Self Actualization and Humanistic Psychology

Self actualization is when a person achieves their highest potential. Carl Rogers believed that this is what leads us to do the things we do. He believed that all people are striving for self actualization and that are behavior is focused on us getting there.

self actualization and humanistic psychology

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According to Rogers in order to reach self actualization we must be in congruence. This means that our ideal self and are actual self are close to the same. Our ideal self is who we would like to be while our real self is who we actually are.

Complete congruence is rare but when a person is close to their ideal self then they have a higher sense of self worth. Rogers also believed that those around us play a big part in how we view ourselves. He believed that we strive for positive regard from others and broke this down into two types of positive regard.

Unconditional Positive Regard

This is when people are loved and supported for who they are. This allows them to try new things even if the outcome isn’t positive. This type of regard allows people to become self actualized.

Conditional Positive Regard

This is when people get positive regard because they do things that others see as right. Someone who grows up with this kind of regard is likely to seek out the approval of others when they are older.

Rogers believed that people were able to reach self actualization if the conditions were right. This included personality as well as the environment around a person. What do you think? Is self actualization possible? What conditions are needed to reach it? Let me know in the comments.

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