The Life and Theories of Abraham Maslow

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Humanistic psychology is the field of psychology which holds the beliefs that people can control their own behavior and that people naturally strive to reach their full potential (Feldman, 2009). Humanistic psychology discards the notion that neither biological processes nor environment are the underlying cause of human behavior, and instead states that humans attempt to innately endeavor their full potential. A prominent factor in humanistic psychology is free will. In opposition of determinism, which states that every event, including every human decision and action, is inevitable, free will states that individuals have the authority to make decisions over their life. Additionally, humanistic psychology holds the notion that people have the ability, if given the chance, to reach contentment and pure serenity (Feldman, 2009). One of the most influential theorists in the field of humanistic psychology was Abraham Maslow (Heylighen 1992).
This paper looks specifically at the life of Abraham Maslow, and his hierarchy of needs theory of which he is most known for. Along with describing his theory, there are a number of other significant terms created and used by Maslow which are also defined in this paper. The important terms are bolded throughout the paper and will comprise of the following:

• Hierarchy of needs theory
• Physiological needs
• Safety needs
• Belonging needs
• Esteem needs
• Deficiency needs
• Homeostasis
• Instinctual –needs
• Fixation
• Neurosis
• Philosophy of future
• Self-actualization
• Being needs
• Growth motivation

Abraham Harold Maslow was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 1, 1908, and was the oldest of seven children. His parents were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia, who wante...

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...aslow states that only a fraction of a percent of humans will ever reach the level of self-actualization, if the individual is always striving to reach the next level in the hierarchy of needs, with the goal of becoming self-actualized, they will always be evolving into a better state of self.

Works Cited

Boeree, G. C. (2006). Abraham Maslow. Retrieved from
Heylighen, F. (1992). A cognitive-systemic reconstruction of Maslow's theory of self- actualization. Behavioral Science, 37(1), 39.
Hoffman, E. E. (1992). The Last Interview of ABRAHAM MASLOW. Psychology Today, 25(1), 68-89.
Feldman, R. S. (2009). Understanding Psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Sumerlin, J. M. (1996). Brief Index of Self-Actualization: A Measure of Maslow's Model. Journal Of Social Behavior & Personality, 11(2), 253-271.
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