Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 19

Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 19 - Description

This perspective grew largely out of frustration with both behaviorism and psychoanalysis.. The focus of psychology should not be on observable behavior and how it can be manipulated (behaviorism).. Nor should it be on unconscious motivation and how to understand it (psychoanalysis).. ID: 688781 Download Presentation

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Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 19

This perspective grew largely out of frustration with both behaviorism and psychoanalysis.. The focus of psychology should not be on observable behavior and how it can be manipulated (behaviorism).. Nor should it be on unconscious motivation and how to understand it (psychoanalysis)..

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Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 19

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Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 1950s.

This perspective grew largely out of frustration with both behaviorism and psychoanalysis.

The focus of psychology should not be on observable behavior and how it can be manipulated (behaviorism).

Nor should it be on unconscious motivation and how to understand it (psychoanalysis).


Humanistic Psychology

Instead psychology should be about an unbridled pursuit of a profound understanding of human nature (human emotion and the essence of being).


Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic psychology has its theoretical roots in existential philosophy.

As discussed in previous lectures (Romanticism Era), generally speaking, the existentialists look for the meaning of life, and they can be divided into theists (rooted in Kierkegaard) and atheists (rooted in Nietzsche).


Philosophical Roots

Humanism was also influenced by the romantic philosophers. Rousseau

s seminal work on emotion, which is based on an assumed goodness in people, is especially noteworthy.

Martin Heidegger


Being and Time

(1927), in which he thoroughly describes the nature of the question of existence. Heidegger

s work defined the existential movement, and allows us to ask ourselves the same questions.

Alfred Adler

influence of

healthy lifestyles.


Humanism and Existentialism

Humanism and existentialism entered into psychology as mutual partners of the third force.

The major difference is that humanism assumes people are basically good, whereas existentialism assumes people are neither good nor bad (human nature has no inherent quality).

Both place a priority on the meaning of life and purpose within life. In humanistic psychology, the effort is focused more on the search for meaning and the need for fulfillment and purpose in life.


Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

Maslow gets the credit for legitimizing Humanistic Psychology within the field of psychology.

Started as a Harry Harlow-trained behaviorist, but upon raising his first child, he abandoned behaviorism.

In the 1930s, many psychologists were fleeing Europe and the Nazi aggressions. As a fellow Jew living in in New York, he took it upon himself to assist and befriend them (Wertheimer, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, etc.)


Abraham Maslow

In 1951, he became chairman of the psychology department at Brandeis University, which positioned him well to establish humanistic psychology as a formal line of study.

Ten years later, humanism was a recognized field of study, with a university-sponsored journal.


Formal Humanism


s formal tenets:

Animal research does not reflect human conditions.

Human behavior is guided by a subjective reality.

The study of the individual is more revealing than the study of group norms.

Research should seek to expand and enrich the human experience.


Hierarchy of needs

According to Maslow we are motivated to fulfill needs, but since our needs are ordered hierarchically, we must proceed incrementally, fulfilling our most basic needs first before proceeding to the other levels.



Deficiency Motivation

The interest in and value of the hierarchy of needs was in mapping out how we can achieve our human potential.

There are two types of human motivation.

For those of us who have not achieved self-actualization, Maslow says we are motivated to fulfill our lower-level needs


deficiency motivation.

Only after we fulfill our deficiencies, can we move on to achieve our full potential


being motivation



Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

Carl Rogers applied humanistic principles in clinical settings, proposing a client-centered approach to psychotherapy.

Like other humanists, Rogers believed self-actualization to be natural, but he also believed it could be nurtured (



Because people need other people, Rogers believed that self-actualizing did not need separation from other needs, and could be addressed clinically.

His clinical work was unorthodox, but very successful. At the request of others, Rogers put together a method and theory for his results.


Rogerian Psychotherapy

Carl Rogers faced his patients and looked them in the eye. The client-centered therapy was guided by three principles:


he developed a true empathetic relationship built on total honesty and mutual respect.


non-judgmental acceptance was a key ingredient of his approach. He accepted his patients

beliefs and behaviors without question.


