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Theories of Personality PowerPoint Presentation
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Theories of Personality

Theories of Personality

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Theories of Personality

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    1. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Theories of Personality Louis Hoffman, PhD Colorado School of Professional Psychology Lecture 5 - Humanistic & Existential Psychology

    2. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic Theory as Third Force 1st Behaviorism 2nd Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic The order is sometimes reversed for the 1st two forces 3rd- Humanistic Also sometimes called phenomenological to be more inclusive

    3. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 What Theories are Humanistic The Humanistic or Phenomenological Theories Humanistic Gestalt Client-centered Experiential (not all) Focusing Transactional Analysis Existential Reality Therapy (questionable)

    4. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanism & Humanistic Psychology Humanism Broader than humanistic psychology Not just contained to psychology Focuses on the study of being human Focuses on human potential Emphasis on protecting human rights & freedoms believed to be associated with expanding human potential Defends human dignity as understood by humanism Humanistic Psychology Most humanistic psychologist also identify as humanists Less connected to promoting the humanism value system (at least in the psychotherapy context) i.e., not all humanistic psychologists agree or participate with the broader humanism agenda

    5. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 What Make a Theory Humanistic?? HP focuses on The study of what it means to be human A very existential idea with different emphasis Positive view of human nature Often less positive view of society Human Potential Expanding human potential Freedom & human potential A Trust in People or Human Nature If obstacles removed, they will grow Trusts people to guide & direct growth & healing People should not be controlled, they should be free By force, fear, manipulation, or rhetoric

    6. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Self-Actualization This is a confusing topic!! Partially, because there has been so much disagreement over time Example: Maslow is criticized, at times, because he frequently changed his mind on what self-actualization was and how it was achieved

    7. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Self Actualization Trait v. State v. Process Trait: Once its achieved, you are there Rarely do individuals achieving self-actualization regress back to a pre-actualized state State: This is a temporary state that you achieve The more consistently an individual is in this state, the more self-actualized they are No one achieve a full self-actualization Process Self-actualization is not something you achieve, it is a process People may be self-actualizing, but are never self-actualized

    8. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Self-Actualization Trait Self-Actualization More popular early on, not very popular today Few Humanistic Psychologists take this position today. State & Process These two can overlap or fit together a degree Most Humanistic Psychologists today adhere to one of these two views or a mixture of them However, in general, self-actualization is not all that popular of a theme anymore

    9. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Self-Actualization The Buddha or Jesus Syndrome: Dangers of the Self-Actualization as an Acquired Trait When S-A viewed as state to be sought, but achieved only by few, it becomes a source of discouragement The myth of self-actualization may be more growth stunting than growth facilitating

    10. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Self-Actualizing Tendency This receives more positive attention in contemporary humanistic psychology Though different language often used A natural drive toward growth Many things inhibit this Bad life experiences Fear Poor self-image or lack of self-confidence Negative influences from society Therapy tries to identify & remove such growth barriers Allows for natural growth to occur

    11. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Agency What is agency? It refers to individuals acting as free being (agents) exercising their free will This is contrasted with the human as machine which is not acting as a free agent Humans can, and do, function on both levels at times

    12. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Agency People are as free as they become The less free people are, the more they are bound by their biology and their environment The more free they are, the more the self-actualizing tendency guides personality Therapists attempt to assist clients in becoming free agents

    13. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic Psychology & Behaviorism Agency (free will) is a major split between behaviorists & humanistic psychologists Was the Main Theme of Many of the Great Debates Behaviorists Generally (though not always) see people as not being free Otherwise, see they typically free aspects of people as something unworthy of study Note: Frequently does not apply to Cognitive Behaviorists Humanistic Psychologists Dont discount the influences cited by the behaviorists Rather, they say that they dont completely determine behavior or personality The more free a person becomes, the less their personality is determined by the behaviorist influences However, they are never fully free from these influences

    14. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic Psychology & Psychodynamic Psychology on Free Will Psychodynamic Also account for behavior influences Add to it the unconscious influences Three main influences then: 1) biology, 2) behaviorism, & 3) unconscious Early psychodynamic thinkers were more deterministic; later allowed more space for agency Still error more toward determinism than humanistic Humanistic Psychology Dont discount the unconscious (generally) In addition to 3 influences cited above, emphasize agency or the free will as another major influence

