Humanism essay


Tableof Contents

Introduction 3

Theorists 4

Abraham Maslow 4

Rollo May 5

Carl Rogers 5

Principles 6

and Behavior 7

and Counseling 9

Conclusion 12

References 14


Atthe beginning of the 20th century, the behaviorist school of thoughtexperienced extensive practice. According to this perspective,behavior was the sole observable occurrence associated with mentalprocesses (Manne, 2016). Due to this, it was declared the onlyhelpful perspective in psychology. Behaviorists were devoid of thebelief that it presented any value to emotion, memory, or otherhuman-related perspectives. Similarly, the psychoanalysis idea arosearound the same period as the behaviorist concept. The school ofthought claimed that observable occurrences were the artificial,unconscious manifestations of impulse. According to May (2013),psychoanalysts including Sigmund Freud supposed that patients failedto understand their individual motivations. Therefore, to helppatients, they needed to uncover their hidden desires, which drovebehavior. Around the 1950s, some psychologists embarked on developinga theoretical viewpoint that was distinct from both psychoanalysisand behaviorism (Manne, 2016). surfaced with foundations inRenaissance and classical philosophy, which placed emphasis onself-realization. Historically, the general concept of humanismcarried multiple meaning to a variety of people, and this is trueeven today. However, in psychology, humanism considers humans to beholistic individuals who can determine their personal goals andmannerisms through developing and growing intellectually, ethicallyand psychologically. Therefore, the concept experiences considerationas a progressive philosophy of life, which is devoid of supernaturalbeliefs and theism. In this paper, I will discuss the idea ofhumanism is psychology. I will also attempt to highlight the mannerin which humanism relates to behavior and counseling.


Thehumanism psychology foundation developed throughout the years of the1950s into the early years of the 1960s via some forums organized bythe principal movement figures (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012).Psychologists, including Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, and Carl Rodgersamong others, were the primary players involved in developing thefundamental humanism principles. These groups of analysts cametogether to discuss psychology interests, which uniquely focused onhuman concerns including creativity, meaning, becoming, love, nature,health, self, individuality, hope, and self-actualization (Gergen,2015). They established a theoretical viewpoint, which honors thecomplete intentional, capability, and conscious of a human being indeveloping meaning in their lives. They claimed that each individualhas a level of uniqueness and that they should experience respect andacceptance regarding their personal characteristics and qualities.Therefore, every human being is a mixture of diverse abilities,biology, unexploited resources, and previous and present experiencesin response to the circumstances of life. Through humanism,individuals have an opportunity and capacity for both change andgrowth.

Abraham Maslow

Maslowcomes across as a primary influential humanist psychologist popularlyknown for his self-actualization definition, and the hierarchy ofneeds establishment (Greason &amp Welfare, 2013). The psychologistbelieved psychology should not solely center on the concepts ofmental illness rather he emphasized in the examination of healthyindividuals. To come up with his theories, Maslow examined otherindividuals writing and biographies including Henry Thoreau andAlbert Einstein, which he thought illustrated self-actualization(Pearson, 1999). With this, he described self-actualization as themotivation and desire to attain an individual`s personal potential.He believed every self-actualizing person possess spontaneity,autonomy, self-acceptance, the ability to create intenseinterpersonal relationships, and the willpower to chase ambitionsbeyond their individual self (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). Additionally,he claimed that individuals are driven by needs making motivation theprimary force that leads to the understanding of human behavior.

Rollo May

Mayis a renowned existential psychotherapist and psychologist and theco-founder of the movement of humanism psychology. He mainlycriticized the contemporaries and integrated the traditions alignedto existential and humanism. Due to this, he explored a differentapproach to humanism psychology that showed a clearer awarenessrelated to the human existence tragic dimensions. According toMendelowitz (2011), May experienced influence from American humanismand places great emphasis on the significance of human choice.

Carl Rogers

Rogerscomes across as the 20thcentury`s influential psychologist due to his promotion and foundingof humanism. According to Manne (2016), his most influence occurs inhis development of the person-centered therapeutic technique. Theperson-centered therapy claims the patient is the primary personcapable of understanding their previous experiences. To supportclient growth, Carl Rogers suggests three approaches to the creationof a therapeutic environment that include the unconditional positiveregards, empathic understanding, and congruence (Csillik, 2013).According to Rogers, these original three conditions are necessarywhen establishing a trusting and understanding atmosphere. Only inthese atmospheres, can a patient experience the power of therapeuticchange.


Subsequently,humanism makes existential assumptions claiming individuals have freewill. According to Rock, Degeling &amp Blue (2014), this is linkedto the term personal agency, which is a humanistic name forexercising free will. It mainly denotes the choices human beingscommand in their lives, the path they choose, and the consequences ofthese choices. Further, humanism assumes that individuals areinherently good and have an essential need to better their self andthe world (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). Therefore, the humanisticviewpoint places emphasis on personal worth, human values centrality,and personal activeness and creativity. The method has an optimisticnature and centers on the remarkable human capacity to overpowerpain, despair, and hardship.

