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Humanistic Psychology

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Introduction to Humanistic Psychology

The philosophy helps to understand the importance of human-related factors instead of looking at the religious, divine, or spiritual matters is the humanism. It stresses the dignity of humans and their values. It also tells that people can resolve their problems with the usage of science and the reasons. There different types of humanism that include:

  1. Humanistic psychology

  2. Religious humanism

  3. Secular humanism

The humanistic perspective psychology emphasizes the whole individual and about the concepts as that of free will, self-actualization, and self-efficacy. This area has emerged during the 1950s, and it reacts to behaviorism and psychoanalysis were dominated psychology. The understanding of the unconscious movements was done by psychoanalysis and behavior due to these reactions was found out by behaviorism. 

In answer to the limitations that are found in Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and B. F. Skinner's behaviorism and humanistic theory of personality rose in the mid 20th century. This type of theory primarily focuses on mindfulness and self-awareness that help to change the state of mind and the behavior to a healthier one by having several thoughtful actions and productive awareness. It helps to merge both mindfulness and behavioral therapy. 

The benefits of this humanistic theory of personality are described as having the crucial opportunity to lead in a way such that it leads to a healthier path from the troubled culture. It is referred to as the third force in psychology that is different from the earlier. 

Carl Rogers Humanistic Theory

One of the early sources of humanistic psychology is the work of carl rogers theory of personality. This is strongly influenced by Otto Rank. Rogers’s focus was to ensure the developmental process was healthier or more creative. Rogers also coined the term actualizing tendency; it is a concept that had led to the study of self-actualization by Abraham Maslow. It is analyzed as one of the needs of humans. Maslow and Rogers introduced humanistic psychology as a response to the overview of psychoanalysis. 

The humanistic approach to psychology has led to the invention of other sources of philosophies such as existentialism and phenomenology. This approach has its roots in phenomenological and existential thought. With the conditioned relaxation, behaviorism grew out of the work done by Ivan Pavlov’s which laid the foundation of academic psychology in the association with John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner, and Abraham Maslow. They named behaviorism as “The first force”. This systematically excluded the subjective data of the consciousness and more information about bearing on the complexity of the human personality and its development. But it was no longer used on humans except for the persons who are in the closed neuro-psychiatric ward. 

Hence the second force arose that was composed by psychologists such as Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Melanie Klein, Harry Stack Sullivan, and Sigmund Freud. Thus the necessity of the third force was emphasized by Maslow by mentioning that “Freud has supplied the half of the psychology and the other half has to be filled healthily by us”.

Humanistic Psychotherapy is Summarised By the Principles:

  • Human beings are superseded as a sum of the parts.

  • The existence of human beings is in the unique human context and also in the cosmic ecology.

  • Human beings are aware and conscious. This consciousness includes the awareness of the one person in the other people.

  • Human beings are capable of making choices and they are responsible for it.

  • They are intentional, they aim at making goals, aware of future events, and thus seek the value, meaning, and creativity.

Development of the Humanist Therapist

The preliminary meeting had led to the other developments that culminated in the description of the “third force” in psychology. These significant developments had led to the formation of AHP (Association for Humanistic Psychology) in the year 1916. 

For the “first invitational conference” on human psychology in a movement gathered at the old Saybrook. The meaning of this is to develop the cooperation between the AHP, Wesleyan University, and Hazen foundation. Where the AHP sponsored the conference, Wesleyan University hosted the meeting, and the Hazen Foundation provided the financing. 

The intention of the participants is to formulate a new vision for psychology. In their view the complete image of the person is better than the image that was presented by Behaviourism and Freudian psychology. The conference has been described as a historic event that was important for the academic status of Humanistic psychology and its future aspirations.

Graduate programs at the institutions of higher learning for humanistic psychology grew gradually. In the year 1971 the humanistic psychology was recognized as a field by the APA (American psychological association). Thus APA granted its own division that is division 32 this division helps to publish their own journal named “The humanistic psychologist”.

Humanistic Approach to Counseling

The aim of humanistic therapy is to help the healthier and stronger sense of the self. This therapy attempts to teach humans about self-fulfillment. 

