centered therapy and self-actualization offer a far more positive approach to fostering the growth of each person than most other disciplines in psychology. Unlike the existing approaches of psychoanalysis, which aimed to uncover problems from the past, or behavior therapies, which aimed to identify problem behaviors and control or “fix” them, client-centered therapy grew out of Rogers’ simple desire to help his clients move forward in their lives. Indeed, he had been trained as a psychoanalyst, but Rogers found the techniques unsatisfying, both in their goals and their ability to help the children he was working with at the time. The seemingly hands-off approach of client-centered therapy fit well with a Taoist perspective, something Rogers had studied, discussed, and debated during his trip to China. In A Way of Being , Rogers (1980) quotes what he says is perhaps his favorite saying, one which sums up many of his deeper beliefs:
If I keep from meddling with people, they take care of themselves, If I keep from commanding people, they behave themselves, If I keep from preaching at people, they improve themselves, If I keep from imposing on people, they become themselves. Lao Tsu, c600 B.C. ; Note: This translation differs somewhat from the one cited in the References. I have included the translation Rogers quoted, since the difference likely influenced his impression of this saying.
Rogers, like Maslow, wanted to see psychology contribute far more to society than merely helping individuals with psychological distress. He extended his sincere desire to help people learn to really communicate, with empathic understanding, to efforts aimed at bringing peace to the world. On the day he died, he had just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Since a Nobel Prize cannot be awarded to someone who has died, he was not eligible to be nominated again. If he had lived a few more years, he may well have received that award. His later years were certainly committed to peace in a way that deserved such recognition. Basic Concepts
Rogers believed that each of us lives in a constantly changing private world, which he called the experiential field . Everyone exists at the center of their own experiential field, and that field can only be fully understood from the perspective of the individual. This concept has a number of important implications. The individual’s behavior must be understood as a reaction to their experience and perception of the field. They react to it as an organized whole, and it is their reality. The problem this presents for the therapist is that only the individual can really understand their experiential field. This is quite different than the Freudian perspective, in which only the trained and objective psychoanalyst can break through the defense mechanisms and understand the basis of the patient’s unconscious impulses. One’s perception of the experiential field is limited, however. Rogers believed that certain impulses, or sensations, can only enter into the conscious field of experience under certain circumstances. Thus, the experiential field is not a true reality, but rather an individual’s potential reality (Rogers, 1951).
The one basic tendency and striving of the individual is to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing of the individual or, in other words, an actualizing tendency . Rogers borrowed the term self-actualization , a term first used by Kurt Goldstein, to describe this basic striving.
The tendency of normal life is toward activity and progress. For the sick, the only form of self-actualization that remains is the maintenance of the existent state. That, however, is not the tendency of the normal…Under adequate conditions the normal organism seeks further activity. (pp. 162-163; Goldstein, 1934/1995).
For Rogers, self-actualization was a tendency to move forward, toward greater maturity and independence, or self-responsibility. This development occurs throughout life, both biologically (the differentiation of a fertilized egg into the many organ systems of the body) and psychologically (self-government, self-regulation, socialization, even to the point of choosing life goals). A key factor in understanding self-actualization is the experiential field. A person’s needs are defined, as well as limited, by their own potential for experience. Part of this experiential field is an individual’s emotions, feelings, and attitudes. Therefore, who the individual is, their actual self , is critical in determining the nature and course of their self-actualization (Rogers, 1951). We will examine Maslow’s work on self-actualization in more detail below.
What then, is the self? In Rogers’ (1951) initial description of his theory of personality, the experiential field is described in four points, the self-actualizing tendency in three points, and the remaining eleven points attempt to define the self. First and foremost, the self is a differentiated portion of the experiential field. In other words, the self is that part of our private world that we identify as “me,” “myself,” or “I.” Beyond that, the self remains somewhat puzzling. Can the self exist in isolation, outside of relationships that provide some context for the self? Must the self be synonymous with the physical body? As Rogers’ pointed out, when our foot “goes to sleep” from a lack of circulation, we view it as an object, not as a part of our self! Despite these challenging questions, Rogers tried to define and describe the self.
Rogers believed the self is formed in relation to others; it is an organized, fluid, yet consistent conceptual pattern of our experiential interactions with the environment and the values attached to those experiences. These experiences are symbolized and incorporated into the structure of the self, and our behavior is guided largely by how well new experiences fit within that structure. We may behave in ways inconsistent with the structure of our self, but when we do we will not “own” that behavior. When experiences are so inconsistent that we cannot symbolize them, or fit them into the structure of our self, the potential for psychological distress arises. On the other hand, when our concept of self is mature enough to incorporate all of our perceptions and experiences, and we can assimilate those experiences symbolically into our self, our psychological adjustment will be quite healthy. Individuals who find it difficult to assimilate new and different experiences, those experiences that threaten the structure of the self, will develop an increasingly rigid self-structure . Healthy individuals, in contrast, will assimilate new experiences, their self-structure will change and continue to grow, and they will become more capable of understanding and accepting others as individuals (Rogers, 1951).
The ability of individuals to make the choices necessary for actualizing their self-structure and to then fulfill those choices is what Rogers called personal power (Rogers, 1977). He believed there are many self-actualized individuals revolutionizing the world by trusting their own power, without feeling a need to have “power over” others. They are also willing to foster the latent actualizing tendency in others. We can easily see the influence of Alfred Adler here, both in terms of the creative power of the individual and seeking superiority within a healthy context of social interest. Client-centered therapy was based on making the context of personal power a clear strategy in the therapeutic relationship:
…the client-centered approach is a conscious renunciation and avoidance by the therapist of all control over, or decision-making for, the client. It is the facilitation of self-ownership by the client and the strategies by which this can be achieved…based on the premise that the human being is basically a trustworthy organism, capable of…making constructive choices as to the next steps in life, and acting on those choices. (pp. 14-15; Rogers, 1977)
Discussion Question: Rogers claimed that no one can really understand your experiential field. Would you agree, or do you sometimes find that close friends or family members seem to understand you better than you understand yourself? Are these relationships congruent? Personality Development
Although Rogers described personality within the therapist-client relationship, the focus of his therapeutic approach was based on how he believed the person had arrived at a point in their life where they were suffering from psychological distress. Therefore, the same issues apply to personality development as in therapy. A very important aspect of personality development, according to Rogers, is the parent-child relationship. The nature of that relationship, and whether it fosters self-actualization or impedes personal growth, determines the nature of the individual’s personality and, consequently, their self-structure and psychological adjustment.
A child begins life with an actualizing tendency. As they experience life, and perceive the world around them, they may be supported in all things by those who care for them, or they may only be supported under certain conditions (e.g., if their behavior complies with strict rules). As the child becomes self-aware, it develops a need for positive regard . When the parents offer the child unconditional positive regard , the child continues moving forward in concert with its actualizing tendency. So, when there is no discrepancy between the child’s self-regard and its positive regard (from the parents), the child will grow up psychologically healthy and well-adjusted. However, if the parents offer only conditional positive regard , if they only support the child according the desires and rules of the parents, the child will develop conditions of worth . As a result of these conditions of worth, the child will begin to perceive their world selectively; they will avoid those experiences that do not fit with its goal of obtaining positive regard. The child will begin to live the life of those who set the conditions of worth, rather than living its own life.
As the child grows older, and more aware of its own condition in the world, their behavior will either fit within their own self-structure or not. If they have received unconditional positive regard, such that their self-regard and positive regard are closely matched, they will experience congruence . In other words, their sense of self and their experiences in life will fit together, and the child will be relatively happy and well-adjusted. But, if their sense of self and their ability to obtain positive regard do not match, the child will develop incongruence . Consider, for example, children playing sports. That alone tells us that parents have established guidelines within which the children are expected to “play.” Then we have some children who are naturally athletic, and other children who are more awkward and/or clumsy. They may become quite athletic later in life, or not, but during childhood there are many different levels of ability as they grow. If a parent expects their child to be the best player on the team, but the child simply isn’t athletic, how does the parent react? Do they support the child and encourage them to have fun, or do they pressure the child to perform better and belittle them when they can’t? Children are very good at recognizing who the better athletes are, and they know their place in the hierarchy of athletics, i.e., their athletic self-structure. So if a parent demands dominance from a child who knows they just aren’t that good, the child will develop incongruence. Rogers believed, quite understandably, that such conditions are threatening to a child, and will activate defense mechanisms. Over time, however, excessive or sudden and dramatic incongruence can lead to the breakdown and disorganization of the self-structure. As a result, the individual is likely to experience psychological distress that will continue throughout life (Rogers, 1959/1989).