    15. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic Psychology & Free Will Otto Rank was really the first psychologist to take the will seriously Unfortunately, not many listened Ranks influence on psychology in the US was quite limited until Ernest Becker rediscovered his writing With the neglect of Rank, Humanistic Psychology was the first US psychology to really take the will seriously This influences many other theories including Psychodynamic Existential (which emerged after humanistic)

    16. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Self Rogers emphasized that the self is in process Stability is an illusion That which appears consistent, can change For some, it will likely change We may be able to plot a likely trajectory The Ideal Self Who wed like to be Can be: A ideal against which we measures ourselves (oppressive & stifling) A goal which we constantly are in pursuit of (positive motivation)

    17. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic Psychology & Relationships Desire for relationships & community is natural The healthy individual seeks healthy relationships The healthy individual seeks to make a positive contribution to the world Healthy relationships facilitate growth Congruent Degree that experience, communication, & experience are consistent Unconditional Positive Regard Empathetic Genuine

    18. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Conditions of Worth (Rogers) Definition: Aspects of ourselves we believe need to be to have worth or value These can distort thoughts, feelings, & experience Example: I must do or be like this in order to be loved or accepted Often not based on reality (i.e, you will still be loved & accepted!) This perception causes distortions in how other people are experienced Compare with transference Similar, but can be more broad

    19. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Subjectivity For humanistic thinkers, subjectivity is more important that objectivity Subjective experience has greater influence on feelings, thoughts, & behaviors Object reality often does not impact as greatly Subjective experience is more important in: Understanding the personality Therapy: helping people heal

    20. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Emotions Humanistic Psychology: Views all emotions as an important part of the human experience Historically has spend more time studying & considering the positive emotions Also spent less time pathologizing the negative emotions This was fleshed out more with the existentialists

    21. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 From Humanistic to Existential Psychology The primary difference between humanistic & existential psychology is one of emphasis Free Will Both believe in free will; humanistic are more optimistic about the degree of freedom we can attain People as basically good Both believe that people have a basic goodness; existential balances this more with our potential for evil

    22. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 From Humanistic to Existential Psychology Humanistic: The study of what it means to be human Existential: The study of what it means to exist Both are very broad Is all psychology humanistic & existential then? No, from these roots, general assumptions and values about what it means to be human have developed Most Humanistic & Existential thinkers share these

    23. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Humanistic/Existential Assumptions & Values People are basically good, but also have a potential for evil People are free, but not absolutely free A belief in human potential; an understanding of human limitation A valuing of subjective experience Not necessarily discarding the objective, though Ties to qualitative research & phenomenology The importance of experience in therapy A focus on the importance of meaning Human Dignity All people have the right to be treated with respect and human dignity

    24. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Psychology Is Existential Psychology Dead? Existential Philosophy & Existential Psychology Variations in Existential Psychology Overview of Existential Psychology

    25. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Is Existential Psychology Dead? No! Its countercultural Kirk Schneider Existential Integrative Psychology Humanistic & Gestalt Psychology Existential-Therapy Web Site www.existential-therapy.com

    26. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Psychology & Existential Philosophy Perhaps more than any other theory, existential psychology finds its roots in existential philosophy However, it is also distinction Existential Philosophy Less embodied & relational Existential Psychology More focus on embodiment & relationship Existential Psychology more from Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger & Camus(more literature) than Sartre

    27. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Variations in Existential Psychology Three Groupings: Existential Cognitivists A smattering of solution-focused individuals Existential Pragmatists Van Deurzen& Strasser Existential-Humanists or Existential-Phenomenologicalists The tradition of Rollo May This will be our focus * More on this in History & Systems

    28. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Perspectives on Personality The concept of personality is useful, yet limited. One does not, from the standpoint of existentialism, so much possess a personality as embody an experience. Even as our diagnostic manuals and codes tend to reduce personality to readily observable constellations of symptoms or traits, conventional notions of psychological health lean heavily on presuppositions about normalcy that inadequately reflect the experience of flesh-and-blood lives .(continued)

