Humanistic Psychology-Theory of Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow

Humanistic psychology-hierarchy of needs

The theory of Abraham Maslow lies at the basis of humanistic psychology . When he started his career, there were only two main trends in psychology: the episodic, behavioral approach, and the clinical, psychoanalytic approach. But for him it was not enough. For this reason, he focused on human growth and development.

Maslow ‘s biggest strength was to raise the important issues for us all, namely:

What does it mean to be a good human being?

What are human beings capable of?

What brings happiness, creativity and realization to people?

How can we determine if a person has fully perfected their capabilities if we do not know what they are?

How can we rise above the immaturity and insecurity of childhood and under what circumstances are we able to do it?

How can we design a model of human nature by attributing our extraordinary potential and at the same time controlling our irrational imperfect country?

And most important … What is at the heart of Abraham Maslow’s theory – What can motivate a mentally healthy individual?

The needs that are usually considered the sourceof the theories of motivation, are the so-called physiological stimuli. These include homeostatically maintaining basic needs such as sleep, food, sexual need, etc.

It is impossible and also useless to make a list of basic physiological needs because it could include what number of needs a person wants, dependent on the degree of specification of the description.

Not all needs can be defined as homeostatic. Whether sexual desire, drowsiness, activity itself, and physical exertion, as well as minor behavior in animals are homeostatic, has not yet been proven.

In addition, the list will not include different sensory pleasures / tastes, smells, tickles, groans / that are probably physiological and could become targets of motivational behavior. Nor do we know how to interpret the fact that the body has both a tendency to inertia, laziness and minimal effort, and also has a need for activity, stimulation and excitement.

Undoubtedly, physiological needs are the strongest of all needs.

When they are not satisfied all other needs are pushed, ie, when a person is hungry, he can think of nothing but food.

If the physiological needs are relatively well met, a new group emerges that can be classified as a need for security / safety, stability, dependence, protection, absence of fear, anxiety and chaos; the need for structure, order, law and constraints; from power to the patron, and so on. / RTI & gt;

Everything that has been said about physiological needs is valid, albeit to a lesser extent, for these desires. They can in the same way dominate the body. Again, as with the hungry man, it is clear that the dominant goal is a strong determinant not only in the present worldview and philosophy of people, but also in their view of the future and values.

If we want to see these needs directly and clearly, we need to turn to neurotic or almost neurotic individuals, to the economically and socially depressed, or to social chaos, the revolution, the crushing of power.

In these extreme conditions we can see the emergence of security needs only as phenomena such as the general preference for stable and secure work, the desire to have a savings deposit and all sorts of insurance. The necessities of security find their manifestation also in the preference of the known to unknown things / acquaintances before strangers, places, etc. /.

Security demand finds the purest form in manic-impulsive psychosis . These patients manage to maintain balance by avoiding any unknown or unknown thing and organizing their limited world in such a neat, disciplined way that they can rely on everything in it. They are trying to organize the world so that something unexpected (dangers) is impossible.

If the physiological needs and safety needs are relatively well met, the need for love, affection and sense of belonging will arise and the whole cycle we have already described will be repeated with this new center. The need for love involves giving and receiving love.

Achieving it will be more important than anything else in the world, and man will be able to forget how ever when the Gould was above all, love seemed unreal, superfluous, unimportant. The necessity of belonging is to not you are separated from your roots, your home, your group, your home and family, and so on.

Love and affection, as well as their possible expression in sexuality, are viewed ambiguously, and they are usually surrounded by limitations and inhibitions, but at the core lies the frustration of the need for love.

For the latter, many clinical trials have been done than any other need outside the physiological. Love is not synonymous with sex, since human sexual behavior is multiple-determined.

All people in our society (with some pathological exceptions) have a need or a desire for a stable, firm, usually high self-esteem, self-esteem or sense of self-worth, and the feeling that they are appreciated by others. These needs can therefore be classified into two subgroups.

They are, in the first place, a desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, majesty and competence, confidence in the world, independence and freedom. Secondly, this is a desire for reputation or prestige (defined as respect or respect by other people).

Satisfying the need for high self-esteem leads to a sense of self-worth, of value, strength, ability and adequacy, to the feeling that you are useful and necessary in this world. But its frustration leads to feelings of inferiority, weakness and helplessness. They in turn give rise to basic discouragement or other compulsive or neurotic tendencies.

From other sources, we are increasingly aware of the dangers of self-assessment of foreign opinions rather than actual opportunities, competence, and adequacy of the task. The most stable and hence the most robust self-esteem is based on earnest respect by others, not on external fame and reputation.

Even if all these needs are met, we can still (though not always) expect to develop again discontent and restlessness unless one does what is individually fit. Musicians have to make music, paint artists, poets to write to be at peace with themselves.

They must be true to their own nature. This need can be called self-actualization. Self-actualization is the desire of man to become more and more what can become, to realize its own potential.

The general characteristic of self-realization needs, however, is that they arise from any prior satisfying of the physiological needs and the needs of security, love and respect. The hierarchy of needs is illustrated in Fig. 1

As soon as other / higher needs appear, they, not the physiological hunger, conquer the body. And when they are satisfied in their turn, there are new / even higher / needs, and so on. This is what is meant when it is said that the basic human needs are organized in a hierarchy of relative power.

The main conclusion of this thought is that, in the theory of motivation, satisfaction is becoming just as important as depression because it frees the body from the domination of relatively more physiological needs, thus allowing the emergence of other, more social objectives.

When chronically satisfied, physiological needs, along with their partial goals, cease to exist as active determinants or behavioral organizers. Now they only exist in a potential form, in the sense that they can arise again and dominate in the body if their satisfaction is thwarted.

But a satisfying need to be a need. Only unsatisfied needs can dominate the body and organize behavior. If the hunger is satisfied, it ceases to play a role in the current dynamics of the individual.

An interesting fact is that, in Maslow’s theory, it is precisely those individuals in whom a certain need has always been spoken will react differently than those in which it is not.

Persons where a need is happily satisfied are best prepared to tolerate deprivation of satisfaction in the future. In addition, those who have been deprived in the past will react differently to the current satisfaction than those who have never been deprived.

The motives can be differentiated and classified according to the activity in the community. This includes motives for: community formation, fashion, crowd and panic behavior, rumors, lying, common motivation and activity, inclusion to community values ​​and norms. In this classification, the motives for the main forms of community interaction: co-operation, competition and industrialization are naturally found.

The motives for community formation are predetermined by the need to meet the needs of individuals. Outside of the community, neither the physiological needs of food, clothing, sexual necessity, security and protection, emotional inclusion and recognition nor respect and self-actualization can be satisfied.

The motives for community formation can be shared shared values ​​- sports, scientific, political, religious ideas and values.

Studying phenomenology is an important part of the humanistic approach to psychology, which emphasizes the specific characteristics of the human species (for example, our ability to think about our own experiences), the intrinsic positive aspects of human nature (including altruism and love).

Uniqueness perceives every human experience and the potential for the mental growth of every person. We will see that this perspective has influenced the theories of personality and mental disorders.


  1. “Personality and Motivation” – Abraham Maslow, 2001
  2. “Motivating Faith in Yourself” – John Wytimore, 2012
  3. “On the Humanism of one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century” – Desislava Kostova, 2012