Discussion Question: Conditions of worth are typically first established in childhood, based on the relationship between a child and his or her parents. Think about your relationship with your own parents and, if you have children, think about how you treat them. Are most of the examples that come to mind unconditional positive regard, or conditional positive regard? How has that affected your relationship with your parents and/or your own children?
Another way in which Rogers approached the idea of congruence and incongruence was based on an individual’s dual concept of self. There is, of course, the actual self-structure, or real self . In addition, there is also an ideal self , much like the fictional finalism described by Adler or the idealized self-image described by Horney. Incongruence develops when the real self falls far short of the accomplishment expected of the ideal self, when experience does not match the expectations of the self-structure (Rogers, 1951, 1959/1989). Once again, the relationship between parents and their children plays an important role in this development. If parents expect too much, such as all A’s every marking period in school, but the child just isn’t academically talented, or if the parents expect their child to be the football team’s quarterback, but the child isn’t a good athlete, then the ideal self will remain out of reach. Perhaps even worse, is when a child is physically or emotionally abused. Such a child’s ideal self may remain at a relatively low standard, but the real self may be so utterly depressed that incongruence is still the result. An important aspect of therapy will be to provide a relationship in which a person in this unfortunate condition can experience the unconditional positive regard necessary to begin reintegrating the self-structure, such that the gap between the real self and the ideal self can begin to close, allowing the person to experience congruence in their life.
What about individuals who have developed congruence, having received unconditional positive regard throughout development or having experienced successful client-centered therapy? They become, according to Rogers (1961), a fully functioning person . He also said they lead a good life. The good life is a process, not a state of being, and a direction, not a destination. It requires psychological freedom, and is the natural consequence of being psychologically free to begin with. Whether or not it develops naturally, thanks to a healthy and supportive environment in the home, or comes about as a result of successful therapy, there are certain characteristics of this process. The fully functioning person is increasingly open to new experiences, they live fully in each moment, and they trust themselves more and more. They become more able and more willing to experience all of their feelings, they are creative, they trust human nature, and they experience the richness of life. The fully functioning person is not simply content, or happy, they are alive :
I believe it will become evident why, for me, adjectives such as happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable, do not seem quite appropriate to any general description of this process I have called the good life, even though the person in this process would experience each one of these feelings at appropriate times. But the adjectives which seem more generally fitting are adjectives such as enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, meaningful. This process…involves the courage to be. …the deeply exciting thing about human beings is that when the individual is inwardly free, he chooses as the good life this process of becoming. (pp. 195-196; Rogers, 1961)
Discussion Question: Rogers described self-actualized people as fully functioning persons who are living a good life. Do you know anyone who seems to be a fully functioning person? Are there aspects of their personality that you aspire to for yourself? Does it seem difficult to be fully functioning, or does it seem to make life both easier and more enjoyable?
Connections Across Cultures: Self-Realization as thePath to Being a Fully Functioning Person
Rogers described an innate drive toward self-actualization, he talked about an ideal self, and he said that a fully functioning person lived a good life. But what does this actually mean? In the Western world we look for specific, tangible answers to such questions. We want to know what the self-actualization drive is, we want to know which ideals, or virtues, are best or right, and we want to define a “good life.” All too often, we define a good life in terms of money, power, and possessions. The Eastern world has, for thousands of years, emphasized a very different perspective. They believe there is a natural order to life, and it is important that we let go of our need to explain the universe, and it is especially important that we let go of our need to own pieces of the universe. In the Tao Te Ching , Lao Tsu (c. 600 B.C./1989) writes:
Something mysteriously formed, Born before heaven and earth. In the silence and the void, Standing alone and unchanging, Ever present and in motion. Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. I do not know its name, Call it Tao. For lack of a better word, I call it great…
The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone… Tao follows what is natural.
At about the same time, some 2,600 years ago, the Bhagavad Gita was also written down (Mitchell, 2000). In the second chapter one finds:
When a man gives up all desires That emerge from the mind, and rests Contented in the Self by the Self, He is called a man of firm wisdom…
In the night of all beings, the wise man Sees only the radiance of the Self; But the sense-world where all beings wake, For him is as dark as night.
In each of these sacred books, we are taught that there is something deeper than ourselves that permeates the universe, but it is beyond our comprehension. It is only when we stop attempting to explain it, our way of trying to control it, and be content to just be ourselves, that we can actually attain that goal. To achieve this goal seems to require the absence of conditions of worth. If someone has been given unconditional positive regard throughout their life, they will be content to live that life as it is. Rogers was well aware of this challenge, and he described the good life as a process, not something that you could actually get, but something that you had to “Be.” Still, is it possible that a fully functioning person might have the insight necessary to understand the essence of the universe? Not according to Swami Sri Yukteswar:
Man possesses eternal faith and believes intuitively in the existence of a Substance, of which the objects of sense – sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell, the component parts of this visible world – are but properties. As man identifies himself with his material body, composed of the aforesaid properties, he is able to comprehend by these imperfect organs these properties only, and not the Substance to which these properties belong. The eternal Father, God, the only Substance in the universe, is therefore not comprehensible by man of this material world, unless he becomes divine by lifting his self above this creation of Darkness or Maya . See Hebrews 11:1 and John 8:28.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am he.” Jnanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, 1894/1990
So whether we believe in God, Tao, an eternal Self, a mortal Self, or merely an actualizing tendency, for thousands of years there has been the belief, amongst many people, that our lives are about more than just being alive for a limited period of time. And it is in the recognition and acceptance, indeed the embracing, of that something more, even if we can’t conceive it in our conscious mind, that we find and live a good life. When Paramahansa Yogananda, a direct disciple of Swami Yukteswar, came to the United States in 1920 to establish a permanent Yoga society, it was suggested that he name his society God-Realization. However, since he believed life is about realizing (or actualizing, in psychological terms) our selves, he established his organization as the Self-Realization Fellowship (Yogananda, 1946).
Self-realization, in the context of Yoga, refers to becoming aware of one’s connection to the spark of divinity that exists within us, which may well be the source of our actualizing tendency. It is not the same as the sense of “I” or “me” that we normally think of. After all, are we our body or our mind? Consider the body. Is it the body we were born with, or the body we have now? Is our mind what we are thinking now, or what we were thinking 2 years ago? Both the body and the mind are transient, but the Self continues. It is that Self that Yogis, Buddhists, and Taoists seek to realize, and it may well be that Self which seeks its own actualization (separate from the consciousness created by the brain underlying our mind; see Feuerstein, 2003; Kabat-Zinn, 1994). This is also the Self of Being and transcendence, as described by Maslow. Social Relationships and Marriage
Social and personal relationships were very important to Rogers, both in therapy and in everyday life. During each moment, we have our awareness (or consciousness), our experience (our perception of what is happening), and our communication (our relational behavior). For the fully functioning person, there is congruence between each of these phenomena. Unfortunately, we tend to be a poor judge of our own congruence. For example, if someone becomes angry with another person at a meeting or in a therapy group, they may remain unaware of their anger, even though it may be quite obvious to everyone else in the room. Thus, our relationship with others can reflect the true nature of our own personality, and the degree to which we are congruent. If others are congruent, and therefore are willing to talk to us openly and honestly, it will encourage us to become more congruent and, consequently, more psychologically healthy (Rogers, 1961, 1980). Curiously, the reason this became so important to Rogers was the lack of such meaningful relationships in his own life. Because his family followed strict, fundamentalist rules, they discouraged relationships with people outside their family. The consequences were rather disturbing for Rogers:
…the attitudes toward persons outside our large family can be summed up schematically in this way: “Other persons behave in dubious ways which we do not approve in our family. Many of them play cards, go to movies, smoke, dance, drink, and engage in other activities, some unmentionable. So the best thing to do is to be tolerant of them, since they may not know better, but to keep away from any close communication with them and to live your life within the family…”
I could sum up these boyhood years by saying that anything I would today regard as a close and communicative interpersonal relationship with another was completely lacking during that period…I was peculiar, a loner, with very little place or opportunity for a place in the world of persons. I was socially incompetent in any but superficial contacts. My fantasies during this period were definitely bizarre, and probably would be classed as schizoid by a diagnostician, but fortunately I never came in contact with a psychologist. (pp. 28-30; Rogers, 1980)
As noted above, the development of healthy relationships takes place whenever one person in the relationship is congruent. Their congruence encourages the other person to be more congruent, which supports the continued open communication on behalf of the first person. This interplay goes back and forth, encouraging continued and growing congruence in the relationship. As we will see below, this is basically the therapeutic situation, in which the therapist is expected to be congruent. However, it certainly does not require a trained therapist, since it occurs naturally in any situation in which one person is congruent from the beginning of the relationship.
