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Personality Case Studies

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Maslov’s hierarchy of the five innate needs describe the factors that activate and direct human behavior. They are the physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization needs. According to Maslov, these needs are instinctoid, or hereditary, but can be affected or overcome by learning, social expectations, and fear of disapproval. Therefore, these needs are subject to variation from one person to another (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).

1) Before Frank was laid off, all five of Maslov’s needs were met. His physiological needs were satisfied because, although he disliked the third shift, Frank and his wife were able to afford a small house, put food on the table, and provide their children with decent clothes (p. 65, para. 2). Due to the fact that their fathers, and some grandfathers, of Frank’s co-workers had also worked, and retired, from the very same factory, Frank’s need of safety was content because he believed that his job and his employment were secure (p. 65, para. 3). Frank’s needs of esteem and self-actualization were fulfilled by his creativity and pride of the “intricate designs [that] he made on the backs of the chairs he produced” (p. 66, para. 1). By having these two needs met, Frank’s “skill earned him the respect of his coworkers,” which met Frank’s fifth need of feeling love and a sense of belonging (p.66, para. 1).

2) Before Frank was laid off, all of his five needs, proposed by Maslov, were met. However, working at the factory did not fully satisfy Frank’s physiological need because “he is tired all the time” and “the house, clothes, and food are not fancy but always adequate” (p. 65, para. 2). Frank feels that, although his physiological needs are being filled, they do not meet his expectations. “Sometimes he thinks that if he could just get enough sleep, he would be a truly happy man” (p.65, para. 1). Frank’s sleep deprivation is made up for by catching up on sleep during the weekends and earning more money working the third shift rather than less money working the first or second shift (p.65, para. 1). Frank sacrifices his true happiness to better support himself and his family.

3)After Frank was laid off, it would seem that many of his needs were no longer met. However, his physiological needs of breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, etc. were met by depending on his wife’s income and, although temporary, his unemployment compensation because “he and his wife have been able to make ends meet temporarily” (p. 66, para. 1). His safety needs of feeling secure of body, resources, family, and health were also met due to his wife’s contribution. Frank also met the needs of feeling loved by his wife being “incredibly supportive,” “constantly trying to boost his self-esteem,” and “never complaining about the things they have to give up” (p. 66, para. 2). 4)Although a few of his needs were met after he was laid off, Frank felt “useless and incompetent” (p.66, para. 2).

Franks’ need of safety, or security of employment, was not satisfied because “he has not been able to find any other work, and he is embarrassed by the prospect of not being able to support his family” (p. 66, para. 1). Frank’s need of self-actualization is also unfulfilled because “two months after the closing, Frank is not proud of very much” (p. 66, para. 1). After being laid off, Frank’s esteem need is no longer being met because “depending on his wife’s income has been especially hard on Frank” as “he believes that he should be the breadwinner” (p.66, para. 2). Frank loves his family and would give anything, even his sleep and ultimately his true happiness, to fulfill these unsatisfied needs by getting his job back.

Carl Rogers
Case Study 19
In his person-centered theory, Rogers dives into the explanation behind what factors drive self-actualization, or the basic human motivation to actualize, maintain, and enhance the self, which encompasses all physiological and physiological needs by attending to basic requirements—such as food, water, and safety. The governing process throughout the life span, as Rogers envisioned it, is called the organismic valuing process, or the process by which we judge experiences in terms of their value for fostering or hindering our actualization and growth. As the self emerges, infants develop a need for positive regard, or the universal need for love, acceptance, and approval from others. Positive regard has a reciprocal nature in that when people perceive themselves to be satisfying someone else’s need for positive regard, they in turn experience satisfaction of that need themselves. By interpreting the feedback we receive from them (either approval or disapproval), we refine our self-concept (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).