Rogers’ Theory


the relationships were only successful if he could feel the desire to understand.

Based on the results of his work, Rogers concluded that we all had an

organismic valuing process.

It is a process of judging our experiences for whether or not they bring us closer to self-actualization.


Rogers’ Theory

We maintain experiences (good and bad) that fit our self-actualization, and discard experiences that are unrelated to self-actualization.



experiences are valuable because they involve our

need for positive regard.


Positive Regard

We all desire positive regard. However, we tend to only get positive regard during certain conditions (e.g. for good behavior, for winning)

We create

conditions of worth

we assume we must fulfill certain conditions if we want to fulfill our desire for positive regard.

We start living for

conditional positive regard,

which takes us away from self-actualization.

Rogers, in turn, offered

unconditional positive regard.



, his patients were able to become fully functioning people.






Existential Psychology

As said earlier, the major difference between humanism and existentialism is that humanism assumes people are basically good, but existentialism assumes people have no inherent qualities. (no good or bad, no destiny, etc.)

Existentialism is founded in the romantic-socialistic movements that explored free-will and self-governance as our basic human nature.

Existential psychology has its roots in Martin Heidegger, who defined the existential quest.


Before Heidegger

It is important to note that existentialism has two major divisions: theists and atheists.

Starting with Kierkegaard, the theists propose that our existence is defined by the way we choose to relate to

the source of existence


Strongly inspired by Nietzsche, the atheists propose that we define our own existence. God, in turn, is just a way of defining our existence.

Both, however, believe that existence involves free will, and our free will is what defines us.


Martin Heidegger


Before Heidegger, existentialists were just the philosophers who looked inward to find the meaning of their existence. With Heidegger, existentialism became an art-form of asking the questions of existence.

Some say that Heidegger was an atheist, but it may be more appropriate to say that he considered God to be part of the question of existence.

His famous question (translation),

Why are there things, rather than nothing?


Why things, rather than nothing?

With the famous question, Heidegger would not offer answers, but a deep explanation of the question being asked.

To start, the question shows how existence is defined for its contrast with


The quest, therefore, is to discover the


which is the negation of



negation of nothing

involves two issues, The Self (

Who am I?

) and

The Situation (

Why am I here?



The Dasein

Dasein is the word that Heidegger coined for the existential state of the

person in the world

(made from the two German words for

being there.

Da = there, sein = being).

We cannot separate ourselves from the world around us, so we understand our existence

in the world

our understanding is


In other words,

Who am I?


Why am I here?

are the same existential question, though one refers to


and the other to



Being and Time (1927)

Heidegger proposed how to explore meaning in existence from within our dasein. His book,

Being and Time

(1927), is hard to read, but is the best summary of his personal exploration.

His concern was with asking the best questions. In general, he discussed questions such as,

how is my


the same (or different) whether I am





He did not care about answers, but about explaining the questions.

Being and Time

became a model for those interested in both existence and psychology.


Dasein and Psychology

The authentic life

To truly accept life, we must also accept death. Our mortality is part of our dasein. This is true even if mortality only exists

in the world

(the theistic approach).

If we deny the mortality of our dasein, we do not address the true meaning of our dasein.

Further, we do not become all we can become.


occurs within the


and becoming is best done within an authentic life.


authentic life

is where existentialism generally crosses over into psychology.


Dasein and Psychology

If we maintain an inauthentic life, then we will develop highly undesirable psychological consequences.

If we deny our


(our free will), we could experience guilt. Concerning mental health, if we are unable to accept our true


we could end up with an anxiety disorder.

We should also separate our


from our


Thrown-ness consists of our coincidental truths, such as our gender, age, the time we are born in and the place we live in.


Jean-Paul Sartre


Sartre was an atheistic philosopher who provided his own answers to Heidegger

s questions regarding existence.

His conclusions were profound, and he became the most prominent existential philosopher. In fact, he gave the field the name


and outlined its predecessors.

As with all the existentialists, Sartre is difficult to explain. His work, however, can be described as a re-arrangement of Heidegger






Heidegger said that existence must negate the


Sartre, however, proposed that the original nature of existence is


In other words, where Heidegger asked the questions, Sartre provided answers by first assuming that existence begins as nothingness.