    29. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Perspectives on Personality .Normalcy, then, hardly the desired endgame for existentialists that it is for various other persuassions, tends to be seen as a failure in becoming, a stillbirth in the business of individuating from the crowd. Nietzsches fictional prophet Zarathustra laments the apparent death of modern-day heroes: No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same; whoever feels different goes voluntary into a madhouse. Nietzsche exuberantly describes the fanatical efforts of mortals simply to aspire to nothing more than the vaunted mean! ~ Mendelowitz & Schneider (in press), Existential psychotherapy, in Corsini & Wedding, Current Psychotherapies ~ Nietzsche quote from Thus Spoke Zarathustra

    30. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Therapy and the Good Life The Good Life: The Ends Sought in Life The Good Life is not: The happy life (tragic happiness) Conformity to culture, family, or religion The Good Life is: Free & Responsible Self-Aware and Self-Honest Genuine and Authentic Relationships Passionate (not necessarily charismatic) Comfortable with unknowing; open to change A lived or experienced life

    31. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Therapy & the Good Life By its definition of the good life, you can see that this is not the right fit for all clients! This is not to say that existential therapy does not value happiness or comfort; these are just not the primary values

    32. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Major Existential Themes Yaloms terminology 4 Primary Themes or Givens: 1.Death 2.Freedom 3.Isolation 4.Meaninglessness These can be understood as the basic driving factors of personality

    33. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Finitude Two Levels of Death: Literal: The finality of death Symbolic: All human limitation

    34. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Finitude Literal All people fear death May be different aspects of death that they fear: Non-being or not existing The unknown The lack of control The experience of dying

    35. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Finitude Symbolic: Two kinds: Symbolic death All endings symbolize death We have many of these each year Here the symbol is thought to point to death Symbolizes finitude & human limitation Here, death often is the symbol Death is the ultimate limitation!

    36. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Finitude Symbolizes finitude & human limitation Many forms: Limitations in control Limitations in knowledge Limitations in opportunities Limitations in relationships Limitations necessitated by choice

    37. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Finitude Death & control are often tied The more one cannot face their finitude or limitations, the more they seek To control or Become despondent

    38. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death Death is also seen as connected to anxiety Some existentialists say, All anxiety is death anxiety More realistic when death interpreted symbolically

    39. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Psychological Health Ernest Becker Book: The Denial of Death Claims that the crisis of our culture today is that the avoidance & denial of death This is our contemporary primary repression Book: Escape from Evil The denial of our limitations serve as the basis for evil Trying to overcome our finiteness Trying to deny our limitations Trying to achieve a symbolic immortality Compare Eriksons: Generativityv. Stagnation

    40. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Death & Psychological Health Death & Healthy Narrow: We cannot live in full awareness of death moment to moment without becoming neurotic Broad: Denying the reality of death is also neurotic Healthy view: To live in awareness of the reality of death, while using a healthy balance of the moment to moment threats

    41. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency Paradox: We both seek and free freedom Freedom comes with responsible If we are free (agents), then we are responsible The attempt to be free without responsibility is, in itself, pathological

    42. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency Heidegger & Thrownness Heidegger more of a phenomenological philosopher who was very influential on existential thought There are certain life situations beyond our control (i.e., that we are thrown into): Our biology, parents, etc. These will always influence us; maybe limiting us They never fully determine us (only influence)

    43. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency How free are we: We are both free and controlled (i.e., Freedom & Destiny) We can never be fully free However, we can never be fully controlled or merely a product of our environment If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice We are as free as we become (but there are always some limitations!)

    44. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency Freedom, Responsibility, & Ethics It is irresponsible, therefore unethical, not to be responsible We can never be fully free, therefore, we can never be fully responsible Implications for Ethics: It is irresponsible and therefore unethical not to seek to become more free An imperative for insight oriented therapy? See also Ethics & the Discovery of the Unconscious

    45. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency The flight from freedom People often flee from freedom in a variety of ways Conformity Denial of the free will Focusing on the victim (controlled) aspects The path of these resistance Otto Rank: We are controlled by those things which influence us that we are not aware of

    46. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Isolation Paradox: We all seek relationship & intimacy, but we are always limited in how completely we achieve this

    47. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Isolation Many things interfere with our attainment of satisfying relationship connections: Human limitation Fear of getting hurt Fear of being known False intimacy Excessive independence Poor measure of what is intimate or satisfying

    48. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Isolation & Meaning Meaning is the primary driving factor of life (next theme) Relationships are the deepest satisfying form of meaning according to most existentialists: Personal (with other people) Spiritual Animals Nature Societal (giving back)

