Abraham Maslow

Humanistic Psychology

Abraham Maslow was born on April 1st 1908 and died on June 8th of 1970. During this time period many things occurred including the Holocaust, World War II, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His career included teaching as a professor at schools including Brandeis University, Columbia University, and Brooklyn College. Maslow focused on the positive qualities in a person rather than the negatives. Abraham Maslow belonged to the humanistic school of thought. Maslow studied how people are motivated to achieve certain needs. He discovered that a person needs to be able to fulfill a category completely before being able to move up to the next level. These levels that Maslow has established are known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and is shown in a pyramid (image below). Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization.

Abraham Maslow was important to psychology because he developed humanistic psychology, because he wasn't satisfied with how psychoanalysts and behaviorists viewed people and their behaviors. Rather than focusing on what people were the product of, he focused on the potential people had to become all they could be. After developing this theory, many other later psychologists developed different elements to contribute to humanistic psychology that Maslow created. Maslow is considered the father of humanistic psychology and without him there is a possibility psychology would not be what it is today. With the help of his hierarchy of needs model he made humanism a recognized psychological model. During the time period Abraham Maslow lived through many tragic and devastating things that took place and involved a horrifying number of lives lost. With Maslow seeing this negativeness again and again throughout his life span it could have shaped how he thought our minds and bodies worked psychologically. Also, Maslow had the seen the other approaches before him that were already developed and based his theory around what he disapproved of those theories. If those theories had not yet been developed, his thoughts on psychology could be different.


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