One of the most important, and hopefully meaningful, relationships in anyone’s life is marriage. Rogers was married for 55 years, and as the end of his wife’s life approached he poured out his love to her with a depth that astonished him (Rogers, 1980). As relationships became more and more meaningful to him, he wanted to study the extraordinary relationships that become more than temporary. Although this is not necessarily synonymous with marriage, it most typically is. So he conducted a series of informal interviews with people who were, or had been, in lengthy relationships (at least 3 years). In comparing the relationships that seemed successful, as compared to those that were unhappy or had already come to an end, Rogers identified four factors that he believed were most important for long-term, healthy relationships: dedication or commitment, communication, the dissolution of roles, and becoming a separate self (Rogers, 1972).
Dedication, Commitment : Marriage is challenging: love seems to fade, vows are forgotten or set aside, religious rules are ignored (e.g., “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”; Matthew 19:6; Holy Bible, 1962). Rogers believed that in order for a relationship to last, each person must be dedicated to their partnership. They must commit themselves to working together throughout the changing process of their relationship, which is enriching their love and their life.
Communication : Communication encompasses much of human behavior, and it can be both subtle and complex. Communication itself is not a good thing, since many negative and hurtful things can be communicated. However, Rogers believed that we need to communicate persistent feeling, whether positive or negative, so that they don’t overwhelm us and come out in inappropriate ways. It is always important to express such communication in terms of your own thoughts and feelings, rather than projecting those feelings onto others (especially in angry and/or accusatory ways). This process involves risk, but one must be willing to risk the end of a relationship in order to allow it to grow.
Dissolution of Roles : Culture provides many expectations for the nature of relationships, whether it be dating or something more permanent like marriage. According to Rogers, obeying the cultural rules seems to contradict the idea of a growing and maturing relationship, a relationship that is moving forward (toward actualization). However, when individuals make an intentional choice to fulfill cultural expectations, because they want to, then the relationship can certainly be actualizing for them.
Becoming a Separate Self : Rogers believed that “a living partnership is composed of two people, each of whom owns, respect, and develops his or her own selfhood” (pg. 206; Rogers, 1972). While it may seem contradictory that becoming an individual should enhance a relationship, as each person becomes more real and more open they can bring these qualities into the relationship. As a result, the relationship can contribute to the continued growth of each person.
Discussion Question: Consider Rogers’ criteria for a successful marriage, which begins with commitment to the marriage. Given the divorce rate (which studies now place at over 60%), and ongoing political debates about what marriage is or is not, what is your opinion of the status of marriage in society today? Client-Centered and Person-Centered Therapy
Central to Rogers’ view of psychotherapy is the relationship between the therapist and the client, and we must again emphasize the distinction between a client and a patient. This involves shifting the emphasis in therapy from a psychologist/psychiatrist who can “fix” the patient to the client themselves, since only the client can truly understand their own experiential field. The therapist must provide a warm, safe environment in which the client feels free to express whatever attitude they experience in the same way that they perceive it. At the same time, the client experiences the therapist as someone temporarily divested of their own self, in their complete desire to understand the client. The therapist can then accurately and objectively reflect the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, confusions, ambivalences, etc., of the client back to the client. In this open, congruent, and supportive environment, the client is able to begin the process of reorganizing and reintegrating their self-structure, and living congruently within that self-structure (Rogers, 1951).
In 1957, Rogers published an article entitled The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change (Rogers, 1957/1989). The list is fairly short and straightforward: The client and the therapist must be in psychological contact. The client must be in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious. The therapist must be congruent in the relationship. The therapist must experience unconditional positive regard for the client. The therapist must experience empathic understanding of the client’s frame of reference and endeavor to communicate this experience to the client. The client must perceive, at least to a minimal degree, the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard.
According to Rogers, there is nothing else that is required; if these conditions are met over a period of time, there will be constructive personality change. What Rogers considered more remarkable are those factors that do not seem necessary for positive therapeutic change. For example, these conditions do not apply to one type of client, but to all clients, and they are not unique to client-centered therapy, but apply in all types of therapy. The relationship between the therapist and client is also not unique, these factors hold true in any interpersonal relationship. And most surprisingly, these conditions do not require any special training on the part of therapist, or even an accurate diagnosis of the client’s psychological problems! Any program designed for the purpose of encouraging constructive change in the personality structure and behavior of individuals, whether educational, military, correctional, or industrial, can benefit from these conditions and use them as a measure of the effectiveness of the program (Rogers, 1957).
Can any one of these conditions be considered more important than the others? Although they are all necessary, Rogers came to believe that the critical factor may be the therapist’s empathic understanding of the client (Rogers, 1980). The Dalai Lama (2001) has said that empathy is an essential first step toward a compassionate heart. It brings us closer to others, and allows us to recognize the depth of their pain. According to Rogers, empathy refers to entering the private world of the client, and moving about within it without making any judgments. It is essential to set aside one’s own views and values, so that the other person’s world may be entered without prejudice. Not just anyone can accomplish this successfully:
In some sense it means that you lay aside your self; this can only be done by persons who are secure enough in themselves that they know they will not get lost in what may turn out to be the strange or bizarre world of the other, and that they can comfortably return to their own world when they wish. (pg. 143; Rogers, 1980)
Finally, let us consider group therapy situations. Within a group, all of the factors described above hold true. Rogers, who late in his career was becoming more and more interested in the growth of all people, including those reasonably well-adjusted and mature to begin with, became particularly interested in T-groups and encounter groups . These groups were developed following the proposition by Kurt Lewin that modern society was overlooking the importance of training in human relations skills (the “T” in T-group stands for “training”). Encounter groups were quite similar to T-groups, except that there was a greater emphasis on personal growth and improved interpersonal communication through an experiential process. Each group has a leader, or facilitator, who fosters and encourages open communication. The group serves as a reflection of the congruence, or lack thereof, in the communication of whoever is currently expressing themselves. As a result, the group hopefully moves toward congruence, and the subsequent personal growth and actualization of the individual (Rogers, 1970).
Given the usefulness of T-groups and encounter in a variety of settings, as well as the importance of continued personal growth and actualization for the well-adjusted as well as those suffering psychological distress, Rogers shifted his focus from simply client-centered therapy to a more universal person-centered approach , which encompasses client-centered therapy, student-centered teaching, and group-centered leadership (Rogers, 1980; see also Rogers & Roethlisberger, 1952/1993). Rogers believed that all people have within them vast resources for self-understanding and for changing their self-concepts, attitudes, and behaviors. In all relationships, whether therapist-client, parent-child, teacher-student, leader-group, employer-employee, etc., there are three elements that can foster personal growth: genuineness or congruence, acceptance or caring, and empathic understanding. When these elements are fostered in any setting, “there is greater freedom to be the true, whole person.” The implications go far beyond individual relationships. We live in what seems to be an increasingly dangerous world. Globalism has brought with it global tension and conflict. However, Rogers argued that a person-centered approach would help to ease intercultural tension, by helping each of us to learn to appreciate and understand others. Whether the cultural differences are political, racial, ethnic, economic, whatever, as more leaders become person-centered there is the possibility for future growth of intercultural understanding and cooperation (Rogers, 1977). Abraham Maslow and Holistic-Dynamic Psychology
Maslow stands alongside Rogers as one of the founders of humanistic psychology. Although he began his career working with two of the most famous experimental psychologists in America, he was profoundly influenced by the events that led into World War II. He became devoted to studying the more virtuous aspects of personality, and he may be viewed as one of the founders of positive psychology. Well-known primarily for his work on self-actualization, Maslow also had a significant impact on the field of management. His fame in both psychology and business makes him a candidate for being, perhaps, the best-known psychologist of all time (Freud is certainly more famous, but remember that he was a psychiatrist). According to Maslow, his holistic-dynamic theory of personality was a blend of theories that had come before his:
This theory is, I think, in the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, and is fused with the holism of Wertheimer, Goldstein, and Gestalt psychology, and with the dynamicism of Freud, Fromm, Horney, Reich, Jung, and Adler. This integration or synthesis may be called a holistic-dynamic theory. (pg. 35; Maslow, 1970) Brief Biography of Abraham Maslow
Abraham H. Maslow was born on April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York, the first of seven children. His father, Samuel, had left Kiev, Russia at just 14 years old. When Samuel Maslow arrived in America he had no money and did not speak English. Samuel Maslow spent a few years in Philadelphia, doing odd jobs and learning the language, before moving to New York City, where he married his first cousin Rose and began a cooperage business (a cooper builds and repairs barrels). Samuel and Rose Maslow did not have a happy marriage, and Abraham Maslow was particularly sensitive to this fact. Maslow resented his father’s frequent absences, and apparently hated his mother. His mother was a superstitious woman, who severely punished Maslow for even minor misbehavior by threatening him with God’s wrath. Maslow developed an intense distrust of religion, and was proud to consider himself an atheist (Gabor, 2000; Hoffman, 1988; Maddi & Costa, 1972).
