To this layman, it seems that most of the Psychology and especially Psychiatry professions today are now focused on fixing disorders in people. If you go to someone in those professions you must be broken in one way or another. You just don’t hear about psychologists helping people to improve their lives and relationships. That field is called Positive Psychology.
While I was doing some investigation into Autism recently I came across an article that brought back a flood of memories. It was something I become obsessed with in the early 1970s after I graduated from college. I became fascinated with Psychology. I was a subscriber to Psychology Today and read dozens of books on the subject trying to understand why I had so much trouble understanding human relationships.
I devoured books by Maslow, Berne, Fromm, and Harris in what is now called positive psychology. It was all about helping people lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. Even after all these years I still remember much of what I learned and it helps me in trying to understand why people are as they are. Things like:
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Berne’s PAC – Parent-Adult-Child transactions
- I’m Ok – You’re OK
- Transactional Analysis
- Understanding the Ego
I wonder why we don’t hear more about these types of things today?
It seems we have just quit trying to understand one another now.
We just call anyone who now disagrees with us our enemy. I think I need to re-visit these folks some more in the future and maybe even give you a lesson or two on the subject. Having a better understanding of people and their actions is just maybe something we drastically need now.
Just to give you a little taste of this field, here are some word from Wikipedia about Maslow’s theory of Self-Actualization:
Self-actualization can be seen as similar to words and concepts such as self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration.
As Abraham Maslow noted, the basic needs of humans must be met (e.g. food, shelter, warmth, security, sense of belonging) before a person can achieve self-actualization – the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life. Yet, Maslow argued that reaching a state of true self-actualization in everyday society was fairly rare. Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match. For example, someone who has inherent potential to be a great artist or teacher may never realize his/her talents if their energy is focused on attaining the basic needs of humans.
I find this stuff very interesting, even after so many years away from it.