Additionally,humanism discards scientific methodology including experiments andclassically utilizes qualitative research methods like unstructuredinterviews, diary accounts, unstructured observations, and open-endedquestionnaires (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). It is apparent thatqualitative research has a high level of usefulness in studyingindividuals extensively discovering their line of thought andfeeling. Therefore, humanism allows people to understand otherpersons through engaging them. With this, they share their encountersand in return understand their feelings. Additionally, humanismdenies comparative psychology that involves studying animals since itfails to explain anything concerning a person’s unique properties(Rock, Degeling &amp Blue, 2014). The concept of humanism observespeople as profoundly distinct from the other animals, principally dueto the conscious nature of humans that allows reason, language, andthought. Therefore, animal research including monkeys, rats, andpigeons possessed little value. Further, they claimed animal researchgave little detail concerning human behavior, experiences, andthought. In agreement with Burks &amp Kobus (2012), humanisticpsychologists disregarded severe psychology scientific approaches dueto their dehumanizing nature and their inability to seize theconscious experience. Therefore, this scientific psychology rejectionin the 1950s to 1970s backlashed the behaviorist approach dominancein the North American psychology approach.

and Behavior

Humanisticpsychology believes that ethical values and intentionality areresilient psychological factors that are among the primary humanbehavior determinants. The belief results in the enhancement of humanqualities such as creativity, mind, and spirit, choice, bodyinteraction, life-affirming, responsibility, free will, trust, andthe practice of self-awareness (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). can experience utilization to explain behavior using differentviewpoints from various theorists. Carl Roger`s perspective ofbehavior focuses on self that represents an individual`s awareness oftheir identity (Csillik, 2013). Rogers believed that individualscould only reach their growth potential if they had a positiveself-regard, which means having a positive view towards self.However, this is only possible if these individuals haveunconditional positive regards towards other people, that is, theymust have a sense of value and respect without the reservations ofthose surrounding them. In simpler terms, peoples should be viewed ashuman beings without being criticized and judged.

Despitethis, most individuals today have problems since they fail toperceive the unconditional positive regards associated with others.Instead, they reason that they can only experience value and lovewhenever they meet specific conditions of worth. They includesuccessfully fulfilling a job task, passing examinations, andbehaving appropriately. According to Greason &amp Welfare (2013),these worth conditions establish self-inconsistencies between theactual self (personal behavior) and the perfect self (expectedbehavior). Therefore, it is logical that individuals tend to attemptclosing the gap between their actual and accurate self, but mostpersons attain this using unhelpful methods, probably pursuingunfulfilling accomplishments or distort their self-awareness or thatof the world (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). For instance, a pupil whoonly equates their worth to their perfect examination grades maydismiss a ‘B&quot grade as the absolute failure, which proves themof their achievement. On the other hand, they can blame theireducators, which may prevent them from taking the necessary actionneeded to improve their scores even further.

Subsequently,Abraham Maslow views behavior from a more complicated approachcompared to Carl Rogers. It is evident that Carl Rogers supposed thatindividuals required unconditional positive regard but Maslowrecognized these people have several needs, which are different inimmediacy therefore, each need experienced satisfaction at distinctperiods (Gergen, 2015). Maslow arranged the needs in the form of ahierarchy where the most basic needs found at the bottom takepriority over the needs discovered in the higher position of thepyramid. Therefore, capturing starvation is more important comparedto the recognition of an individual`s achievement. With this, aperson`s behavior associates with their need to fulfill their mosturgent need within the hierarchy. A successful accomplishment of eachof the layers of needs is critical in the establishment of individualbehavior. Further, Maslow assumed that individuals who managed tosatisfy their every need might attain the status ofself-actualization they are remarkable and rare persons capable ofcompletely fulfilling their potential (Greason &amp Welfare, 2013).Although this is true, he explained that extended periods wherecertain needs fail to be fulfilled results to fixation. For instance,an individual brought up in poverty might experience continuedanxiety associated with food even when they manage to escape povertylater in their lives.

Humanbehavior has become an intriguing concept in the field of psychologyin general, and the humanistic psychologist tends to favor researchtechniques that allow them to understand the subjectivity of otherindividuals better (Burks &amp Kobus, 2012). Conversely, theyusually avoid techniques that aim to examine people objectively,which include non-participant observations and experimentations. psychologists believe that the reduction of people`sencounters to absolute numbers deprives them of richer and meaningfulevaluations making them evade quantitative approaches. To examinehuman behavior accurately, these classes of psychologists emphasizemore on qualitative methods, specifically unstructured interviewing(May, 2013). Through this, they manage to access the viewpoints andexperiences of people without influencing them or imposing theirideas relating to that which is important. When the observationtechnique experiences utilization, they possibly use participantobservation where researchers participate in what patients arestudying for them to understand the manner by which these patientsperceive the task. Additionally, to establish behavior, humanpsychologists tend to examine many qualitative materials that givethem knowledge as to how people appreciate their world like letters,biographies, and diaries (Rock, Degeling &amp Blue, 2014). Themethod is evident on Maslow`s research on the traits related toself-actualizing individuals (Manne, 2016). He selected possiblesubjects from historical and public characters and used theirbiographies among other documentary pieces of evidence to examinethat, which was common among them. He established that they wereoriginal and unconventional, capable of intimate and profoundinteraction, they enjoy life, and they accept their selves andothers.