Maslow’s childhood was no better outside the home. Anti-Semitism was rampant in New York. Many teachers were cruel, and he overheard them say nasty things about him. He had no friends, and there were anti-Semitic gangs that would find and beat up Jewish children. At one point he decided to join a Jewish gang for protection, but he didn’t have the “right” attitude:
I wanted to be a member of the gang, but I couldn’t: they rejected me because I couldn’t kill cats…We’d stake out a cat on a [clothesline] and stand back so many paces and throw rocks at it and kill it.
And the other thing was to throw rocks at the girls on the corner. Now I knew that the girls liked it, and yet I couldn’t throw rocks at girls and I couldn’t kill cats, so I was ruled out of the gang, and I could never be the gangster that I wanted to become. (pg. 4; Maslow, cited in Hoffman, 1988)
With six more children joining the family, one every couple of years, the family was constantly moving and, following the troubling death of one of his little sisters (Maslow blamed her illness, in part, on their mother’s neglect), Maslow became a very unhappy and shy child. He also thought he was terribly ugly, something his father said openly at a large family gathering! Perhaps worst of all, he felt profoundly strange and different than other children, largely because he was so intellectual. Maslow reconciled with his father later in life. During the depression, Samuel Maslow lost his business. By that time he had divorced Maslow’s mother, Rose, and he moved in with his son. The two became close, and after Samuel Maslow died, his son remembered him fondly. Maslow never forgave his mother, however. Some of the childhood stories he related were shockingly cruel. Once, he had searched through second-hand record shops for some special 78-RPM records. When he failed to put them away soon after returning home, his mother stomped them into pieces on the living room floor. Another time, Maslow brought home two abandoned kittens he had found. When his mother caught him feeding them a saucer of milk, she grabbed the kittens and smashed their heads against a wall until they were dead! Later in life, he refused to even attend her funeral.
What I had reacted to and totally hated and rejected was not only her physical appearance, but also her values and world view…I’ve always wondered where my utopianism, ethical stress, humanism, stress on kindness, love, friendship, and all the rest came from. I knew certainly of the direct consequences of having no mother-love. But the whole thrust of my life-philosophy and all my research and theorizing also has its roots in a hatred for and revulsion against everything she stood for. (pg. 9; Maslow cited in Hoffman, 1988)
Maslow spent much of his childhood reading, and despite the treatment he received from many of his prejudiced teachers, he loved to learn. After high school Maslow won a scholarship to Cornell University, but encountered pervasive anti-Semitism throughout his first year. So he transferred to City College, where he first studied the work of behavioral scientists like John B. Watson. He was impressed by Watson’s desire to use the newly created science of behaviorism to fight social problems, such as racial and ethnic discrimination. At the same time, however, Maslow had fallen in love with his first cousin Bertha Goodman, a relationship his parents strongly opposed. So Maslow left for the University of Wisconsin (Gabor, 2000; Hoffman, 1988; Maddi & Costa, 1972). Bertha Goodman followed, and they were soon married. Marriage boosted Maslow’s self-esteem, and provided him with a sense of purpose in life. He later said that “life didn’t really start for me until I got married and went to Wisconsin” (pg. 128; cited in Maddi & Costa, 1972).
In Wisconsin, Maslow studied the behavior of primates under the supervision of the renowned Harry Harlow (most famous for his studies on contact comfort ). One day, while watching some monkeys seemingly enjoy munching on peanuts and other treats, Maslow recognized that appetite and hunger are two different things. Thus, motivation must be comprised of separate elements as well. In another study, Maslow tried to address the different aspects of Freud and Adler’s psychodynamic perspectives by observing dominance behavior amongst the monkeys. His colleagues and professors, however, had little interest in the psychoanalytic science that they considered to be a European endeavor. Maslow completed his Ph.D. at Wisconsin in 1934, and then returned to New York. He earned a position at Columbia University with the renowned Edward Thorndike, and began studying the relative contributions of heredity and environment on social behavior, as part of a project to study factors involved in poverty, illiteracy, and crime. As a curious side note, Thorndike had also developed an IQ test; Maslow scored 195 on this test, one of the highest scores ever recorded. During this time at Columbia University, Maslow also began relationships with many of the psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists who had fled Nazi Germany. He was very impressed with Max Wertheimer, one of the founders of Gestalt psychology, and who helped to lay the foundation for positive psychology:
“Are there not tendencies in men and in children to be kind, to deal sincerely [and] justly with the other fellow? Are these nothing but internalized rules on the basis of compulsion and fear?” he asked rhetorically. (pg. 159; Wertheimer, cited in Gabor, 2000)
Maslow was one of the first students to study with Alfred Adler in America, being particularly impressed with Adler’s work helping academically-challenged children to succeed despite their low IQ scores. Maslow also studied with Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Ruth Benedict. Benedict was an anthropologist who encouraged Maslow to gain some field experience. She sponsored a grant application that Maslow received to study the Blackfoot Indians. During the summer of 1938, Maslow examined the dominance and emotional security of the Blackfoot Indians. He was impressed by their culture, and recognized what he believed was an innate need to experience a sense of purpose in life, a sense of meaning. A few years later, shortly after the beginning of World War II, Maslow had an epiphany regarding psychology’s failure to understand the true nature of people. He devoted the rest of his life to the study of a hopeful psychology (Gabor, 2000; Hoffman, 1988; Maddi & Costa, 1972).
Maslow taught for a few years at Brooklyn College, and also served as the plant manager for the Maslow Cooperage Corporation (from 1947-1949). In 1951 he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Brandeis University, where he conducted the research and wrote the books for which he is most famous. By the late 1960s, Maslow had become disillusioned with academic life. He had suffered a heart attack in 1966, and seemed somewhat disconnected from the very department he had helped to form. In 1969, however, he accepted a four year grant from the Laughlin Foundation, primarily to study the philosophy of democracy, economics, and ethics as influenced by humanistic psychology. He had been troubled by what he viewed as a loss of faith in American values, and he was greatly enjoying his time working in California. He also attended management seminars at the Saga Corporation, urging the participants to commit themselves to humanistic management. One day in June, 1970, he was jogging slowly when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was already dead by the time his wife rushed over to him (Gabor, 2000; Hoffman, 1988; Maddi & Costa, 1972). He was only 62 years old. Shortly after his death, the International Study Project of Menlo Park, CA published a memorial volume in tribute to Abraham Maslow (International Study Project, 1972).
Placing Maslow in Context: Beyond Humanistic Psychology
Whereas Carl Rogers is often thought of as the founder of humanistic psychology, in large part because of his emphasis on psychotherapy, it was Maslow who studied in great detail the most significant theoretical aspect of it: self-actualization. In addition to studying self-actualization, he applied it both in psychology and beyond. His application of self-actualization to management continued the classic relationship between psychology and business (which began with John B. Watson and his application of psychological principles to advertising). Unfortunately, Maslow died just as he was beginning to study his proposed fourth force: transpersonal psychology. Transpersonal psychology offered a connection between psychology and many of the Eastern philosophies associated with Yoga and Buddhism, and also provided a foundation for the study of positive psychology.
Maslow’s interest in business and management has quite possibly led to his being the most famous psychologist of all time, since he is well-known in both psychology and business. If he had continued being a vocal advocate for transpersonal psychology (if not for his untimely death at an early age), given today’s growing interest in Eastern philosophy and psychology and the establishment of positive psychology as a goal for the field of psychology by former APA President Martin Seligman, Maslow may well have become even more famous. It is interesting to note that someone so truly visionary seems to have become that way as a result of studying people whom he felt were themselves self-actualized. If positive psychology, the psychology of virtue and values, becomes the heir of Maslow’s goal, it should become a significant force in the field of psychology. That will be Maslow’s true legacy. The Importance of Values in the Science of Psychology
A common criticism leveled against many personality theorists is that they have not confirmed their theories in a strict, scientific manner. When one goes so far as to consider values , which are typically associated with religious morality, there is even greater resistance on the part of those who would have psychology become “truly” scientific to consider such matters worthy of examination. However, Maslow felt that:
Both orthodox science and orthodox religion have been institutionalized and frozen into a mutually excluding dichotomy…One consequence is that they are both pathologized, split into sickness, ripped apart into a crippled half-science and a crippled half-religion…As a result…the student who becomes a scientist automatically gives up a great deal of life, especially its richest portions. (pg. 119; Maslow, 1966)
Consequently, Maslow urged that we need to be fully aware of our values at all times, and aware of how our values influence us in our study of psychology. Although people approach the world in common ways, they also pay selective attention to what is happening, and they reshuffle the events occurring around them according to their own interests, needs, desires, fears, etc. Consequently, Maslow believed that paying attention to human values, particularly to an individual’s values, actually helps the psychological scientist achieve the goal of clearly understanding human behavior (Maslow, 1970). In a similar vein, when Maslow co-authored an abnormal psychology text early in his career, he included a chapter on normal psychology. His description of the characteristics of a healthy, normal personality provides an interesting foreshadowing of his research on self-actualization (Maslow & Mittelmann, 1941).