    49. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Isolation & Meaning Forms an Implicit Relational Ethics Outcome measures: Social concern Healthy relationships Personal, spiritual, animal Connection with nature

    50. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Meaninglessness Two existential camps: Meaning is an illusion: We are meaning seeking creatures, but there is no ultimate meaning Examples: Sartre, Yalom Meaning is achievable Meaning is real: We are meaning seeking creatures & can attain it Examples: Frankl, Schneider, May, Kierkegaard

    51. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Meaning Discovering v. Meaning Creating Existentialists generally agree that we are meaning seeking creatures Differ on: We are meaning discoverers Meaning is inherent in the world, we can only find it We are meaning creators The world is inherently meaningless The only meaning we achieve is what we create

    52. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Meaning Discoverers Meaning Form v. Meaning Content Form refers to basic meaning process that are empty of content Content refers to something more specific Most existentialists emphasize form more than content Example: Major Existential Themes These are not universals in that they do not have specific content. They are universal in questions or issues Makes this more of a postmodern theory, thought mistaken for modern because of the existential givens

    53. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Types of Meaning Different types of meaning can be differentiated: False Meanings Help us cope, but may also be detrimental Transitory Meanings or Pseudo-meaning Help us cope, may point toward or facilitate ultimate meaning Ultimate Meaning Life changing & sustaining meaning General seen as having to have a relational and/or spiritual component to them

    54. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Meaning & Relationship Meaning & Relationship tie all the themes together These are not isolated themes Rather general questions or givens that all people must face

    55. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Healthy Living & the Givens Healthy Living involves: Having faced the givens Not overcoming, but live within the reality of Not denying This leads to neurotic or psychotic tendencies Integrating them into your life (see also Daimonic later)

    56. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Emotions Emotions are seen as something to be embraced; not avoided All emotions are healthy All emotions have meaning

    57. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Anxiety & Existence Differentiate between: Existential Anxiety (Normal Anxiety) The anxiety of being Neurotic Anxiety The anxiety of resisting being or not being Inauthentic living Over-repression of the existential givens

    58. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Anxiety & Existence Both forms of anxiety are important for living, understanding, & therapy They serves as: A guide A motivator An energizer (libidinal aspect)

    59. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Daimonic Compare Jungs Shadow Major Difference Daimon is interpreted more broadly than the shadow Definition: May stated the daimonic "is any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person Largely neglected aspect of Mays theory until Diamonds Anger, Madness, & the Daimonic

    60. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Daimonic The Daimon is very complex, generally involving several processes It gains power through repression (that which we repress will find expression) Some things which can fuel the daimon: Emotions The Existential Givens Aspects of the Unconscious Disavowed Aspects of Relationships

    61. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Daimonic & Psychological Health Like the Shadow, the Daimon must be integrated into our personality or self for optimal psychological health It cannot be disavowed According to Diamond, repression of the daimon serves as the basis of psychopathology

    62. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 The Daimonic & Creativity The daimonic is the primary source of creativity & libidinal energy Turning daimonic into acts of beauty is the healthiest way to deal with it Creative living making a positive impact on the world Artistic expression various forms of art Artistic relationships relating authentically & genuinely

    63. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Resistances & Defenses Existentialists tend to refers to resistances more than defenses These are also viewed more positively In other words, resistances are seen as natural & healthy, by and large Resistances are something that we should work with, not against

    64. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Existential Health The healthy life is the life fully and authentically lived Both joys & sorrows, happiness & suffering are embraced Relationships seek the I-Thoulevel of intimacy Involved with the world Relating & impacting The Daimon is integrated, not disavowed Creative expression is sought & offered Generally connected with the integrated daimon Its the medley of life fully lived that paints the beauty of

    65. Copyright, Louis Hoffman, PhD, 2006-2007 Case Conceptualization Current Problem (stated subjectively; i.e., in the clients experience/perspective) Objective/Givens and the Subjective Response to These: Medical/Biological Issues Personal History (can include transference & countertransference issues) Culture Developmental Issues Resistances/Defenses (Generally stated in sympathetic terms) Existential Issues Death/Limitations Freedom, Responsibility, & Agency Relationship/Isolation (Genuineness/Authenticity & Existential Isolation) Meaning Emotions Daimonic Creativity/Spirituality Religious/Spiritual Issues Relationship Between Problems Treatment Issues