As described by Fromm, human beings suffer from basic anxiety as a result of human dilemmas. These are feelings such as loneliness, isolation, and homelessness that are brought about by human separation from their natural world. This triggers a mechanism aimed at reducing the uncomfortable feelings. Jeff and Ann live in Cleveland, which is far away from their home town and family.
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They strive hard to reunite with their family by visiting them during Christmas and New Year holiday seasons. This sense of unity is attributed to the human need for rootedness and relatedness. Rootedness refers to the urge that motivates individuals to rediscover themselves and enjoy living in the world once more after separation for a long time. For relatedness, people aspire to unite with others either through marriage or forming close relationships.
This is based on three dimensions: submission, power, and love. By submitting to one another, a group, or an institution, one gets united with the natural world. Relative to attaining power, people become more dependent on one another and less independent. Lastly, love creates a unification between individuals but still observes the veracity of separation among individuals (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002).
In regard to transcendence needs, Fromm described it as the urge for people to overcome passive and the accidental existence by creating or destroying life. This is triggered by human beings who are cast into the natural world without their approval. Therefore, they transcend nature either by creating or destroying it for various reasons.
As far as the sense of identity is concerned, self consciousness is seen as a different object altogether. People are identified by the roles they play in the society. The sense of identity in most people is tied to their attachment to others or institutions like religion, occupation, social groups, and others. Jeff and Ann identify themselves with their occupations. Their sense of identity is based on their unique talents, which that benefit their institution and makes them feel confident with their careers.
In regard to the frame of orientation, Jeff and Ann view the natural world as a place that requires more development. This is attributed to the fact that they encourage their children to leave the world a better place than they found it. On the basis of character orientation, Fromm would classify Jeff and Ann as belonging to the “productive orientation”. In this case, they are committed to enhancing their growth and development, as well as those of others. This is guided by their hard work, love, and good reasoning.
Fromm’s humanistic psychological theory is significantly related to other psychological theories. First, it is closely related to behavioral psychological theory. This theory states that behavior is acquired by conditioning. In addition, conditioning is controlled by the immediate surroundings. People are conditioned to embrace the behaviors of their natural world where they live or were brought up. Jeff and Ann experienced difficulties in adjusting to a new environment far away from their home and family.
Loneliness, isolation, and homelessness amongst other behaviors developed as a result of being separated from their natural world. In regards to Andrea’s case, she finds hardships to bond with her family, and this was developed since she was small. This is further worsened by staying far away from home.
Fromm’s theory is related to cognitive psychology theory. People are predominantly occupied by their previous experiences in their natural world. In experiencing new environments and information, people should modify, add, or change their previous experience. This is controlled by their mental and character orientation that helps them assimilate and accommodate the new environment.
For instance, a child’s previous exposure to small dogs would tend to shape the child’s mentality that dogs are small. In case the child encounters a big dog, he would absorb this new information and modify the previous information to include this new one. This transition would involve assimilation and accommodation.
Assimilation is absorbing new experiences into the previously existing one whereas accommodation is altering or changing the previous existing into the light of the new environment. Jeff and Ann have to assimilate and accommodate living in a new environment that is far from the previous environment. From Andrea’s perspective, she dreads visiting her remaining family due to the previous experience that she claims continues to persist.
Furthermore, Maslow’s and Roger’s humanistic psychology theories relate to that of Fromm. These theories are comprised of human needs that control human existence. According to Fromm’s theory, human needs include rootedness, relatedness, transcendence, and identity.
Theses relate with those of Maslow’s theory especially the social needs. They concentrate more on relationships, sense of belonging, love, and affection in the social institutions mostly families. Jeff and Ann miss being with their family and they utilize this opportunity once it arises during the holiday seasons.
Lastly, Fromm’s theory also relates to the personality psychology theory. This theory targets the behavioral patterns and mental states or judgments, which makes one to stand out from the rest. According to Fromm’s theory, people should portray their uniqueness to define their sense of identity or personality. Jeff and Ann develop their identity from their unique talents in their occupations (Ashcraft, 2012).
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Ashcraft, D. M. (2012). Personality theories workbook. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
McGraw-Hill Higher Education. (2002). Psychodynamic Theories Fromm: Humanistic Psychoanalysis. Retrieved from: http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/0072316799/student_view0/part2/chapter7/chapter_outline.html