Humanistic and Existential Personality Theories

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

People who look for self-actualization tend to embrace such values as justice, truth, simplicity, goodness, and oneness. Besides, self-actualizing people do not have any psychopathologies, efficient view on reality, need for autonomy and privacy (alone but not lonely), advanced interpersonal relationships, creativeness (Feist & Feist, 2002). Moreover, self-actualizing individuals do not pay attention to unimportant differences between people, and they easily detect fakeness in others.

What are the strengths of the humanistic theories regarding their explanation of personality?

First of all, the humanistic theory offers a very optimistic view of personality. It is very different from the determinist theory that sees an individual as lacking power over oneself. In humanism, a person is the source of virtue and power. Secondly, humanism is welcomed by many practicing psychologists as a theory focused on helping people improve. Finally, humanism is universal and penetrates several different fields such as management and economy, criminology, literature among others (Heffner, 2015).

What are the limitations of the humanistic theories concerning their explanation of personality?

Humanistic theories are rather complicated from the practical point of view because they do not provide psychologists with clear techniques designed to deal with various problems. Humanistic theories do not have recommendations as to treatments. Besides, when it comes to clients with serious mental and psychological issues – humanism is particularly powerless. Moreover, humanism makes statements that are not accepted by everyone. For example, according to humanistic theories all people are virtuous, which fails to explain why many people choose unethical behaviors even though they are aware of ethical alternatives (Heffner, 2015).

What are the strengths and limitations of May’s existential theory regarding their explanation of personality?

Existential theories provide a deep analysis of human personalities from several different perspectives such as the impacts of the world around, the influences of close people, and the personal peculiarities of an individual. Yet, the individualistic approach of these theories creates limitations concerning the external factors that could alter people’s behaviors (A Critical Analysis of the Existential Therapy, 2010).

Reference List

A Critical Analysis of the Existential Therapy. (2010). Counseling Therapy. Web.

Feist, J., & Feist,. J. (2002). Theories of Personality (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Heffner, C. L. (2015). Research on Humanistic Theory. Web.

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