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Posted on April 17th, 2014, by

The case of the boy may be viewed from the humanist perspective on the ground of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, which holds the premise that individuals have diverse needs, which may change in the course of time and mirror the actual level of development of a person (Wahba & Bridwell, 1976). In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the boy has reached the level of social needs as he has already developed the need for belonging, love, friendship and others. Therefore, he probably looks for friendship of his peers and wants to maintain positive relationships with teachers, his parents and other meaningful adults.

The fulfillment of these needs implies the companionship and acceptance of the boy by his social environment, his peers, friends, adults and other meaningful people. The fulfillment of these needs manifests itself through the involvement of the boy into social, community or group activities.  Social needs are deficiency needs because individuals are deprived of them. In case of the boy, he is deprived of his full integration in the classroom after his long absence. He has probably lost certain social links and he has to develop his social relationships within the group of his peers again or he has to revive those relationships.

However, the boy probably has certain problems but Maslow’s theory fails to get the full overview of the boy’s needs and actual problems because of the specificities of the age of the boy. In this regard, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory cannot be fully implemented to the boy of 9 years old. At any rate, Erickson’s theory is more efficient being applied to the case of 9 years old boy because this theory matches the specific level in the cognitive development of the boy. Instead, Maslow’s theory relies heavily on needs of individuals (Nicholson, 2001). Therefore, needs of the boy are determinant in identifying his problems and his current level of his psychological development. However, the boy is just 9 years old and this is the age, when individual needs are not fully shaped and are changing very fast. In addition, deficiency needs will prevail in children, especially in children of such age as 9 years old, because they are still very dependent on their parents and their level of socialization is low because they still have little social experience. Naturally, social needs of the boy may be under-developed. Hence, his problems may not be fully identified, when Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is applied.

In contrast, Erickson’s theory is relevant and applicable to the case of the boy because Erickson focused on specific stages of the development of an individual. Therefore, Erickson’s theory provides specific description of the cognitive development of an individual at the age of 9 years old. On analyzing the behavior and psychological characteristics of the boy as well as his social interactions, it is possible to compare the results of the analysis to the characteristics of the stage of the cognitive development the boy has reached. In such a way, key problems, such as the sense of inferiority are easily identified and possible ways to improve the boy’s psychological condition and his social integration can be easily found.

Thus, the boy definitely needs the psychological assistance. He has to cope with his problems. At the same time, academic success is crucial for his recovery in psychological terms.


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