No single theory of personality can adequately explain the full function of human behavior. Psychodynamic approaches often come under a lot of criticism as they fail to be explicit about the underlying bases of the theory. Cognitive theories are not very comfortable with explaining emotions and behavioral theories have difficulty explaining the mechanisms of improvements. It has become quite clear in the field of psychology, and to some Psychologists like Windy Dryden (Individual Therapy) explicitly clear that there is a missing link and that somewhere amongst the mass of theories on personality, the answer is staring them in the face. These Psychologists often practice a form of Psychology called Eclectism, which takes a little out of each theory and unites it during therapy with a client.
You can’t use this sort of therapy as a theory however because all the Eclectic Psychologist is doing is ignoring the fundamental ideological underpinnings of the particular theories he is using and taking the parts relevant to their client in therapy. This essay will explore one of the possible combinations of theories on personality and explain how it can be applied in practical therapy. Eysenck’s theory of biological bases in behavior is the base of this essay’s approach. It provides the rules within which the other two personality theories (Kellys Personal Construct Theory and Maslows Hierarchy of Human needs) can function. Using Eysenkes theory on extravert and introvert behavior it is possible to determine from birth, very general traits about which a person is willing to work within (aggression, anxiety tolerance, and sociability, etc) which is where this essay believes Kelly slightly misunderstands this concept and defines it as his Range Corollary.
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Really the person is experiencing a fundamental shift from extrovert behavior or thinking to Introvert or vice versa which causes slight unease and can account for things like shyness etc. One of the major criticisms of Kellys Personal Construct Theory is that he finds it hard to explain why constructs are laid down in the first place and why one would vigorously defend the threat to a core construct. What kick starts the Construct system into defending itself when motivation is clearly and explicitly lacking in his theory? Eyesenkes’ theory provides an amicable solution. If we could assume that this information was genetically coded into the cells at birth then this no longer becomes an issue and we can explain how’s and why the constructs are laid down to a loose genetic template i.e introverts and extroverts.
This fusion also removes the criticism of Eyesenke that his theory is a theory of temperament rather than personality. If Eyesenkes theory really is just a theory of Temperament then that is all good and well in this Unified theory as it is merely a foundation or code upon which the rest of the personality can develop. If you can see things on an evolutionary scale, then it is clear that the change has to come from somewhere and that that change has the weight of evidence in genetics. In extremism and Introvertism, it is clear that there are distinct disadvantages and advantages so it is not so much of a leap of faith to consider that perhaps evolution is trying out very distinct methods of social interaction and the confusion resulting from this manifests itself as in Psychologists trying to determine personality through one perspective alone when Psychologists don’t consider our personalities to be in any sort of evolutionary transition.
The fact that Psychologists are unable to conclusively predict human behavior or thought using a single approach only serves to strengthen this consideration. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory would simply say that the personal realities of the Psychologists involved are unable to extend the range of their constructs to accept this and understand the concept of personality in evolutionary transition. Without this consideration, it is this essay’s position that it is impossible to come to any conclusive rule about human personality or behavior as you are not accounting for the dynamic nature of two very different personal archetypes. Kellys Personal Construct Theory goes a long way to explaining the human mind but it needs the genetic archetype of Eyesenkes biological basis and a motivation to interact with the society that the mind shares.
For Kelly, this motivation comes from a naturally inquisitive nature, but it is not explicitly explained why the mind should be like this. It is only assumed. Eysenck again can provide the answer if you are willing to concede that this sort of information can be genetically coded.
There is a problem, however. The type of mind described in this essay is only functional. It would not be a very rich or interesting apparatus and life would be essentially a personal experience, which of course we know it not to be. The human experience is shared daily and at many levels of interaction. Where does this need come from? It could be argued that it is merely a social constraint and that this need to share and feel part of something is imposed upon us by the societies we live in. It is the position of this essay that although there is an element of truth in this predisposition that this argument is somewhat paradoxical. Where does the need to feel loved or part of something come from in the absence of a society? Would we still feel the need?
This drive is the thrust of this essay’s Grand Unified Theory of Personality and the last piece of the Jigsaw. In order to make us the Social animals we are you need a humanistic approach as an addition to your Theory. In this way, the mind begins to take the sort of shape that society would demand from it as being ‘normal’. To illustrate this we will use Maslows Hierarchy of Human Needs as the Humanistic ‘top up’. The majority of Maslow’s needs are all ones that most Societies say we should retain a measure of to be deemed healthy, and these include needs like love so that we may feel fully integrated into society and do not become alienated, or a need for self-esteem to feel valuable to society and not inferior. Above all this however is the need for ‘Self Actualisation’ which provides the mind with its essence, a focus, or goal of being. Without this focus, most people will feel innate and deeply depressed as if life was not worth living.