Inthe modern era, human beings have experienced vulnerability to abroad collection of harms that include abuse administered to them byothers, natural disasters, and terrorism. Humanistic counselorsfacilitate the healing process to patients who have encountered harmthat threatens their well-being and safety. In this way, they manageto promote client healing along with the wellness of the counselor.Therefore, the humanistic counselors manage to make their patientsminimize their negative personal consequences, maximize theirpositive outcomes, and reduce the high level associated with slowdestruction (Scholl, Ray &amp Brady-Amoon, 2014). With this, ahumanistic approach to counseling ensures that the focus is placed onthe client`s strengths and not deficits. Subsequently, humanisticcounseling exploits several methods. The earliest methodologiesincluded Abraham Maslow`s developmental theory, which emphasized onmotivations and hierarchy of needs. Additionally, Rollo May`sexistential psychology that acknowledges human choice and humanexistence tragic aspects and Carl Roger`s Client or Person-Centeredtherapy that focused on a patient`s self-direction and understandingcapacity of their personal development (Hansen, Speciale &ampLemberger, 2014).

Accordingto Scholl, Ray &amp Brady-Amoon (2014), the counseling humanisticapproaches are collective approaches to treatment in psychotherapyand counseling, which differentiates human beings from the rest ofthe animals. Humanistic Counseling methodologies emphasize on anindividual potential to enthusiastically choose and decisively decideon matters that relate to them and their surroundings. Through ahumanism approach to counseling, psychologists manage to helppatients increase their levels of self-understanding via facing theirfeelings instead of the counseling process (Hansen, Speciale &ampLemberger, 2014). It offers them opportunities to discover personalgrowth, creativity, self-development, and the recognition of multiplechoices (Ramsey-Wade, 2015). The approaches foundation allowspatients to have a deeper sense of understanding of self and theirfeelings. In simpler terms, it encourages self-realization andself-awareness. Through this, humanism emphasizes on the patientsbeing the sole decision makers and the utter controllers of theirdevelopment and growth. Further, Brady-Amoon (2012) claims humanisticcounseling involves diverse elements but is unified by the notionthat human beings are intricate to other events. Therefore, humansare not by-products associated with other processes but are wholebeings.

Itis evident that humanistic psychologists utilize various forms ofcounseling therapies, which include person-centered therapy byRogers, existential therapy by May, and Gestalt therapy by FritzPerls (Barry, 1999). The person-centered therapy assumes that apatient drives their recovery but acknowledges that the counselormust present a relationship where the patient can sincerely test anddiscover their individual realities (Csillik, 2013). They also haveto experience an honest understanding and acknowledgment from theirtherapists. These counselors, therefore, establish three mainsituations to help their patients to change. They includeunconditional positive regard, accurate empathy that allowstherapists to convey an accurate understanding of their patient`sworld through active and professional listening, and positive,accepting, and warm attitudes, which include no moral judgment orevaluation. Therefore, using the person-centered therapy emphasizeson a patient`s self-actualization and their active forces. The mainaim of this therapy is to reflect and a patient`s feelings, theirability to overpower resistance via constant acceptance, and topractice positivity rather than negativity.

Subsequently,existential psychology highlights six propositions (Barry, 1999).These claim that every person has a capacity of self-awareness arefree beings, and have a unique identity that is established throughinteractions with others. Additionally, they claim every individualshould always recreate attributed to the consistent shifting of themeaning attached to existence and life, anxiety is a normal humancondition, and that death gives importance to living. Therefore, thecounseling approach involves viewing patients as beings havingsocial, psychological, and biological needs. According to Ramsey-Wade(2015), this means being in the physical world, relationship withself and relationship with others. Using this type of therapy,counselor`s help their patients focus on their personalresponsibility related to decision-making. They may also integratesome form of humanistic techniques. Further, the Gestalt therapy is adirective form of counseling compared to the person-centered andnon-directive treatments. The approach allows patients a chance toexplore their feelings and thoughts and the manner by which theseelements undergo processing. According to Barry (1999), this approachprovides clients with the incentive to be knowledgeable of theirmind, spirit, and body. Through clarifying and working throughfeelings, clients can accomplish a thorough understanding of theirindividual personal encounters. Therefore, the humanistic counselorsutilizing this method support and enable their patients to achieveself-awareness through the application of a sequence of counselingexperiences and exercises that may include role-playing. With this,patients manage to attain increased self-recognition andself-awareness.


Tosum up, it is evident that the humanism approach is widely used inthe field of psychology to ensure that patients receive well-deservedtreatment. Without the concepts establishment by Maslow, May, andRogers among others, the world would still be relying on thebehaviorism and psychodynamics concepts. With the contribution ofthese scholars, humanism has managed to explain both behavior andcounseling in more compelling forms, which work in psychology today.However, even with the success of humanistic approaches topsychology, psychologists must integrate other approaches to ensurethat therapy is delivered accurately to ensure the well-being andsafety of humans.


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