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Two Paths to Self-Actualization: Maslow & Rogers

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Michelle Greer

on 30 July 2015

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Transcript of Two Paths to Self-Actualization: Maslow & Rogers

The Fully Functioning Person
According to Rogers, a fully-functioning individual is aware of both the good and the bad in life and is willing to experience everything equally and fully.
(Schultz & Schultz, 2013)
Validity of the Theory
"At all times there is going on in the human organism a flow of experiencings to which the individual can turn again and again as a referent in order to discover the meaning of his experience," (Rogers, 1975)
Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy establishes that certain needs, the most basic for survival, must be met before an individual can hope to fulfill other more psychological needs
(Schultz & Schultz, 2013)
Validity of the Theory
Modern marriage has evolved as a reflection of how easily people have been able to achieve their survival needs. Now people look to their partners for individual fulfillment, more than financial support (Finkel, Cheung, Emery,Carswell, & Larson, 2015).
This phrase drives Humanistic therapy, but what does it mean?
Two Paths to Self-Actualization: Maslow & Rogers
Both therapists are fathers of Humanistic approach to Psychology. Maslow because he developed the initial framework and Rogers because his client-centered therapy became the cornerstone for Humanistic therapeutic practice.
(Schultz & Schultz, 2013)
According to Rogers, life could only have meaning if we as humans learned to take our experiences, reflect on them, and discover the purpose behind those experiences. This became the basis for his Person Centered Therapy.
Both theories are necessary for a full understanding of Humanistic psychology and practice...
...However without basic survival needs being met, a person will have no interest in self-reflection or growth. This means that Maslow's theories are more valid. Its essential we regard the needs pyramid before we can even consider self-actualization as a possibility.
Maslow's Definition
The top of the pyramid, when a person has all their needs met and are therefore free to pursue their passions, "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write...to be ultimately at peace,"
(Maslow qtd. in Schultz & Schultz, p.249, 2013)
Rogers' Definition
Rogers referred to Self-Actualization as being a Fully Functioning person. He did not see this as a goal to work towards, but rather a way of being that made life more worth living, no matter what you did.
(Schultz & Schultz, p.274, 2013)
Finkel, E., Cheung, E., Emery, L., Carswell, K., & Larson, G. (2015). The
Suffocation Model: Why Marriage in America Is Becoming an All-or-
Nothing Institution. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(3), 238-244. doi:10.1177/0963721415569274

Rogers, C. (1975). Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being. The
Counseling Psychologist, 5(2), 2-10. doi:10.1177/001100007500500202

Schultz, D., & Schultz, S. (2013). Theories of Personality (10th ed.).
Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Both Humanists saw "Self-Actualization" and "Fully Functioning" as the ultimate potential an individual should strive toward

However Maslow did not believe Self-Actualization was even feasible unless a person's life was already well developed, centered, and with a certain modicum of comfort and control

Meanwhile Rogers thought a person could fully function under any life-circumstances, though it would take more self-reflection and hard work the more chaotic a person's life was

While I would like to think Rogers had the right idea, I do not think people are capable of this level of growth and emotional maturity unless they have already achieved the lower levels on Maslow's pyramid
In Modern Society a person must...
In today's modern society, technology both pulls us together as well as keeps us at arms length. This can make forging the human bonds we need to fulfill the 3rd level of Maslow's pyramid all the more difficult. It has become important to make these bonds with people, but also to learn how to block out the messages on social media sites that make self-acceptance more difficult. There is a lot of hate online, and the increase in media access has only made body image issues an even bigger problem, for both men and women. Yet we need social media as a source of connection as well as a way to express and communicate who we are to the world. The difficult part, is finding a balance in how we use technology to help us reach Self-Actualization, rather than being another barrier.
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