Maslow felt so strongly about the loss of values in our society that he helped to organize a conference and then served as editor for a book entitled New Knowledge in Human Values (Maslow, 1959). In the preface, Maslow laments that “…the ultimate disease of our time is valuelessness…this state is more crucially dangerous than ever before in history…” (pg. vii; Maslow, 1959). Maslow does suggest, however, that something can be done about this loss of values, if only people will try. In the book, he brought together an interesting variety of individuals, including: Kurt Goldstein, a well-known neurophysiologist who studied the holistic function of healthy vs. brain-damaged patients and who coined the term self-actualization; D. T. Suzuki, a renowned Zen Buddhist scholar; and Paul Tillich, a highly respected existential theologian (who had a direct and significant influence on the career of Rollo May). There are also chapters by Gordon Allport and Erich Fromm. In his own chapter, Maslow concludes:
If we wish to help humans to become more fully human, we must realize not only that they try to realize themselves but that they are also reluctant or afraid or unable to do so. Only by fully appreciating this dialectic between sickness and health can we help to tip the balance in favor of health. (pg. 135; Maslow, 1959)
Discussion Question: Maslow believed that values are very important, not only in the study of psychology, but in society as well. Do you agree? When politicians or religious leaders talk about values, do you think they represent meaningful, true values, or do they just support the values that are an advantage to their own goal or the goals of their political party or church? The Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s is undoubtedly best known for his hierarchy of needs . Developed within the context of a theory of human motivation, Maslow believed that human behavior is driven and guided by a set of basic needs : physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and the need for self-actualization . It is generally accepted that individuals must move through the hierarchy in order, satisfying the needs at each level before one can move on to a higher level. The reason for this is that lower needs tend to occupy the mind if they remain unsatisfied. How easy is it to work or study when you are really hungry or thirsty? But Maslow did not consider the hierarchy to be rigid. For example, he encountered some people for whom self-esteem was more important than love, individuals suffering from antisocial personality disorder seem to have a permanent loss of the need for love, or if a need has been satisfied for a long time it may become less important. As lower needs are becoming satisfied, though not yet fully satisfied, higher needs may begin to present themselves. And of course there are sometimes multiple determinants of behavior, making the relationship between a given behavior and a basic need difficult to identify (Maslow, 1943/1973; Maslow, 1970).
The physiological needs are based, in part, on the concept of homeostasis , the natural tendency of the body to maintain critical biological levels of essential elements or conditions, such as water, salt, energy, and body temperature. Sexual activity, though not essential for the individual, is biologically necessary for the human species to survive. Maslow described the physiological needs as the most prepotent . In other words, if a person is lacking everything in life, having failed to satisfy physiological, safety, belongingness and love, and esteem needs, their consciousness will most like be consumed with their desire for food and water. As the lowest and most clearly biological of the needs, these are also the most animal-like of our behavior. In Western culture, however, it is rare to find someone who is actually starving. So when we talk about being hungry, we are really talking about an appetite, rather than real hunger (Maslow, 1943/1973; Maslow, 1970). Many Americans are fascinated by stories such as those of the ill-fated Donner party, trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter of 1846-1847, and the Uruguayan soccer team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972. In each case, either some or all of the survivors were forced to cannibalize those who had died. As shocking as such stories are, they demonstrate just how powerful our physiological needs can be.
The safety needs can easily be seen in young children. They are easily startled or frightened by loud noises, flashing lights, and rough handling. They can become quite upset when other family members are fighting, since it disrupts the feeling of safety usually associated with the home. According to Maslow, many adult neurotics are like children who do not feel safe. From another perspective, that of Erik Erikson, children and adults raised in such an environment do not trust the environment to provide for their needs. Although it can be argued that few people in America seriously suffer from a lack of satisfying physiological needs, there are many people who live unsafe lives. For example, inner city crime, abusive spouses and parents, incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS, all present life threatening dangers to many people on a daily basis.
One place where we expect our children to be safe is in school. However, as we saw in the last chapter (in the section on the martial arts), 160,000 children each day are too frightened to attend school (Nathan, 2005). Juvonen et al. (2006) looked at the effects of ethnic diversity on children’s perception of safety in urban middle schools (Grade 6). They surveyed approximately 2,000 students in 99 classrooms in the greater Los Angeles area. The ethnicity of the students in this study was 46 percent Latino (primarily of Mexican origin), 29 percent African American, 9 percent Asian (primarily East Asian), 9 percent Caucasian, and 7 percent multiracial. When a given classroom, or a given school, is more ethnically diverse, both African American and Latino students felt safer, were harassed less by peers, felt less lonely, and they had higher levels of self-worth (even when the authors controlled for differences in academic engagement). Thus, it appears that ethnic diversity in schools leads toward satisfaction of the need for safety, at least in one important area of a child’s life. Unfortunately, most minority students continue to be educated in schools that are largely ethnically segregated (Juvonen, et al., 2006).
Throughout the evolution of the human species we found safety primarily within our family, tribal group, or our community. It was within those groups that we shared the hunting and gathering that provided food. Once the physiological and safety needs have been fairly well satisfied, according to Maslow, “the person will feel keenly, as never before, the absence of friends, or a sweetheart, or a wife, or children” (Maslow, 1970). Although there is little scientific confirmation of the belongingness and love needs, many therapists attribute much of human suffering to society’s thwarting of the need for love and affection. Most notable among personality theorists who addressed this issue was Wilhelm Reich. An important aspect of love and affection is sex. Although sex is often considered a physiological need, given its role in procreation, sex is what Maslow referred to as a multidetermined behavior. In other words, it serves both a physiological role (procreation) and a belongingness/love role (the tenderness and/or passion of the physical side of love). Maslow was also careful to point out that love needs involve both giving and receiving love in order for them to be fully satisfied (Maslow, 1943/1973; Maslow, 1970).
Maslow believed that all people desire a stable and firmly based high evaluation of themselves and others (at least the others who comprise their close relationships). This need for self-esteem, or self-respect, involves two components. First is the desire to feel competent, strong, and successful (similar to Bandura’s self-efficacy). Second is the need for prestige or status, which can range from simple recognition to fame and glory. Maslow credited Adler for addressing this human need, but felt that Freud had neglected it. Maslow also believed that the need for self-esteem was becoming a central issue in therapy for many psychotherapists. However, as we saw in Chapter 12, Albert Ellis considers self-esteem to be a sickness. Ellis’ concern is that self-esteem, including efforts to boost self-esteem in therapy, requires that people rate themselves, something that Ellis felt will eventually lead to a negative evaluation (no one is perfect!). Maslow did acknowledge that the healthiest self-esteem is based on well-earned and deserved respect from others, rather than fleeting fame or celebrity status (Maslow, 1943/1973; Maslow, 1970).
When all of these lower needs (physiological, safety, belongingness and love, and esteem) have been largely satisfied, we may still feel restless and discontented unless we are doing what is right for ourselves. “What a man can be, he must be” (pg. 46; Maslow, 1970). Thus, the need for self-actualization, which Maslow described as the highest of the basic needs, can also be referred to as a Being-need , as opposed to the lower deficiency-needs (Maslow, 1968). We will examine self-actualization in more detail in the following section.
Although Maslow recognized that humans no longer have instincts in the technical sense, we nonetheless share basic drives with other animals. We get hungry, even though how and what we eat is determined culturally. We need to be safe, like any other animal, but again we seek and maintain our safety in different ways (such as having a police force to provide safety for us). Given our fundamental similarity to other animals, therefore, Maslow referred to the basic needs as instinctoid . The lower the need the more animal-like it is, the higher the need, the more human it is, and self-actualization was, in Maslow’s opinion, uniquely human (Maslow, 1970).
In addition to the basic needs, Maslow referred to cognitive needs and aesthetic needs . Little is known about cognitive needs, since they are seldom an important focus in clinic settings. However, he felt there were ample grounds for proposing that there are positive impulses to know, to satisfy curiosity, to understand, and to explain. The eight-fold path described by the Buddha, some 2,600 years ago, begins with right knowledge. The importance of mental stimulation for some people is described quite vividly by Maslow:
I have seen a few cases in which it seemed clear to me that the pathology (boredom, loss of zest in life, self-dislike, general depression of the bodily functions, steady deterioration of the intellectual life, of tastes, etc.) were produced in intelligent people leading stupid lives in stupid jobs. I have at least one case in which the appropriate cognitive therapy (resuming part-time studies, getting a position that was more intellectually demanding, insight) removed the symptoms.
