Humanistic Views of Human Behavior

The following is a list of some basic viewpoints with which most humanisticpsychologists agree:

1. A person is more than just a sum of his parts. A person should be viewed holistically.
2. A person does not live alone. People are social by nature and their interpersonal interactions are a part oftheir develpment.
3. A person is aware. People have an awareness of theirexistence and themselves. How a person reacts to a situation is in partinfluenced by previous events. Future responses will be influenced by past andpresent experiences.
4. A person has free will. People are aware ofthemselves; therefore, they make conscious choices. Animals, unlike humans, aredriven by instincts and do not reach a conscious level of choice.
5. Aperson is consciously deliberate. A person seeks certain things for himselfsuch as value or meaning in his life. How a person seeks meaning or value forhimself results in a personal identity. This personal identity is whatdistinguishes one person from another.

Humanistic psychology centersaround the holistic development of a person. There are three key components ofreaching the highest level of self-understanding and development:
1. Self-actualization;
2. Self-fulfillment; and
3. Self-realization.

Thereare different viewpoints on how each of these stages can be achieved. Erickson(1980) believed that through positive resolution of conflicts within thepsychosocial stages, a full self-understanding could be reached. Rogers (1961)believed a full self-understanding could be achieved if a person learned how totrust his own judgment and feelings. Maslow's (1954) way of reachingself-understanding was by first satisfying lower needs. The consensus is thatno matter how self-understanding is reached, it will result in giving a personthe ability to make better choices for themselves.