Third force

THE term “third force” is used to describe an emergent alternative to two dominants forces or paradigms.

In psychology, it was used to refer to the third school of thought that attempted to explain the workings of the human mind outside the behavioral approach by Hull and Skinner, and the highly speculative theories of the Viennese psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (

In the 1940s and the 1950s, scholars were faced with a choice between (1) Freudian theory, with its emphasis on unconscious sexual motives, and (2) behaviorism, which refused to deal with mental processes, increasing numbers of American psychologists chose neither. Thus, they began looking for a third alternative.

In the early 1960s, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and several other psychologists proclaimed an alternative to the two main theories then dominating psychology (Freudian theory and behavioral theory). They called it “third force” psychology, also known as humanistic psychology.

“Humanistic or Third Force psychology focuses on inner needs, fulfillment, the search for identity, and other distinctly human concerns. It is less concerned with doing research on human behavior than with describing its meaning and purpose. Phrases like human potential and self-actualization are associated with humanistic psychology.” (

The third force in psychology is also akin to the third force in politics. The rise of a third party or contender to political power is rooted in the desire of the voters for change – a fresh start in politics led by people with an innovative way of thinking and somehow uncontaminated by traditional politics.

In Iloilo City, the dismissal of former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, the reemergence of the “politics-as-usual” personalities, the never-ending desire of political rejects for validation and self-gratification, and efforts of the existing political order to maintain its foothold in the city have motivated a band of young personalities who see politics through a different lens.

They are slowly coming out of their shells but they are wise enough to measure every step they take. They are idealists but at the same time practical enough to approach politics from a pragmatic and scientific avenue.

Some might ask if they are newbies and wannabes. Yes and no. They are relatively new but definitely, they are not the “wet-behind-the-ears” type; wannabes because like the rest of us, they also have visions and ambitions.

The “third force” is something to watch out this year. And we will discuss more about them in the near future.


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