Humanistic psychology is founded on the belief that moral and ethical values and intentions are the driving forces of our psychological construct and directly determine our human behavior. This value-oriented approach views humans as inherently driven to maximize their creative choices and interactions in order to gain a heightened sense of liberty, awareness, and life-affirming emotions. It was developed by Gordon Allport, J. Bugental, Charlotte Buhler, Abraham Maslow , Rollo May , Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray, Fritz Perls, and Carl Rogers.
Humanistic psychology integrates multiple techniques of therapy, including those of Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Rollo May. These theories suggest that a person is created with a distinct priority of needs and drives, that each person must rely on their own inner wisdom and healing center, and that all people possess free will. Psychologists who practice this method of therapy take a nonpathological approach and target the productive, adaptive, and beneficial traits and behaviors of a person. The client and therapist strive to meet for the purpose of achieving the same goal and to stimulate communication that will facilitate change. Self-actualization is at the heart of humanistic psychology.
This method of psychology realizes that there are external influences that have severe and often negative implications on the mind, both consciously and unconsciously. However, humanistic psychology stresses the inherent value of human beings and focuses on their ability to retain their dignity and their conscious willingness to form self-respect and competence. This value orientation is responsible for the creation of various other therapy models that utilize interpersonal skills for the purpose of maximizing one’s life experience.
Many humanistic psychologists have integrated cultural and social issues into their protocol. Early beginnings of humanistic psychology discussed and dissected the aspects of one’s capacity to love in present cultural settings, the overshadowing of human experience by technology, and the presence of true evil. Several mainstream psychologists continue to influence and shape the foundation of the humanistic approach as it grows through practical applications.
Last updated: 12-10-2013