Humanistic psychology

Humanistic Psychology is a psychological perspective that arose in the mid-20th century in answer to two theories: Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and B. F. Skinner's behaviorism.[1] Thus it was referred to as the "third force" in psychology. The school of thought of humanistic psychology gained traction due to key figure Abraham Maslow in the 1950s during the time of the humanistic movement. It was made popular in the 1950s by the process of realizing and expressing one's own capabilities and creativity.

Humanistic psychology helps the client gain the belief that all people are inherently good.[2] It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and positive human potential. It encourages viewing ourselves as a "whole person" greater than the sum of our parts and encourages self exploration rather than the study of behavior in other people. Humanistic psychology acknowledges spiritual aspiration as an integral part of the psyche. It is linked to the emerging field of transpersonal psychology.[3][4]

Primarily, this type of therapy encourages a self-awareness and mindfulness that helps the client change their state of mind and behaviour from one set of reactions to a healthier one with more productive self-awareness and thoughtful actions. Essentially, this approach allows the merging of mindfulness and behavioral therapy, with positive social support.

In an article from the Association for Humanistic Psychology, the benefits of humanistic therapy are described as having a "crucial opportunity to lead our troubled culture back to its own healthy path. More than any other therapy, Humanistic-Existential therapy models democracy. It imposes ideologies of others upon the client less than other therapeutic practices. Freedom to choose is maximized. We validate our clients' human potential."[2]

In the 20th century, humanistic psychology was referred to as the "third force" in psychology, distinct from earlier, less humanistic approaches of psychoanalysis and behaviorism.

Its principal professional organizations in the US are the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association). In Britain, there is the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners.