Abraham Harold Maslow and Self-Actualization Essay

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Abraham Harold Maslow and Self-Actualization

Abraham Harold Maslow was born on April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the oldest of seven children born to his parents, who were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia. His parents, wanting the best for their children in the “new world”, pushed him hard in his academic studies. He was smart but shy, and remembered his childhood as being lonely and rather unhappy. He sought refuge in his books and studies. His father hoped he would study as a lawyer, and Maslow enrolled in the City College of New York. After three semesters at CCNY, he transferred to Cornell and then back to CCNY again. He married his first cousin Bertha, against his parent’s wishes and moved to Wisconsin, where
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Maslow became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 1950's and 1960's, which he referred to as the “third force”, beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism. Also during this period of his life, he came into contact with the many European intellectuals that were immigrating to the United States, Brooklyn in particular, people like Adler, Fromm, Horney, as well as several Gestalt and Freudian psychologists. In 1951, Maslow served as the chair of the psychology department at Brandeis for 10 years, where he met Kurt Goldstein, who introduced him to the idea of self-actualization, and helped him begin his own theoretical work. It was also here that he began his crusade for a humanistic psychology, something ultimately much more important to him than his own theorizing. In, 1969 he became a resident fellow of the Laughlin Institute in California. A year later after several years of ill health he died of a heart attack on June 8th. One of the many interesting things that Maslow noticed, while early in his career working with monkeys, was that some needs take precedence over others. For example, if you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try and take care of the thirst first. After all, you can live without food for several weeks, but you can only live a few days without water. Maslow took
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