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Humanistic and Existential Personality Theories

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Humanistic and Existential Personality Theories

Alan M. Pask

PSY 405

October 19, 2015

Jason Lambert

University of Phoenix Material                

Humanistic and Existential Personality Theories Worksheet

Fill-in the Blank

  1. Abraham Maslow proposed the Holistic-dynamic theory of personality.

  1. According to Maslow, self-fulfillment and realization of one’s full potential are examples of self-actualization needs.
  1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs proposes that lower level needs must be satisfied before higher level needs will become motivators for behavior.
  1. The belief that matter evolves from simpler to more complex forms is formative tendency.
  1. The ideal self, according to Rogers, is one’s view of self as one wishes to be.
  1. Carl Rogers believed that conditions of worth, incongruence, defensiveness, and disorganization are all considered barriers to psychological health.
  1. Rogers believed that congruence therapist, unconditional positive regard, and empathic listening are necessary elements of psychotherapy.
  1. Intentionally is the structure that gives meaning to experience and allows people to make decisions about the future.
  1. May proposed that existential freedom is the freedom of action, whereas essential freedom is the freedom of being.
  1. The basic concepts of existential theory are being-in-the-world and nonbeing.


Match the following theoretical components with their correct theorist or theorists.

Theoretical component


1. Unconditional positive regard

B. Carl Rogers

2. Eros

C. Rollo May

3. Love and belongingness needs

A. Abraham Maslow

4. The self-concept

B. Carl Rogers

5. Guilt

C. Rollo May

6. Levels of awareness

B. Carl Rogers

7. Self-actualization

A. Abraham Maslow

8. Neurotic anxiety

C. Rollo May


  1. According to Maslow, what are the characteristics of self-actualizing people? Why are these characteristics important?

Maslow believed that all humans had the potential for self-actualization. To be self-actualizing, Maslow believed, people must be regularly satisfied in their others needs and must also embrace Maslow’s B-values (truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, simplicity, totality, effortlessness, humor, and autonomy). Using these two criteria, Maslow guessed that the psychologically healthiest 1% of the adult population of the United States would be self-actualizing (Feist, Feist, & Roberts, 2013). Maslow listed 15 tentative qualities that characterize self-actualizing people to at least some degree.

  1. More efficient perception of reality
  2. Acceptance of self, others, and nature
  3. Spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness
  4. Problem-centering
  5. The need for privacy
  6. Autonomy
  7. Continued freshness of appreciation
  8. The peak experience
  9. Gemeinschaftsgefuhl
  10. Profound interpersonal relations
  11. The democratic character structure
  12. Discrimination between means and ends
  13. Philosophical sense of humor
  14. Creativeness
  15. Resistance to enculturation

  1. What are the strengths of the humanistic theories in regard to their explanation of personality?

Like every theory, some people find the humanistic approach to be valid while others see it for the numerous inherent flaws. Some of the strengths of this theory include the focus on both the positive nature of humankind and the free will associated with change. Unlike Freud’s theory and the biological approach, which focus on determinism or our lack of power over ourselves, Maslow and others see the individual as very powerful.

A second positive aspect of the humanistic theory is the ease in which many of its aspects fit well with other approaches. Many therapists have adopted a humanistic undertone in their work with clients. While they may argue humanistic theory does not go far enough, they see the benefit of the core components in helping people change.



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