Maslow studied healthy people, most psychologists study sick people.
The characteristics listed here are the results of 20 years of study of people who had the "full use and exploitation of talents, capacities, potentialities, etc.."
Self-actualization implies the attainment of the basic needs of physiological, safety/security, love/belongingness, and self-esteem.
Maslow's Basic Principles:
- The normal personality is characterized by unity, integration, consistency, and coherence. Organization is the natural state, and disorganization is pathological.
- The organism can be analyzed by differentiating its parts, but no part can be studied in isolation. The whole functions according to laws that cannot be found in the parts.
- The organism has one sovereign drive, that of self-actualization. People strive continuously to realize their inherent potential by whatever avenues are open to them.
- The influence of the external environment on normal development is minimal. The organism's potential, if allowed to unfold by an appropriate environment, will produce a healthy, integrated personality.
- The comprehensive study of one person is more useful than the extensive investigation, in many people, of an isolated psychological function.
- The salvation of the human being is not to be found in either behaviorism or in psychoanalysis, (which deals with only the darker, meaner half of the individual). We must deal with the questions of value, individuality, consciousness, purpose, ethics and the higher reaches of human nature.
- Man is basically good not evil.
- Psychopathology generally results from the denial, frustration or twisting of our essential nature.
- Therapy of any sort, is a means of restoring a person to the path of self-actualization and development along the lines dictated by their inner nature.
- When the four basic needs have been satisfied, the growth need or self-actualization need arises: A new discontent and restlessness will develop unless the individual is doing what he individually is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write--in short, what people can be they must be."