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- The highest level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (others are deficiency needs)
- A term popular when discussing personality from a humanistic perspective
- According to Maslow's theory of motivation, "becoming everything that one is capable of becoming"; developing your potential.
- Carl Rogers also stressed the importance of self-actualisation: we have a basic tendency to strive to become as fulfilled as we can be.
- Demonstrates our ability to change and develop - as our basic needs are met we strive to 'improve ourselves' in order to feel more fulfilled.
- Thought to enhance psychological health
- Provides the desire and motivation to continue developing one’s skills and identity
- Part of Freud's psychodynamic theory
- Conflict between the different elements of the psyche creates anxiety
- To counter this (and protect the ego) we use defence mechanisms.
- Used to cope with everyday events we would like to avoid, such as repression (refusing to acknowledge feelings such as grief, anger etc), and projection (attributing our own feelings to others rather than acknowledging them).
- They are used to explain why we might behave in particular ways.
- Psychoanalytic theory proposes that our past experience, and the ways we protect ourselves against intrapsychic conflict influence the type of person we become and the personalities we develop.
- George Kelly (1955)
- A theory of personality devised to understand conscious experience.
- Uses personal bipolar dimensions such as cold-friendly, stimulating-dull.
- Uses repertory grid
- Fixed role therapy can be used to change patterns of behaviour, by writing a description of a person that differs significantly from the way the participant normally construes the world, and then acting out this character for a few weeks.
- Sigmund Freud
- Explains the unconscious interaction between elements of the psyche (id, ego, super-ego) and the defence mechanisms we use to cope with the resulting anxiety (angst) caused by these interactions.
- Psychodynamics offers an explanation for the resulting dynamic between these elements of the psyche.
- Forms the basis for psychoanalytic psychology and psychoanalytic therapy
- An explanation of relationship formation in early childhood from psychodynamic theory
- Freud suggested that children progress through a series of psychosexual stages where different parts of the body assume significance, and drive particular behaviours and feelings.
- In the third of these (the phallic stage, 3 to 6 years), their source of pleasure is their genitals.
- Freud theorised that boys in the phallic stage felt sexual desire for their mothers and wanted to kill their fathers who they saw as competition for their mother's love. He further proposed that girls have penis envy (anxiety due to not having one).
- It is a theory heavily based in Freud’s own social experience and general cultural attitudes in the 19th Century rather than on behavioural observation
- A critical part of the Freudian explanation of childhood development
- Freud used this theory to explain how children's personalities were influenced by their parents
- Freud used this concept to explain the effect of childhood experience on adult life