1. Approaches: There are several approaches for Humanistic psychology to counseling and therapy. The developmental theory of Abraham Maslow is the earliest approach we found, emphasizing a hierarchy of needs and motivations. The existential psychology of Rollo May acknowledges the choice of the humans and the tragic aspects of their existence, and the client-centered or person-centered therapy of Carl Rogers, which aims at the capacity of the client for self-direction and understanding of their own development. Client-centered therapy is non-directive. The therapist listens to the client without judgment, allowing the client to return to insights by themselves. The therapist should make sure that all of the client's feelings are being considered which the therapist features a firm grasp on the concerns of the client while ensuring that there's an air of acceptance and heat. The client-centered therapists are engaged in active listening during the therapy sessions.

Existential psychotherapies are an application of humanistic psychology that emphasizes the idea that humans are capable of having the freedom to make sense of their lives. They are free to define themselves and do whatever they want to do. It is a type of humanistic therapy that forces humans to explore the meaning as well as its purpose of their own life. There is a conflict between having limitations and having freedoms. Existential therapy involves the resolving of this conflict.

Gestalt therapy is another approach to humanistic counseling, which puts attention on the here and now, especially as a chance to seem at the past on any preconceived notions and focuses on how the present is affected by the past. Role-playing also plays a large role in this therapy and allows it for a true expression of feelings that may not have been shared in the other circumstances. In Gestalt therapy, non-verbal cues are a crucial indicator of how the client may very well be feeling, despite the emotions expressed.

2. Empathy and Self-Help: One of the most important features of humanistic therapy is empathy. This idea focuses on the ability of the therapist to see the world through the eyes of the client. Without this, therapists are often forced to use an external frame of reference where the therapist is not any longer understanding the actions and thoughts of the client because the client would, but strictly as a therapist which defeats the aim of humanistic therapy. This ensures that the therapist doesn't become the authority within the relationship allowing a more open flow of data also as a kinder relationship between them. A therapist practicing humanistic therapy must show a willingness to concentrate and make sure the comfort of the patient where genuine feelings could also be shared but aren't forced upon someone. One of Carl Rogers' students, Marshall Rosenberg emphasizes that empathy within the relationship is the concept of Nonviolent Communication.

Self-help is additionally a part of humanistic psychology: Sheila Ernst and Lucy Goodison have described using a number of the most humanistic approaches in self-help groups. Humanistic Psychology is applicable to self-help because it's oriented towards changing the way an individual thinks. One can only improve once they plan to change their ways of brooding about themselves, once they plan to help themselves. Co-counseling, which is an approach that is purely based on self-help, and it is regarded as coming from humanistic psychology as well.

3. The Idea Self: The ideal self and real self involves the understanding of the issues that arise from having an idea of what you wish you were as a person and having that will not match with who you actually are as a person. The ideal self is what an individual believes should be done, also as what their core values are. The real self is what's actually called life. Through humanistic therapy, an understanding of this allows clients to feature positive experiences to their real self-concept. The goal is to possess the two concepts of self to become congruent. Rogers believed that only a therapist was ready to be congruent, a true relationship occurs in therapy. It is much easier to trust someone who is willing to share feelings openly, albeit it's going to not be what the client always wants; this enables the therapist to foster a strong relationship.


The rogers humanistic theory explains humanistic psychology in a good manner. Humanistic psychology's emphasis on creativity and wholeness created a foundation for brand spanking new approaches towards human capital within the workplace stressing creativity and therefore the relevance of emotional interactions. The connotations of "creativity" previously were reserved for and primarily restricted to the working artists. In the 1980s, with increasing numbers of individuals working within the cognitive-cultural economy, creativity came to be seen as a useful commodity and competitive edge for international brands. 

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FAQs on Humanistic Psychology

1. What is a Humanistic Theory of Psychology?

Ans: Humanistic psychology may be a perspective that emphasizes watching the entire individual and stresses concepts like discretion, self-efficacy, and self-actualization. Rather than concentrating on dysfunction, humanistic psychology helps to assist people to fulfill their own potential and maximizes their well-being.

2. What are the Key Features of Humanistic Psychology?

Ans: The key features of humanistic psychology are:

  • Human beings are superseded as a sum of the parts.

  • The existence of human beings is in the unique human context and also in the cosmic ecology.

  • Human beings are aware and conscious where this consciousness includes the awareness about the people.

  • Human beings are capable and responsible for making choices.

  • Humans are intentional, they aim at their goals, aware of future events, and thus seek values, meaning, and creativity.

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