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An in-Depth View of Humanistic Psychology, By Jessica Creel

An in-Depth View of Humanistic Psychology, By Jessica Creel



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Published by: ligrivtagra on Feb 25, 2013
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------An In-Depth View Of Humanistic Psychology
Jessica Creel, Saint Leo University
 Humanistic psychology is a field of practice which was developed as a response to theother known fields of psychology
psychoanalysis and behaviorism. While the original
 fields of psychology focus on the scientific and the traumatic events in a person’s
life,humanistic psychology focuses more on the positive and the less scientific perspective of a
 person’s life. The application of humanistic psychology focuses on the person, the client,
his experiences, his feelings, and his perceptions. It is a more holistic approach to psychology, with a prime emphasis placed on empathy. Humanistic psychology is also based on the works of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and  Rollo May, all of whom highlight the importance of client-
centered therapy. Maslow’s
work emphasizes on self-actualization, in other words, helping the client eventually achieveand accept his experiences. Humanistic psychology in effect seeks to empower clients,acknowledging their feelings and their perceived sense of self.
Literature Review and HistoryThe Foundation and Early BeginningApproaches to Counseling and TherapyPerceptions of Humanistic PsychologyEvaluation of Behavior in Humanistic PsychologyCriticisms of the FieldDiscussionImplications
 Humanistic psychology is one of the branches or studies related to psychology. It is basically a
 branch of psychology which highlights the importance of an individual‟s thrust towards self 
-actualization. It is a field of study which gained popularity in the 20th century, eventuallyestablishing its current place in psychology and the behavioral sciences. This paper will nowseek to provide a specific and in-depth assessment of humanistic psychology. It will evaluate itsrelevance to everyday life, its history, related theories, and philosophies; its methods will also bereviewed and discussed. A discussion on the definition of humanistic psychology will first bepresented, including its related theories. A history of the humanistic psychology shall also bepresented. This will be followed by a discussion on the latest theories, methods and philosophiesrelevant to humanistic psychology. The relevance of the field to daily life will also beconsidered. A conclusion and summary will end this essay. This essay is being carried out inorder to establish a clear and academic understanding of humanistic psychology, including itselements and applications.
Literature Review and History
Humanistic psychology is a “movement in psychology supporting the belief that hum
ans, asindividuals, are unique beings and should be recognized and treated as such by psychologists and
 psychiatrists” (Britannica Encyclopedia, 2012). It is often considered as a third force in
psychology, very much different from the other known approaches to psychology
that of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. This school of psychology highlights a holistic approach tohuman existence and emphasizes creativity and human potential. This approach is popular inNorth America, and in areas of education and social work, including transpersonal psychology(Colman, 2009).
The Foundation and Early Beginning
The Foundation of humanistic psychology includes the phenomenological as well as theexistentialist principle (American Psychological Association, 2012). Eastern philosophical ideasare also considered significant to humanistic psychology, including the philosophies of personalism, which highlight related concerns on the foundation of human consciousness andhuman existence (Aanstoos, Serlin, and Greening, 2000). By the 1930s, various psychiatrists andmental health practitioners developed interest on human issues. Most of these issues includedself-actualization, health, hope, love, and becoming, aspects which are very much relevant inunderstanding human development and existence (Aanstoos, et.al., 2000). Interest was also builton the establishment of a professional association which would focus on the elements of humancapital and human consciousness.Theories and perspectives. Theories and perspectives related to this theory include five mainthoughts. These were first established by Bugental (1964) and later supported by otherpsychologists (Greening, 2006). These five principles point out that:
1. Humans “supersede the sum of their parts” (Bugenthal, 19
64, p. 19). They cannot therefore becondensed to their components or parts.
2. Humans exist in a specific context, and also in a cosmic ecology.3. Human beings are conscious, aware of themselves and of other people.4. Humans have a choice and a responsibility.5. Humans have intent in their actions, and aim for the fulfillment of their goals; they are awarethat they have an impact on the future; they want to establish meaning as well as value(Bugental, 1964).After discussions among academics and practitioners in psychology, humanistic psychology waseventually accepted as a third force in psychology. This recognition led to the formation of theAssociation for Humanistic Psychology in 1961, as well as the formation of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology within the same year (Schachter, 2011). Graduate studies in the fieldwere soon opened in various educational institutions. In the 1970s, the field was also recognizedby the American Psychological Association and given a division within the APA. Through thisdivision, humanistic psychologists have been able to publish peer-reviewed studies in the journalThe Humanistic Psychologist, a journal specifically publishing studies within the field(Aanstoos, et.al., 2000).The early beginnings of this field of psychology were in the 1950s where humanistic psychologywas established as a response to the more dominant fields of psychoanalysis and behaviorism(Bugental, 1964). Psychoanalysis is mostly concerned in understanding the unconsciousmotivations which support human behavior; and behaviorism on the other hand is focused on theconditioning elements which impact on human behavior (Bugental, 1964). The humanistsbelieve that the fields of psychoanalysis and behaviorism have a pessimistic view of humanbehavior, often highlighting the tragic events and depressing emotions of humans, andsometimes discounting the impact of personal choice (Bugental, 1964). Humanistic psychologyproposed that instead of fixating on the individual potential of individuals, more focus can be puton growth and self-actualization.The basic belief of humanistic psychology is founded on the contention that people areinherently good and that mental health and social issues are derived from the departure in naturalqualities (Carlson, 2010). In the late 1950s, various psychologists discussed the establishment of a professional association specifically to accommodate humanistic psychology. Thesepsychologists accepted self-actualization and individuality as elements of this field. Inasmuch asthe three fields of psychology are different, it is not necessary to consider these three schools of thought as competing fields. Each of these schools has assisted in the establishment of animproved understanding of the human mind and of behavior (Carlson, 2010). And humanisticpsychology has secured another perspective to psychology, one which considers a more holisticview of humans.
Approaches to Counseling and Therapy
Humanistic psychology has various approaches to counseling and therapy. One of the initialapproaches was developed by Maslow based on his development of the hierarchy of needs and

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