The Fundamental Structural Theories in the Field of Psychology

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Maslows hierarchy of needs is a theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in his paper, A Theory of Human Motivation in 1943. It is one of the fundamental structural theories in the field of psychology and has extensively been used in sociology research as well as management training. The theory is often illustrated in the form of a pyramid with the most fundamental needs at the bottom while self-actualization is at the apex. The theory posits that the most important needs, often referred to as d-needs, include esteem, friendship and love, security and physical needs. He cites that if these fundamental needs are not met, the individual develops anxiety and a sense of emptiness. He further states that the fundamental needs must be met before the desire to graduate to another hierarchy can be met. He therefore coined the term metamotivation for individuals who exerted themselves to surpass the fundamental needs and strives to be better. However, it is important to note that the individual does not just focus on one need at a time but often experiences different motivations simultaneously. He does sometimes focus on a specific need which Maslow referred to as the dominant need.

Physiological needs are those that are required by a human being for survival, for instance clothing and shelter provide protection from harsh elements such as rain and cold. Since they are the most important, the theory posits that they should be met first. Another important aspect of the physiological needs is the sexual instinct which is necessary for the purposes of survival and competition. Safety needs encompass physical and emotional safety nets, most people strive for stability in the form of job security, savings account or a procedural way of dealing with grief. Therefore, safety needs can be summarised as personal security, financial security, health and well-being and protection from adverse circumstances and accidents CITATION AMa54 \l 2057 (Maslow, 1954).

Love and belonging simply states that every human being longs to be loved and accepted especially in social groups. These social groups may include work circles or even a church group. It is therefore rather obvious that without love and belonging, human beings succumb to loneliness and possibly depression. The other fundamental need is esteem, the need to be respected. All human beings strive to be valued by others. Maslow noted that there are two kinds of esteem, high and low. Individuals with high esteem are comfortable with whom they are and easily fit into social groups while those with a low self-esteem constantly seek validation and attention CITATION AMa54 \l 2057 (Maslow, 1954). One of the most important needs in self-actualization, in which an individual realizes their full potential. They achieve the most and grab opportunities. Later on, Maslow added a new dimension to his hierarchy which he called self-transcendence, whereby an individual acknowledges the power of a higher self and therefore indulges in altruism and spirituality CITATION WMi91 \l 2057 (Mittleman, 1991).

Sigmund Freud is considered to be one of the most significant minds in the field of psychology. He formulated many theories to explain human behaviour. One of his theories focuses on explaining why human beings embrace homosexuality. One of his most notable works on this subject is Certain Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality. He argued that all individuals are innately bisexual and incorporates aspect of both aspects in their sexuality. He further cites that homosexuals resort to the tendency because of the traumatising experiences of heterosexuality, Those cases are of particular interest in which the libido changes over to an inverted sexual object after a distressing experience with a normal one CITATION Alf51 \l 2057 (Kinsey, 1951). Though he did extensive research on the subject, he was unable to determine if homosexuality was pathological but constantly referred to it as an inversion, one which was distinct from other pathological perversions. One of his experimental works was the psychosexual developmental model in which he theorised that the development of a child was organized distinctly in stages of libido. The first stage is oral, the second, anal and the third, genital. He quipped that oral and anal sexuality were juvenile expressions of sexuality and that homosexuality could be attributed to libidinal arrest in the phallic stage or the inability to mature to the stage of genitality due to restriction of energic force. He also aimed to explain it from the aspect of an individual who had attained sexual maturation but due to negative heterosexual experiences, regressed to their former selves.

Other notable theories were the Oedipus complex in which he argues that homosexuality arises due a boys discovery that his mother is castrated and this causes anxiety and therefore causing him to find solace in a woman with a penis. In Three Essays CITATION Sig05 \l 2057 (Freud, 1905), he further argues that a child tends to be overly attracted to their mother and expresses and seeks narcissistic love from her causing him to seek out only those who are similar to him so that he can obtain the same affection his mother accorded to him from them. In his last theory, he also cited that homosexuality could result from reaction formation which is brought about by sadistic jealousy of brothers and this is then converted into love of other men.

