While most often associated with the humanistic psychology of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, the notion of self-actualization was first introduced by the German psychiatrist Kurt Goldstein. In developing a holistic theory of the personality significantly influenced by gestalt theory, Goldstein (1939) argues that individuals are naturally drawn to realize what he conceives as their own innate potential. Self-actualization can therefore be considered a theory of motivation, with the tendency to self-actualize posited as the basic drive around which all other needs organize themselves. Significantly, Goldstein’s original conception was not portrayed as a developmental goal, but rather as a ubiquitous factor serving to organize our basic relationship with the world. This aspect of Goldstein’s theory has perhaps come to be obscured by the way the notion of self-actualization later came to be popularized by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.
For Maslow (1943), self-actualization is construed...
KeywordsHumanistic Psychology Late Vision Spiritual Tradition Gestalt Theory Buddhist Teaching
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