Humanistic psychology and self-esteem : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread

How do current Humanistic psychologists include self-esteem in their thoery?

-- Michelle Im (, May 02, 2004


Hi Michelle, I am not an expert on current Humanistic Psychology, but I will offer my views and suggestion. Maslow (one of the fathers of Humanistic Psychology) developed a theory of a hierarchy of needs, where for the most part the lower needs had to be relatively satisfied to allow you more attention to the higher needs. The following is a list of his categories of needs from the lowest to the highest: physiological, safety, love (and belonging), esteem, self-actualization. Some people also squeeze cognitive needs and esthetic needs right before the self-actualization needs category. One complication is that maybe self-esteem, recognition from others, saftey, and our need for power overlap, at least at times. That would put self-esteem in possibly in the following need categories of Maslow: esteem, love & belonging, and possibly safety. Power needs (not one of Maslow major categories) might also be related. For a short summary of one interpretation of Maslow's hierarchy needs go to . In my opinion Maslow's theory (presented about 50 years ago) was a breath of fresh air, when many in psychology were often pessimistic and often focused on simplier activites. However, some might see Maslow as somewhat overly optimistic about human nature in terms of morality and how much we can grow (i.e., self-actualization). You might judge this yourself. I hope this helps. Paul

-- Paul Kleinginna (, May 02, 2004.

I checked Don Moss's edited book Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology: A Historical and Biographical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, 1999) and it included only two index entries to self-esteem. You might check the items referenced in the critique there:

Bednar, R. L. & Peterson, S. R. (1995). Self-esteem: Paradoxes and innovations in clinical theory and practice. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Greenier, K. D., Kernis, M. H., & Waschul, S. B. (1995). Not all high (or low) self-esteem people are the same: Theory and research on stability of self-esteem. In M. H Kernis (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem (pp. 51-71). New York: Plenum Press. [the entire book by Kernis is relevant]

-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (, May 03, 2004.

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