Humanistic Approaches

Humanistic perceptions on personality underline the individualized traits contributing to optimal welfare along with the integration of relational conditions that foster those qualities as the outcomes of proper development. They serve as alternatives to reductionistic- explanations and presuppositions of personality founded on static elements of self-concept. Humanistic psychologists acknowledge that personality development is a continuous process stimulated by the necessity for relative integration and guidance by hierarchical ordering of values, ever-expanding conscious awareness and choice. Theories including the person-centered theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are examples of humanistic approaches.

Comparison of Theories

The person-centered theory by Rogers postulate that individuals possess self-knowledge and self-healing attributes and that personality development is probable when facilitative conditions are present. The implication of the supposition demonstrates a correlation between environments and personality development. An individual’s inherent self-directive processes foster greater self-regulation, self-differentiation and acceptance. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides a standardized typology of human needs, organized hierarchically and that function as motivation inducements at divergent stages. He initially identifies five stages of human needs that are later advanced to eight stages. Maslow establishes a platform on psychoanalytic and behaviorist approaches in relation to humanistic psychology.

The humanistic approaches of Maslow and Rogers confirm individuals’ potential and emphasize the significance of personal development .Both psychologists assess the self-actualization concept. Maslow focuses on the characteristics and comprehension of the actualization process whilst Rogers analyzes the characteristics, and further determines approaches that achieve the actualization process and hindrances to attaining it. Further, the theories affirm that human beings are inherently well-natured and that environmental and psychological challenges influence their deviation. Both theories employ similar approaches in terms of strategies that individuals pursue to accomplish self-actualization and validate that most basic necessities require to be satisfied first before individuals achieve self-actualization. They also acknowledge that acceptance is more influential than the need for self-actualization. Nevertheless, whereas their theories share similarities, they also contain several differences.

The person-centered theory implies that self actualization involves the complete functioning person. An individual’s inclinations are confined to striving, actualizing, and enhancing experiences. A fully functioning person is considered part of the self-actualization process – since the ideal self is congruent with the actual behavior. An individual possesses the capacity for self-determination and one’s ideologies, actions and feelings are regarded aspects of development. The theory presumes that most individuals are capable of achieving their desires, goals and aspirations; and it is this achievement that is equated to the self-actualization process. A self-actualized individual experiences in the present and also reacts in the moment. Such a person is not restricted to the structure of his past experiences but is rather a present resource experiencing the moment. He or she lives liberally and subjectively, in an existential confrontation of each moment. In essence, such individuals’ experiences, feelings and actions are consistent with the self-image that reflects the ideal-self. Alternatively, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs affirms that only a few individuals can achieve self-actualization. The theory identifies the self –actualization process as the highest and most prioritized need that cannot be easily attained (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). According to this theory, individuals who reach self-actualization are very creative and intelligent.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Development

Maslow asserts that an individual’s personality is developed by personal ideologies forming the foundation of their life experiences. An individual’s experiences are useful in the transformation and discovery of the inner personality. He believed in peak experience where a person experiences a moment   of greatest happiness and contentment. According to Maslow, these experiences aid in the development of an individual in discovering full potential .Maslow divided his hierarchy into two different overarching kinds of needs constituting growth needs and deficiency needs (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). The difference between these needs is the changes in motivation while needs are achieved. When motivation increases, growth needs are achieved and when motivation decreases, deficiency needs are achieved. Self-actualization involves personal development; hence it is a growth need. Growth needs are derived from the desire to develop as a person and when an individual fulfills growth needs; his or her motivation also increases.

Components of Person-Centered Theory

Person centered theory elements that contribute to personality development include, ideal self – the person one strives to become ,self-worth –what a person thinks of himself or herself  and self- image . The conditional positive regard and unconditional positive regard also contribute to personality development (Woodward, 2020). Congruence and empathy are required to encourage authenticity and understanding between parties involved.

I can relate most to the person-centered theory. I agree that authentic relationships of any kind are nurtured from empathy and understanding. My relationships with friends have particularly flourished due to authenticity. In turn, trust and honesty have been enhanced in my relationships. The desire to become the ideal self and enhance self –image has contributed to personal development; and with this desire, I have been able to significantly empower myself.

Conclusively, both theories are significant in personal development. The incorporation of intersubjective and empathic approaches to persuade and comprehend actual experiences of individuals contributes to development.













Aruma, E. & Hanachor, M., 2017. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and assessment of needs in community development.

Woodward, L. (2020). Carl Rogers. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual        Differences: Models and Theories, 95-99.

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