I have seen many women, intelligent, prosperous, and unoccupied, slowly develop these same symptoms of intellectual inanition. Those who followed my recommendation to immerse themselves in something worthy of them showed improvement or cure often enough to impress me with the reality of the cognitive needs. (pg. 49; Maslow, 1970)
There are also classic studies on the importance of environmental enrichment on the structural development of the brain itself (Diamond et al., 1975; Globus, et al., 1973; Greenough & Volkmar, 1973; Rosenzweig, 1984; Spinelli & Jensen, 1979; Spinelli, Jensen, & DiPrisco, 1980). Even less is known about the aesthetic needs, but Maslow was convinced that some people need to experience, indeed they crave, beauty in their world. Ancient cave drawings have been found that seem to serve no other purpose than being art. The cognitive and aesthetic needs may very well have been fundamental to our evolution as modern humans. Self-Actualization
Maslow began his studies on self-actualization in order to satisfy his own curiosity about people who seemed to be fulfilling their unique potential as individuals. He did not intend to undertake a formal research project, but he was so impressed by his results that he felt compelled to report his findings. Amongst people he knew personally and public and historical figures, he looked for individuals who appeared to have made full use of their talents, capacities, and potentialities. In other words, “people who have developed or are developing to the full stature of which they are capable” (Maslow, 1970). His list of those who clearly seemed self-actualized included Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Aldous Huxley, and Baruch Spinoza. His list of individuals who were most-likely self-actualized included Goethe (possibly the great-grandfather of Carl Jung), George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Tubman (born into slavery, she became a conductor on the Underground Railroad prior to the Civil War), and George Washington Carver (born into slavery at the end of the Civil War, he became an agricultural chemist and prolific inventor). In addition to the positive attributes listed above, Maslow also considered it very important that there be no evidence of psychopathology in those he chose to study. After comparing the seemingly self-actualized individuals to people who did not seem to have fulfilled their lives, Maslow identified fourteen characteristics of self-actualizing people (Maslow, 1950/1973, 1970), as follows:
More Efficient Perception of Reality and More Comfortable Relations with It : Self-actualizing people have an ability to recognize fakers, those who present a false persona. More than that, however, Maslow believed they could recognize hidden or confused realities in all aspects of life: science, politics, values and ethics, etc. They are not afraid of the unknown or people who are different, they find such differences to be a pleasant challenge. Although a high IQ may be associated with this characteristic, it is not uncommon to find those who are seemingly intelligent yet unable to be creative in their efforts to discover new phenomena. Thus, the perception of reality is not simply the same as being smart.
Acceptance (Self, Others, Nature) : Similar to the approach Albert Ellis took with REBT (and his hypothesized dangers inherent in self-esteem), Maslow believed that self-actualizing people accept themselves as they are, including their faults and the differences between their personal reality and their ideal image of themselves. This is not to say that they are without guilt. They are concerned about personal faults that can be improved, any remaining habits or psychological issues that are unhealthy (e.g., prejudice, jealousy, etc.), and the shortcomings of their community and/or culture.
Spontaneity : The lives of self-actualizing people are marked by simplicity and a natural ease as they pursue their goals. Their outward behavior is relatively spontaneous, and their inner life (thoughts, drives, etc.) is particularly so. In spite of this spontaneity, they are not always unconventional, because they can easily accept the constraints of society and find their own way to fit in without being untrue to their own sense of self.
Problem-Centering : Self-actualizing individuals are highly problem-centered, not ego-centered. The problems they focus on are typically not their own, however. They focus on problems outside themselves, on important causes they would describe as necessary. Solving such problems is taken as their duty or responsibility, rather than as something they want to do for themselves.
The Quality of Detachment; the Need for Privacy : Whereas social withdrawal is often seen as psychologically unhealthy, self-actualizing people enjoy their privacy. They can remain calm as they separate themselves from problematic situations, remaining above the fray. In accordance with this healthy form of detachment, they are active, responsible, self-disciplined individuals in charge of their own lives. Maslow believed that they have more free will than the average person.
Autonomy, Independence of Culture and Environment : As an extension of the preceding characteristics, self-actualizing individuals are growth-motivated as opposed to being deficiency-motivated. They do not need the presence, companionship, or approval of others. Indeed, they may be hampered by others. The love, honor, esteem, etc., that can be bestowed by others has become less important to someone who is self-actualizing than self-development and inner growth.
Continued Freshness of Appreciation : Self-actualizing people are able to appreciate the wonders, as well as the common aspects, of life again and again. Such feelings may not occur all the time, but they can occur in the most unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Maslow offered a surprising evaluation of the importance of this characteristic of self-actualization:
I have also become convinced that getting used to our blessings is one of the most important nonevil generators of human evil, tragedy, and suffering. What we take for granted we undervalue, and we are therefore too apt to sell a valuable birthright for a mess of pottage, leaving behind regret, remorse, and a lowering of self-esteem. Wives, husbands, children, friends are unfortunately more apt to be loved and appreciated after they have died than while they are still available. Something similar is true for physical health, for political freedoms, for economic well-being; we learn their true value after we have lost them. (pp. 163-164; Maslow, 1970)
The “Mystic Experience” or “Oceanic Feeling;” Peak Experiences : The difference between a mystic experience (also known as an oceanic feeling ) and a peak experience is a matter of definition. Mystic experiences are viewed as gifts from God, something reserved for special or deserving (i.e., faithful) servants. Maslow, however, believed that this was a natural occurrence that could happen for anyone, and to some extent probably did. He assigned the psychological term of peak experiences. Such experiences tend to be sudden feelings of limitless horizons opening up to one’s vision, simultaneous feelings of great power and great vulnerability, feelings of ecstasy, wonder and awe, a loss of the sense of time and place, and the feeling that something extraordinary and transformative has happened. Self-actualizers who do not typically experience these peaks, the so-called “ non-peakers ,” are more likely to become direct agents of social change, the reformers, politicians, crusaders, and so on. The more transcendent “ peakers ,” in contrast, become the poets, musicians, philosophers, and theologians.
Maslow devoted a great deal of attention to peak experiences, including their relationship to religion. At the core of religion, according to Maslow, is the private illumination or revelation of spiritual leaders. Such experiences seem to be very similar to peak experiences, and Maslow suggests that throughout history these peak experiences may have been mistaken for revelations from God. In his own studies, Maslow found that people who were spiritual, but not religious (i.e., not hindered by the doctrine of a specific faith or church), actually had more peak experiences than other people. Part of the explanation for this, according to Maslow, is that such people need to be more serious about their ethics, values, and philosophy of life, since their guidance and motivation must come from within. Individuals who seek such an appreciation of life may help themselves to experience an extended form of peak experience that Maslow called the plateau experience . Plateau experiences always have both noetic and cognitive elements, whereas peak experiences can be entirely emotional (Maslow, 1964). Put another way, plateau experiences involve serene and contemplative Being-cognition , as opposed to the more climactic peak experiences (Maslow, 1971).
Gemeinschaftsgefuhl : A word invented by Alfred Adler, gemeinschatfsgefuhl refers to the profound feelings of identification, sympathy, and affection for other people that are common in self-actualization individuals. Although self-actualizers may often feel apart from others, like a stranger in a strange land, becoming upset by the shortcomings of the average person, they nonetheless feel a sense of kinship with others. These feelings lead to a sincere desire to help the human race.
Interpersonal Relations : Maslow believed that self-actualizers have deeper and more profound personal relationships than other people. They tend to be kind to everyone, and are especially fond of children. Maslow described this characteristic as “compassion for all mankind,” a perspective that would fit well with Buddhist and Christian philosophies.
The Democratic Character Structure : Self-actualizing people are typically friendly with anyone, regardless of class, race, political beliefs, or education. They can learn from anyone who has something to teach them. They respect all people, simply because they are people. They are not, however, undiscriminating:
The careful distinction must be made between this democratic feeling and a lack of discrimination in taste, of an undiscriminating equalizing of any one human being with any other. These individuals, themselves elite, select for their friends elite, but this is an elite of character, capacity, and talent, rather than of birth, race, blood, name, family, age, youth, fame, or power. (pg. 168; Maslow, 1970)
Discrimination Between Means and Ends, Between Good and Evil : Self-actualizers know the difference between right and wrong. They are ethical, have high moral standards, and they do good things while avoiding doing bad things. They do not experience the average person’s confusion or inconsistency in making ethical choices. They tend to focus on ends, rather than means, although they sometimes become absorbed in the means themselves, viewing the process itself as a series of ends.