1) Before her experience with her support group, Katharine’s self-concept differed greatly from her ideal self. Katharine’s ideal self describes “one of those women who had it all: a career and family life” (p. 69, para. 3). She dreamed of being happily married with children and own her own business. However, Katharine “felt like such a failure” because she was divorced and working as a secretary for someone else’s business to support herself (p. 69, para. 1). Because Katharine had quickly married her “high school sweet heart” to satisfy her ideal self, her marriage enforced negative conditions of self worth on Katharine by her husband who “disapproved of her taking business courses” and “discouraged any attempts she made at earning money on her own” (p. 69, para. 2). In addition to the friction of their values, Katharine was unable to conceive a child. These issues led to her husband’s affair and their divorce causing Katharine’s incongruence between her self-concept and her experience. According to Rogers’ theory, Katharine is mentally unhealthy because she is flooded with anxiety caused by this incongruence.

2) Rogers’ theory explains the cause of any difference in Katharine’s selves through the actualizing process. Katharine’s true self, or self-concept based on her actual feelings about her experiences, were unaffected until her marriage and undergoing her husband’s conditional positive regard, in which she would only receive his approval if she behaved the way he wanted her to. Katharine’s true self began to differ greatly from her social self due to her conditions of worth set by her husband. Therefore, if Katharine had taken her business classes and started her own business before she married, she would have had the knowledge and experience to find a better, more suitable, mate.

Also, for starters, Katharine’s ideal self-concept was created on principles of what is and is not socially acceptable for a woman to have achieved by her tenth high school reunion. Is marriage and a good career ultimately her dream or society’s dream for her?

3) After Katharine’s experience with her support group, her self-concept and ideal self became more congruent because the group “encouraged her to take a few business courses” and “suggested that she try making and selling some crafts at various craft shows” (p. 70, para. 2). Her group sparked Katharine’s vision of owning her own business which had multiple positive effects on Katharine’s self worth. Not only did she begin her business, but she lost weight while managing the business’s day-to-day activities and she even fell in love with one of her customers. In result, Katharine now has achieved her dreams of a career and a family. 4)Katharine’s support group provided Rogerian therapist characteristics that allowed for a decrease in incongruence among her selves.

The group “listened to what she said and seemed to understand what she was going through” (p. 70, para. 1). They “would not pity her or make fun of her,” causing Katharine to open up and discuss more of her feelings (p.70, para. 1). Katharine never received criticism from the group, only support and encouragement. Rogers called this approach the encounter group, which is a therapy technique where people learn about their feelings and about how they relate to (or encounter) one another. Katharine’s support group helped her to better express herself, focus on how others perceive her, achieve self-insight, and become more fully functioning.

Raymond Cattell
Case Study 33
1) A sentiment is a pattern of learned attitudes that focuses on an important aspect of life, such as a person’s community, spouse, occupation, religion, or hobby. If one considers Walter’s attendance at the seminary and Bible school as attitudes (according to Cattell’s definition), some of the sentiments that motivated these behaviors are Walter being raised in a religious family and his motivational speaking skills. A sentiment, because it results from learning, can be unlearned and can disappear so that it is no longer important to a person’s life.

2) Ergs are permanent constitutional source traits that provide energy for goal-directed behavior. Some ergs that motivated Walter’s choice of profession, according to Cattell’s theory, are his unfortunate disability and his “booming voice” (p. 120, para. 4). These ergs include Walter’s confidence, cautiousness, and his meticulousness. Because an erg is a constitutional trait, it is a permanent structure of the personality. Of Cattell’s 11 ergs, Walter displays appeal, curiosity, protection, security, and self-assertion.

3) Some of the ergs that motivated Walter’s marriage and the formation of his family, according to Cattell’s theory, are gregariousness, self-submission, and sex.

4) Some of Cattell’s 16 source traits that Walter might score high on are stable and secure-feeling, dominant and stubborn, conscientious, socially uninhibited, resourceful, self-organizing, precise and orderly, and fretful or tense. Some traits that Walter might score low on are easily annoyed or upset, prudent and serious, self-reliant and tough, trusting and accepting, “proper” conventional, natural, forthright, overly cautious, and traditional.

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