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The Psychology of the Person Chapter 11 Humanistic Approach Naomi Wagner, Ph. D Lecture Outlines Based on Burger, 8 th edition
The “Third Force” The Humanistic approach has emerged in the late 1960’s, primarily as a reaction to the two major views of humanity popular at that time The Freudian perspective and its emphasis on unconscious sexual and aggressive instincts The behavioral perspective, and its emphasis on the mechanical nature of responses to stimuli in the environment. The humanistic perspective, thus, as been called the “third force”.
Deterministic Perspective of Human Nature The role of the unconscious is a hypothetical concept that cannot be empirically validated The manipulation of human beings on the basis of classical and operant conditioning was an ideas based on studies of rats that learned to run in a maze to find food. The food was the reward that affected the learning
Roots of the Humanistic Approach 1. Existential Philosophy Existential philosophy addresses many of the questions that later became the cornerstone of the Humanistic approach, such as, the meaning of our existence, the role of free will, and the uniqueness of each individual. The existentialists, such as Rollo May, focused on existential anxiety- the feeling of dread associated with the realization that there is no meaning to one’s life.
Existential Anxiety- What is there to life?
2. The clinical experiences of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. The founders of the Humanistic Approach, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, were both therapists At that time, the Freudian model of therapy was popular, viewing therapist as an expert who tells the client what is the problem Rogers maintained that it was only the client that is responsible for therapeutic direction The therapist can create conditions for selfexploration.
The Freudian Model of Psychotherapy The therapist as the “know- al” expert
Viktor Frankl All of Frankl’s family died in the Nazi concentration camp Frankl survived, and struggled to search for meaning in the face of horrible adversity He believed the examining the finiteness of our existence and inevitable mortality adds meaning to life, as we ask ourselves. Why do we exist? What do we want from life?
What is the best way to spend the time that is left? Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Man%27 s_Sea rch_for_Meaning
From the Ashes to Hope
Viktor Frankl Conclusion “Love is the highest and ultimate goal to which man can aspire The Salvation of man is in love and through love A man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, if only for a brief moment in the contemplation of the beloved” Frankl's meaning in life is to help others find theirs.
Cognitive-Restructuring Frankl’s ideas have been translated into the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Key Elements of the Humanistic Approach The Humanistic Perspective has not presented a comprehensive framework, but rather a collection of major principles that can be seen as directive to life.
Key Elements of the Humanistic Perspective Emphasis on personal responsibility (You don’t “have to” do your homework, you have chosen to do so). You are not a victim of circumstances!
Key Elements (cont-d) Emphasis on functioning in the “here and now”– Do not be a captive of your past!
Key Elements (cont-d) Acknowledging the phenomenology of the individual- - the fact that it is only the client (in therapy) that can make decision for him/herself.
Key Elements (cont-d) Emphasis on personal growth—Rogers called this ”becoming a fully functioning, while Maslow referred to this idea as “selfactualization”.
Self-Actualization- What is it? There is more to life than the absence of problems The Humanistic perspective maintain that we all have a drive toward “selfactualization” To become that best we can become, in the context of our life (you do not have to receive the Nobel Prize).
Carl Rogers and Person-Centered Therapy The role of therapist is to create an atmosphere of “unconditional positive regard” to enable the client’s self-exploration and becoming “fully functioning”. Paraphrasing and reflection of feelings were methods to facilitate self-exploration Rogers described the “fully- functioning person” as an ideal for healthy personality. Rogers saw anxiety as resulting from our inability to incorporate information that is inconsistent with our self-image
Rogers (cont-d) Note his emphasis on socialenvironmental causes of emotional maladjustment (in contrast to the biological approach), when he sees parental conditional acceptance. The Rogerian therapist would say to a client: “I do not like what you did, but I still respect you as a human being”.
Abraham Maslow was interested in exploring the sources of happy, healthy personality. His approach was optimistic, regarding human beings as free-willed individuals, and not as captive by unconscious drives His contribution is in the hierarchy of needs, and in the study of the psychologically-healthy individuals.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Maslow distinguished between D (deficiency) needs and B (being) needs. Physiological needs Safety needs Love and Belongingness needs Esteem needs (you value yourself, and others also value you) Self-Actualization needs
Hierarchy of Needs
Misconceptions about Maslow Hierarchy You do not have to fulfill all the needs in one level to “climb” to the next level Some people who starve for their loved one, or for their life work Te needs in each level are never fully satisfied There are cultural differences in the ways the needs are regarded and are fulfilled
The “psychologically-Healthy” People Maslow’s study of the psychologicallyhealthy people was Not empirically-based He examined his friends, whom he judged to be psychologically healthy, as well as historical figures His analysis was “holistic” and subjective Yet, it was relevant that he called attention to the healthy aspects of human nature
Attributes of the Psychologically. Healthy people Sense of humor Creativity- not in artistic talent, but in being able to perform mundane tasks in a non-routine manner. Open to new experiences Having “peak experiences”- which involve the transcendence of time and place.
The Psychology of Optimal Experience and Positive Psychology The legacy of the Humanistic Approach is in the emergence of the new branch of psychology, Positive Psychology This branch focuses of human virtues, strengths, resilience, and coping with adversity An important topic is the pursuit of happiness- What is happiness?
The Psychology of Optimal Experience In searching for the meaning of happiness, Csikszentmihlyi introduced the concept of “flow”, quite similar to Maslow’s Peak Experience It involves being totally absorbed in an activity that requires your full attention and utilizes your skills to the utmost You have a feeling you are in a state of “flow” There are 8 components of the “flow” (see textbook).
Applications Rogers applied his ideas into a system of therapy that emphasizes the creation of the right conditions to allow the client to accept him/herself, and to achieve personal growth. Extending to the client “unconditional positive regard” facilitates this goal. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been applied into understanding job satisfaction and vocational choices.
Current Status Though the Humanistic Approach was quite popular when it first came out, and though it introduced therapeutic strategies that are still applied today, its popularity had waned. The positive tone of the approach, that is seen as the forerunner of Positive Psychology, is certainly a plus.
Limitations of the Humanistic Approach Many of the concepts do not lend themselves for operational definitions and for scientific study. A great deal of the studies conducted by Maslow and Rogers to support their ideas were based on their own subjective impressions and intuition. The concept of free will has been challenged.
(cont-d) Some researchers questioned the effectiveness of the Rogerian therapy (how do you measure success in therapy? ). It may be more appropriate for people in “life transitions” than for deepseated psychological disorders The appropriateness of relying on the client to make accurate appraisals of themselves has been questioned. The naïve assumptions about the goodness of individuals.