Phenomenal field theory
|Phenomenal field theory
Arthur W. Combs
Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology...
is a contribution to the psychology of personality proposed by Donald Snygg and Arthur W. Combs. According to this theory, all behavior is determined by the phenomenal field of the behaving organism.
The phenomenal field is our subjective reality, all that we are aware of, including objects and people, and our behaviors, thoughts, images, and ideas like justice, equality, and so on. Snygg and Combs emphasize that this phenomenal field is the true subject-matter for psychology.
According to the authors, motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...
is "the basic need of everyone to preserve and enhance the phenomenal self
The philosophy of self defines the essential qualities that make one person distinct from all others. There have been numerous approaches to defining these qualities. The self is the idea of a unified being which is the source of consciousness. Moreover, this self is the agent responsible for the...
, and the characteristics of all parts of the field are governed by this need".
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...
takes place through differentiation, being a matter of improving the quality of one's phenomenal field by extracting some meaningful detail from the confusion that surrounds us.
Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes...
is caused by a threat, which is the awareness of a menace to the phenomenal self. If the person reacts appropriately to the threat, mental health is preserved. If not, the threat leads to defenses, neurotic and psychotic symptoms, and even criminal behavior. Consequently, psychotherapy consists of freeing clients from unappropriate perceptions, behaviors, cognitions, and emotions they have set up to protect themselves from threat.
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