Freud was accepting of homosexuals and often pointed out their outstanding intellectual capabilities although he was unable to psychoanalyse them. Although he did not regard homosexuality as pathological (resulting from degenerating physiological situations), he deemed it as a form of premature sexual growth

According to Freudian theory, Jasons homosexuality can be explained from two angles. The first is his overt attraction to his mother and this is illustrated by his tendencies to breastfeed till the age of three and only stopped because his siblings made fun of him CITATION Don12 \l 2057 (Ashcraft, 2012). In this context, Jason was competing for the attention of his mother with his father. He had a desire for his mother and therefore this awakened a jealous motivation towards his father which might explain the detached relationship Jason had with him. However, as Jason became older, he loosens ties with his mother as he became more independent and aware of the sense of intimacy. She therefore became a separate object of love and Jason strived to replace her love by having sexual relations with other men

It is also attributable to reaction formation. Sigmund Freud theorised that in order for one to deal with the complexities of life, an individual develops defence mechanisms that operate at a unconscious level and develop feelings of anxiety. The ego is repulsed by reality and struggles to maintain its task of maintaining harmony. Therefore, if the ego is forced to relent to its weaknesses, anxiety is borne out of it and a myriad of other neurotic conditions. In this context, Jason, driven by sadistic jealousy, aims to win the approval of his father and brothers. First, he stops breastfeeding at the age of three because he does not want to be made fun of by his bothers or considered weak. Later on, when he joins the army, he does so because it is considered manly even though he had a tendency to keeping mens company already. Also, because he was not as close to his father as he hoped to be, he developed a defence mechanism that also saw him detached from his wife and children. According to Freud, he had a repressed attraction to his father.

Quite a number of Jasons needs were met according Maslows hierarchy of needs. He hailed from a family that was subject to abject poverty of which clothing, food and shelter was a major issue. He explains how his family was large and poor that he often had to sleep out in the porch, and sometimes having snow on his beddings. His parents could not afford clothes either and his mother sewed clothes form sacks. This then motivated him to seek physiological needs not only for himself but his family. This is what informed his urge to leave Colorado and enlist in the army; he wanted to actualize these needs having been denied them when he was younger. It is therefore right to conclude that he actualized his physiological needs by getting a roof over his head, good clothes and even acquiring taste for the finer things in life. His safety needs were the most paramount for him because he did not want to revert to the situation his parents were in when he was a child, poverty. He therefore enlisted in the army, worked several odd jobs and even pursued a degree in order to attain financial security. He aimed to provide the best for himself and his family. This sense of personal security was what drove him to work hard for as long as he was alive. He actualized self-worth to an extent, in that he was able to get respect from those around him, his friends and work mates. He strived to live a different life from that of his parents and that is what fuelled his industriousness. His family, especially wife, valued him because he was able to provide for them financially. However, Jason continually sought validation and acceptance from his work mates and this is evidenced by his efforts to spend more time with them, even attending golf at the club. Furthermore, he nudges his wife to join the club that is specific for the veteran wives, an attempt to get even more validation from his mates and therefore when she did not oblige, he harboured some resentment towards him. Jason failed to get a sense of love and belonging from his family out of his own volition because he was very detached fro them. Hence, in the process, he not only did not get acceptance, but he denied his wife and children affection.

Jason reached a point of self-actualization in terms of his career and not his ability to be the best husband and father that he could be. He exploited all the opportunities that came his way, even putting in extra time in college so that he could complete his degree on time. On the family level, he fell short as he did not accord his wife and children the affection they required, often confusing his ability to provide for them financially with affection. Conclusively, Jason cannot be deemed as self-actualized because he did not realise some of the fundamental needs such as love and a sense of belonging. This is expressed through his infidelity by having sexual relations with men citing that his wife denied him his conjugal rights. He however got some sense of self-worth up until his wife denied him sex, a variable which is interesting because self-esteem increases with age up to a certain point CITATION DCF13 \l 2057 (Funder, 2013)Much as psychology has attempted to formulate theories to explain homosexuality, it still remains a mystery how homoeroticism functions. Although the world has become more accepting of it, it still eludes many scientists and the world at large. However, many strides have been made in the field of psychology in relation to this subject since Freud.

References

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ashcraft, D. (2012). Personality Theories Workbook. Cengage.

Freud, S. (1905). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality .

Funder, D. (2013). The Personality Puzzle Seventh Edition. New York: Norton & Company.

Kinsey, A. (1951). Letters of Note. American Journal of Psychiatry.

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personalit. New York: Harper.

Mittleman, W. (1991). Maslow's study of self-actualization: A reinterpretation. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 114-135.

 

 

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