Philosophical, Unhostile Sense of Humor : The sense of humor shared by self-actualizers is not typical. They do not laugh at hostile, superior, or rebellious humor. They do not tell jokes that make fun of other people. Instead, they poke fun at people in general for being foolish, or trying to claim a place in the universe that is beyond us. Such humor often takes the form of poking fun at oneself, but not in a clown-like way. Although such humor can be found in nearly every aspect of life, to non-self-actualizing people the self-actualizers seem to be somewhat sober and serious.
Creativeness : According to Maslow, self-actualizing people are universally creative. This is not the creativity associated with genius, such as that of Mozart or Thomas Edison, but rather the fresh and naive creativity of an unspoiled child. Maslow believed that this creativity was a natural potential given to all humans at their birth, but that the constraints on behavior inherent in most cultures lead to its suppression.
As desirable as self-actualization may seem, self-actualizing individuals still face problems in their lives. According to Maslow, they are typically not well adjusted. This is because they resist being enculturated. They do not stand out in grossly abnormal ways, but there is a certain inner detachment from the culture in which they live. They are not viewed as rebels in the adolescent sense, though they may be rebels while growing up, but rather they work steadily toward social change and/or the accomplishment of their goals. As a result of their immersion in some personal goal, they may lose interest in or patience with common people and common social practices. Thus, they may seem detached, insulting, absent-minded, or humorless. They can seem boring, stubborn, or irritating, particularly because they are often superficially vain and proud only of their own accomplishments and their own family, friends, and work. According to Maslow, outbursts of temper are not rare. Maslow argued that there are, in fact, people who become saints, movers and shakers, creators, and sages. However, these same people can be irritating, selfish, angry, or depressed. No one is perfect, not even those who are self-actualizing (Maslow, 1950/1973, 1970).
Discussion Question: Consider Maslow’s characteristics of self-actualizing people. Which of those characteristics do you think are part of your personality? Are there any characteristics that you think may be particularly difficult for you to achieve? Obstacles to Self-Actualization
In The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (Maslow, 1971), which was completed by Maslow’s wife and one of his colleagues shortly after Maslow’s death, Maslow described self-actualization as something that one does not obtain or fulfill at a specific point in time. Rather, it is an ongoing process of self-actualizing, characterized for some by brief periods of self-actualization (the peak experiences, for example). Maslow also described two major obstacles to achieving self-actualization: desacralizing and the Jonah complex . The Jonah complex, a name suggested by Maslow’s friend Professor Frank Manuel, refers to being afraid of one’s own greatness, or evading one’s destiny or calling in life. Maslow specifically described this as a non-Freudian defense mechanism in which a person is as afraid of the best aspects of their psyche as they are afraid of the worst aspects of their psyche (i.e., the socially unacceptable id impulses). He described the process of this fear as a recognition, despite how much we enjoy the godlike possibilities revealed by our finest accomplishments, of the weakness, awe, and fear we experience when we achieve those accomplishments. According to Maslow, “great emotions after all can in fact overwhelm us” (Maslow, 1971). Nonetheless, he encouraged people to strive for greatness, within a reasonable sense of their own limitations.
A very important defense mechanism, which affects young people in particular, is what Maslow called desacralizing. The source of this problem is usually found within the family:
These youngsters mistrust the possibility of values and virtues. They feel themselves swindled or thwarted in their lives. Most of them have, in fact, dopey parents whom they don’t respect very much, parents who are quite confused themselves about values and who, frequently, are simply terrified of their children and never punish them or stop them from doing things that are wrong. So you have a situation where the youngsters simply despise their elders – often for good and sufficient reason. (pg. 49; Maslow, 1971)
As a result, children grow up without respect for their elders, or for anything their elders consider important. The values of the culture itself can be called into question. While such a situation may sometimes be important for changing social conventions that unfairly discriminate against some people, can we really afford to live in a society in which nothing is sacred? Indeed, can such a society or culture continue to exist? Thus, Maslow emphasized a need for resacralizing . Maslow noted that he had to make up the words desacralizing and resacralizing “because the English language is rotten for good people. It has no decent vocabulary for the virtues” (Maslow, 1971). Resacralizing means being willing to see the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic. As an example, Maslow suggested considering a medical student dissecting a human brain. Would such a student see the brain simply as a biological organ, or would they be awed by it, also seeing the brain as a sacred object, including even its poetic aspects? This concept is particularly important for counselors working with the aged, people approaching the end of their lives, and may be critical for helping them move toward self-actualization. According to Maslow, when someone asks a counselor for help with the self-actualizing process, the counselor had better have an answer for them, “or we’re not doing what it is our job to do” (Maslow, 1971).
Discussion Question: Maslow believed that desacralizing was particularly challenging for young people. Do you think our society has lost its way, have we lost sight of meaningful values? Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there anything that you do in your life to recognize something as sacred in a way that has real meaning for your community?
Maslow had something else interesting to say about self-actualization in The Farther Reaches of Human Nature : “What does self-actualization mean in moment-to-moment terms? What does it mean on Tuesday at four o’clock?” (pg. 41). Consequently, he offered a preliminary suggestion for an operational definition of the process by which self-actualization occurs. In other words, what are the behaviors exhibited by people on the path toward fulfilling or achieving the fourteen characteristics of self-actualized people described above? Sadly, this could only remain a preliminary description, i.e., they are “ideas that are in midstream rather than ready for formulation into a final version,” because this book was published after Maslow’s death (having been put together before his sudden and unexpected heart attack).
What does one do when he self-actualizes? Does he grit his teeth and squeeze? What does self-actualization mean in terms of actual behavior, actual procedure? I shall describe eight ways in which one self-actualizes. (pg. 45; Maslow, 1971) They experience full, vivid, and selfless concentration and total absorption. Within the ongoing process of self-actualization, they make growth choices (rather than fear choices; progressive choices rather than regressive choices). They are aware that there is a self to be actualized. When in doubt, they choose to be honest rather than dishonest. They trust their own judgment, even if it means being different or unpopular (being courageous is another version of this behavior). They put in the effort necessary to improve themselves, working regularly toward self-development no matter how arduous or demanding . They embrace the occurrence of peak experiences , doing what they can to facilitate and enjoy more of them (as opposed to denying these experiences as many people do). They identify and set aside their ego defenses (they have “the courage to give them up”). Although this requires that they face up to painful experiences, it is more beneficial than the consequences of defenses such as repression. Being and Transcendence
Maslow had great hope and optimism for the human race. Although self-actualization might seem to be the pinnacle of personal human achievement, he viewed Humanistic Psychology, or Third Force Psychology , as just another step in our progression:
I should say also that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still “higher” Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, self-actualization, and the like…These new developments may very well offer a tangible, usable, effective satisfaction of the “frustrated idealism” of many quietly desperate people, especially young people. These psychologies give promise of developing into the life-philosophy, the religion-surrogate, the value-system, the life-program that these people have been missing. Without the transcendent and the transpersonal, we get sick, violent, and nihilistic, or else hopeless and apathetic. We need something “bigger than we are” to be awed by and to commit ourselves to in a new, naturalistic, empirical, non-churchly sense, perhaps as Thoreau and Whitman, William James and John Dewey did. (pp. iii-iv; Maslow, 1968)
Although Maslow wrote about this need for a Fourth Force Psychology in 1968, it was not until the year 1998 that APA President Martin Seligman issued his call for the pursuit of positive psychology as an active force in the field of psychology. Maslow believed that all self-actualizing people were involved in some calling or vocation, a cause outside of themselves, something that fate has called them to and that they love doing. In so doing, they devote themselves to the search for Being-values (or B-values; Maslow, 1964, 1967/2008, 1968). The desire to attain self-actualization results in the B-values acting like needs. Since they are higher than the basic needs, Maslow called them metaneeds . When individuals are unable to attain these goals, the result can be metapathology , a sickness of the soul. Whereas counselors may be able to help the average person with their average problems, metapathologies may require the help of a metacounselor , a counselor trained in philosophical and spiritual matters that go far beyond the more instinctoid training of the traditional psychoanalyst (Maslow, 1967/2008). The B-values identified by Maslow (1964) are an interesting blend of the characteristics of self-actualizing individuals and the human needs described by Henry Murray: truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, dichotomu-transcendence, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, necessity, completion, justice, order, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency.
Transcendence is typically associated with people who are religious, spiritual, or artistic, but Maslow said that he found transcendent individuals amongst creative people in a wide variety of vocations (including business, managers, educators, and politicians), though there are not many of them in any field. Transcendence, according to Maslow, is the very highest and most holistic level of human consciousness, which involves relating to oneself, to all others, to all species, to nature, and to the cosmos as an end rather than as a means (Maslow, 1971). It is essential that individuals not be reduced to the role they play in relation to others, transcendence can only be found within oneself (Maslow, 1964, 1968). Maslow’s idea is certainly not new. Ancient teachings in Yoga tell us that there is a single universal spirit that connects us all, and Buddhists describe this connection as interbeing . The Abrahamic religions teach us that the entire universe was created by, and therefore is connected through, one god. It was Maslow’s hope that a transcendent Fourth Force in psychology would help all people to become self-actualizing. In Buddhist terms, Maslow was advocating the intentional creation of psychological Bodhisattvas. Perhaps this is what Maslow meant by the term metacounselor.
