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Video:What Is the Third Force in Psychology

with Dr. Robert Reiner

Third force in psychology is a humanistic approach to studying motivation and behavior. Learn more about the Third Force in psychology with this video.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is the Third Force in Psychology

My name is Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York City. I’m going to talk to you about humanistic psychology, which was at the time the third major force in the field of psychology.

Third Force in Psychology is a Humanistic Approach

The first force was psychoanalytic, or Freud’s theory. The second force was behavioral, the work of Skinner and Watson, Pavlov etc.Humanistic psychology initially came in as a response to what was perceived to be the coldness or aloofness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and the mechanism of behavior therapy. Humanistic psychology, the leaders were Abraham Maslow, who actually went on to become the president of the American Psychological Association. Raoul May was another leader. It was more of an existential approach.

The Third Force is Based on Motivations

Maslow believed, for example, that their were different types of motivation. One was deficiency motivation. Deficiency motivation was based on what he believed were basic needs a person had to have before they could even think about things like existential happiness. So, deficiency motivation included having enough food, having a warm house, having a roof over your head, basically, being able to feed yourself and your family. If you couldn’t get that, and he was really referring to poverty or homelessness, he believed that unless you could somehow attain deficiency motivation, you’re pretty much going to be stuck. And, you had no shot, according to the leaders of the humanistic psychology movement, of being happy.

So, I guess deficiency motivation was one of those things that were necessary but not sufficient. The being motivation, what Maslow referred to in existential terms, we’re really getting into having a satisfying life, a relationship that was satisfying, a career that was satisfying. It made people think about things other than getting ahead financially. It really merged with the counterculture of the ‘70s. You know, in a lot of people’s minds, when the war ended in the mid-70’s, the movement kind of petered out along with it, although I’m sure there are some people within the professional psychology that might disagree.This has been Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York City talking to you about the third force in psychology, humanistic psychology. If you need more information about this, please go to About.com.

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