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Motivation Counseling And Education In Northeast Ohio
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Motivation Counseling And Education In Northeast Ohio

“Something” triggers you to get out of bed each morning, to eat, to seek and maintain relationships, to run in a marathon. That “something” is motivation. Motivation influences the initiation, direction, intensity, and persistence of behavior (Evans, 1999). It is the feeling or attitude of personal investment in accomplishing a specific activity or goal (Krepps, 2001). Motivation explains the relationships between environmental stimuli and behavioral responses. Joseph Marzano PhD, LPCC, a behavioral modification specialist in Austintown, Ohio states that while there are almost limitless numbers of motivators that individuals respond to, they can be divided into four overlapping categorizes.

Biological motivators: Biological motivators are a very basic category. These include the basic human requirement for food, water, sex, and temperature regulation. Think about how you feel when you haven’t eaten in 6 or 8 hours. At that point, the biological need for food is certainly a motivator.

Emotional motivators: The second category of motivators includes the many emotions humans experience. Alone, late at night, almost asleep, you think you hear footsteps on the stairs to your bedroom. The fear generated by such an event would be a strong motivator for action. Every emotion creates a relationship between you and the environment and influences how you perceive the world around you.

Cognitive motivators: Cognition can be a motivator. Think of the number of things you have been motivated to do by the way you think about the various aspects of life. In essence, what you think, the goals you choose to think about, and the cognitive perceptual processes that help create those goals contribute to what you choose to do. Thoughts create the situations and guide the outcomes of interpersonal interactions.

Social motivators: The fourth type of motivator is the various social factors woven in and around each behavior. Consider how you interact with family, teachers, friends, and work associates, just to name a few of the socio-cultural factors that influence, and thus motivate, your actions. Each person, each group, exerts its particular influence in the overall scheme of motivation.

The sources of motivation described by Marzano, 2012 are woven into numerous theories that attempt to explain and predict human behavior. While there is no one theory that includes all aspects of the complex factors influencing humans to do the things they do, there are four general theoretical categories that account for much of the story: instinct, drive reduction, arousal and incentive, and humanistic. In this article, the two theories most commonly associated with pathological behavior in outpatient counseling settings are the incentive and humanistic theory.


While instinct, drive, and arousal theories of motivation focus on internal processes, incentive theory emphasizes external motivators. A basic element of this theory is environmental stimuli, but it also includes cognitive factors. Thought processes about the incentives available in the environment influence the direction and strength of the motivation. While drive and arousal theories focus on things that push us toward a goal, the incentive theory suggests that we are motivated by things that lure us along. Differences in behavior, from one person to another, one situation to another, can be traced to the value placed on what draws us toward the various goals. Incentives may be positive or negative, intrinsic or extrinsic. The lure of a financial bonus is a positive goal, while not wanting to lose your job is a coercive incentive. To have the desire to do a job well for your own sense of satisfaction is intrinsic motivation and recognition from others is an example of extrinsic motivation.


Humanistic theories stress that we are innately motivated to strive for a positive self-concept and the realization of our personal potential. These theories also emphasize the importance of psychological and cognitive components of motivation, while not discounting the role of biological and external motivators. From the humanistic perspective, motivation is affected by how we perceive the world, how we think about ourselves and others, and beliefs about our abilities and skills. Without a supportive and encouraging environment—personal, social, and cultural—the motivation to strive toward one’s highest potential could be jeopardized.

Abraham Maslow (1970, 1971) attempted to synthesize inner and outer factors, biology as well as the environment, to explain what motivates and sustains human behavior. His theory of motivation as a hierarchy of human needs focuses on two classes of needs, deficiency needs and growth needs. Each level of the lower needs, the deficiency needs, must be met before moving to the next higher level.

The deficiency needs include:

• 1.Physiological: hunger, thirst, temperature regulation, etc.

• 2.Safety/security: the absence of danger

• 3.Belongingness and Love: acceptance and relationship

• 4.Esteem: gain approval and recognition

Each time a deficiency is detected within one of these lower level needs, the individual is motivated to act in order to remove the need.

According to Marzano, an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs only if the deficiency needs are met. Marzano, 2012 references Maslow's initial work that suggested that only one growth need, self-actualization, ultimately drives behavior that leads to permanent growth of one’s personality and character. Individuals voluntary to the psychological counseling process are typically searching for a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in the area of self actualization. Typically, counseling in Northeast Ohio specializing in motivational training and incentive programs incorporate strategies of motivation in their behavioral health treatment. For more information on behavioral health counseling, professional counseling, cooperate counseling, or motivation consultation, contact a professional counselor at Advanced Counseling Solutions, LLC in Austintown, Ohio.

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