Connections Across Cultures: Is Nothing Sacred?
Maslow described some lofty ambitions for humanity in Toward a Psychology of Being (1968) and The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1971), as well as some challenges we face along the way. Transcendence, according to Maslow, is a loss of our sense of Self, as we begin to feel an intimate connection with the world around us and all other people. But transcendence is exceedingly difficult when we are hindered by the defense mechanism of desacralization. What exactly does the word “sacred” mean? It is not easily found in psychological works. William James often wrote about spiritual matters, but not about what is or is not sacred. Sigmund Freud mentioned sacred prohibitions in his final book, Moses and Monotheism (Freud, 1939/1967), but he felt that anything sacred was simply a cultural adaptation of all children’s fear of challenging their father’s will (and God was created as a symbol of the mythological father). A dictionary definition of sacred says that it is “connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.” However, there is another definition that does not require a religious context: “regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual” (The Oxford American College Dictionary, 2002). Maslow described desacralization as a rejection of the values and virtues of one’s parents. As a result, people grow up without the ability to see anything as sacred, eternal, or symbolic. In other words, they grow up without meaning in their lives.
The process of resacralization, which Maslow considered an essential task of therapists working with clients who seek help in this critical area of their life, requires that we have some concept of what is sacred. So, what is sacred? Many answers can be found, but there does seem to be at least one common thread.
Christians have long believed that forgiveness lies at the heart of faith. Psychologists have recently found that forgiveness may also lie at the heart of emotional and physical well-being.
David Myers & Malcolm Jeeves (2003)
…Compassion is the wish that others be free of suffering. It is by means of compassion that we aspire to attain enlightenment. It is compassion that inspires us to engage in the virtuous practices that lead to Buddhahood. We must therefore devote ourselves to developing compassion.
The Dalai Lama (2001)
I have been engaged in peace work for more than thirty years: combating poverty, ignorance, and disease; going to sea to help rescue boat people; evacuating the wounded from combat zones; resettling refugees; helping hungry children and orphans; opposing wars; producing and disseminating peace literature; training peace and social workers; and rebuilding villages destroyed by bombs. It is because of the practice of meditation – stopping, calming, and looking deeply – that I have been able to nourish and protect the sources of my spiritual energy and continue this work.
Thich Nhat Hanh (1995)
…Our progress is the penetrating of the present moment, living life
8 Picture-perfect children’s clothing brands great for photos and daily life
I love finding a good deal on my kids’ clothes. The mom you see perusing the clearance rack? She could very well be me!
The big discount brands, while great for the rough and tumble play of a kid, often favor graphics and logos over classic styles. And especially when photographing children, I want clothes that are timeless and not distracting.
In an effort to minimize the clutter and overstuffed drawers typical of a family with kids, I have made an effort to buy our family less clothing. As such, I want every item of clothing to be durable and classic. I know we won’t mind having less if it is going to last longer and decrease the clutter in our home (plus the big bonus of less laundry!).
And I want every item of clothing to photograph beautifully!
With this new approach to dressing my family, I have spent the last several months searching for clothing brands that fit the bill. I have found myself drawn to lines created by women around the world that offer comfortable, classic clothing that will last.
I love to support other female business owners and these options are perfect for portrait sessions and daily life.
Canvas House Designs This simple dress from Canvas House Designs is perfect to let the beauty of the tulip field shine. Meg, a mother of 5 learned how to sew as a youngster and began making clothing for her own children when they were babies. Like me, she desired clothes that would withstand the test of time and style and through that Canvas House Designs was born.
You are going to love the natural fabrics, the gentle colors, and the timeless silhouettes. Every item transitions beautifully from special occasions to play time to photo sessions seamlessly.
I am particularly smitten with the linen dresses and the adorable little bloomers!
EmmiFaye This little romper from EmmiFaye shows off those sweet baby rolls. I was immediately drawn to the soft fabrics and adorable designs of EmmiFaye. The sweet little bonnets, carefully curated prints, and classic designs make every item in this shop photo-worthy!
Even better, this is a business run by a mom who, like so many of us photographers, has taken her love of an art form and used it to support her family.
Her gauze baby bonnets are my absolute favorite and I could photograph little ones in those all day long!
JillyAtlanta This JillyAtlanta design feels like it could be from any time period, making it so that this photo is timeless. Are you handy with a sewing machine? Then you are going to love this brand!
Jill, the owner of JillyAtlanta, is a seamstress and a pattern maker. This gives you the option to buy remade clothing or purchase patterns to make your own clothing in the fabrics and colors of your choice!
I love all the luxurious details that JillyAtlanta includes in her designs. Darts, pleats, gathers, tucks, and linings are not always found in children’s clothing. And yet, these little details make all the difference in fit and quality, making these clothing items beautiful and long-lasting.
I have purchased several patterns from this brand and find them easy to understand.
jo + brett I just love how easy and simple this piece from jo + brett is! If you love linen clothes in natural colors with classic silhouettes, you are going to fall head over heels for jo + brett! This collection of dresses, tops, and rompers is enough to make any photographer rush to a field of wildflowers for an impromptu photo session!
Even better? This line of clothing is committed to being eco friendly and is ethically made in California. Every item uses only 100% natural materials which means that they are perfect for sensitive skin and for the earth.
I adore the supple softness and gorgeous details in her designs and think they are perfect for play or portraits.
Lainey’s Room My girls absolutely adore their Lainey’s Room necklace and I love how sweet and age-appropriate it looks in photos. No outfit is complete without accessories! And Lainey’s Room makes some of the cutest accessories around.
Lori, a mom of two, has a background in pottery and sculpture. She brings this fine art touch to her collection of necklaces, hair accessories, and bracelets.
The simple designs and natural tones of the recycled materials make these a perfect “something special” to add to any photo session wardrobe. My daughters love their necklace and I know we will be adding more to our collection soon!
Little Cotton Clothes The simple shapes of Little Cotton Clothes allow kids to move easily so that no pose feels uncomfortable. Little Cotton Clothes, based in England, features a variety of clothing made from natural fabrics. The items range in sizing from babies to women, making it the perfect choice for when you want to coordinate the whole family.
The clothing that founders Imogen and Leonie design are inspired by their fun-filled days growing up in the English countryside. Each piece is simple, high quality, and designed to ‘let children be children.’ This means that you can run, jump, spin, climb and do all of the things kids are supposed to do in Little Cotton Clothes!
I love the modern colors paired with the classic look of their simple clothing. This keeps photos looking current without looking trendy, which is exactly what you want.
Noisy Forest This little dress by Noisy Forest is so sweet and pretty and looks as though it could be from any era. Inspired by the forests and the sounds of singing birds in the nature around her home, Noisy Forest was created by owner Vaide. Committed to creating clothes that are affordable and beautiful, this brand is perfect for photos and for play.
You are going to adore the details that only a designer who is also a mom would know to include. The soft fabrics feel good against a kid’s skin and the shapes of the designs allow for lots of movement.
I love that each piece in her store pairs so beautifully with the next. This means that I can mix and match items for single outfits and know that when I have multiple kids in the frame, they are going to look great together.
Tiny Stories I love how the rich tones of the Tiny Stories clothing line all coordinate so beautifully together. Tiny Stories is full of coordinating items in fantastic colors and natural fabrics. This means that I can have them all in a drawer and my kids can pick a top and a bottom and be ready to go. And my kids reach for these items often!
Comfort is often an afterthought in choosing clothing for photo sessions. But in my experience, if the clothes feel itchy/restrictive/pinched, the kids aren’t going to be happy. And they certainly aren’t going to want their photos taken! Tiny Stories solves this problem by creating simple pieces that feel as great as they look.
I love classic style and heirloom clothing. I appreciate the craftsmanship that each of these company’s pours into every piece of their clothing. I’m inspired by it .
This means that not only do my kids have clothes that they can play in and look great in, but their wardrobes also encourage me to pick-up my camera. The creative work of these clothing entrepreneurs fuels my own creativity. And I think that is pretty wonderful.
In my effort to simplify my home and life, I have found that being more intentional in purchasing our clothing has had a ripple effect. Not only are our drawers less cluttered, but my photos are cleaner without the distractions of crazy graphics. I am more inspired to take more photos . And I am proud to support other women who are working to support their families with their creativity.
Have an independent clothing brand you love? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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