In his book

Being and Nothingness

(1943) he proposed that


is an act of becoming. In short, existence is nothing, the


is becoming, and the


is prior becomings.


Nothingness and psychology

Sartre made the ultimate statement that human nature has no original form (or

it begins as nothingness

), so we define our own existence.

Sartre never directly addressed the field of psychology, but he defined the atheistic approach to existence

not just saying

God is dead,

but offering an explanation of morality and meaningfulness in the absence of a God.

Since Sartre, existentialists have been easily divided into belief in existence-is-within-God (theists) or God-is-within-existence (atheists).


Ludwig Binswanger


Binswanger was a student of Carl Jung, and a uniquely close friend of Freud. Add in his friendship with Heidegger, and he was in a good place to develop existential psychoanalysis.

He developed



a psychoanalysis that addressed the here-and-now! His contribution did not offer original ideas, but it did give us a more coherent form of psychological existentialism.

The goal of his existential psychology was to go from

being in the world


being beyond the world

free to impose our will on our



Being beyond the world

Daseinanalysis starts with the


which is the way we relate to the




is the main influence on our personality (extraversion, positivity, etc.).

Our mental health is related to the quality of our world-design. Better design = better health; sick society = mental illness.

The ultimate goal of daseinanalysis is to achieve a healthy mental-state in which we learn how to transform our circumstances with free will.


Rollo May (1909-1994)

He brought Heidegger

s existentialism to the U.S. in the 1950

s. He was also close friends with Paul Tillich (a theological existentialist).

May represents the theistic existentialists, meaning he is rooted in Kierkegaard

true existence is a relationship with our creator.

As a result, May

s psychology addresses the difference between religious theology and existential theology.


Existential Theology


the creator

, the purpose of our existence. If there was no reason for us to exist, we wouldn

t exist.

Relationships with God

We have different wills and different


, so we have unique relationships with our creator. One relationship may have no relevance to another relationship.

Good and evil

creations of the free will. Our ability to define good and evil (laws, etc.) reflects our ability to define our existence.




It is not

in the world,

so it has no relevance to our free will.


May on Existential Theology


s words

Call it confidence with the universe, trust in God, belief in one

s fellow-man, or what-not, the essence of religion is the belief that something matters

the pre-supposition that life has meaning.







May merged theological existential psychology with other theories, particularly Freud

First step, we must accept our


all the things we cannot control, including the attributes with which we are born and the environment we end up in. (based on Heidegger




Then, we must have


the ability to face our anxieties and accept our responsibilities.

Destiny and courage are components of four


of existentialism


Existential Stages


our pre-ego (pre-self-conscious) infancy. We are pre-moral (neither bad nor good).


Our only will is to fulfill our needs.


adolescent development of ego by rebelling against authority. We want freedom (free will) but must learn responsibilities.


normal adult ego. We know how to be responsible, but we still prefer conformity and traditional values.


the authentic adult (existential stage). We face the anxieties of free will with courage.


May’s Psychoanalysis

May called our motivations


(can be good or bad). We live with a daimonic construct

a collection of our daimons (Jungian).

We also create



playful imagining of possibilities

of a daimon.

Finally, we have


the ability to act on our motivations to make our wishes come true.

Mental health is therefore the result of how we use free will to try and make wishes come true. This is categorized into three

personality types.


Personality Types

First, say that your daimon is


your motivation is to be loved. (Eros is Cupid). May defines two disorder personalities and one healthy personality, based on will and____.

One disorder is the


they are all will and no love (Perfection-driven and empty).

The other is the


they are all wishes but no will (dependent and conforming).

The healthy people are


can combine our love (motivation) and will (




Personality Types


s three personality types apply to all motivations, but he defined them by the daimon, not the will

1) all will, no [daimon],

2) all [daimon], no will,

3) will and [daimon].


Mental Health

The key to successful therapy


no daimon

patients needed to overcome their guilt to realize their daimons.


no will

patients needed the courage to face the anxieties of their free will.