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Luckett 1Maurice LuckettProfessor Lowell BrubakerPSYC 33518 July 2013The Humanistic ApproachHumanism itself can be dated back to Ancient Greece, Christianity and Romanticism, andbrought developed through their various philosophies (McLeod, 2007). The humanistic approachto psychology “began as a reaction to psychoanalysis and behaviorism, which dominatedpsychology at the time” (Cherry, n.d. a). Psychoanalysis focused more on the unconscious mindin regards to how we behaved, and behaviorism focused more on the overt behavior as opposedto our mental (conscious) processes (D. Schultz & S. Schultz, 2013). The humanistic approachemphasizes that we should focus on both behavior and mental processes, not just one or theother. “Humanistic thinkers felt that both psychoanalysis and behaviorism were too pessimistic”(Cherry, n.d. a), and focused primarily on the “emotionally disturbed side of human nature” (D.Schultz & S. Schultz, 2013).The overall goal of humanistic psychology is to understand our full potential for growthand development. From a humanistic perspective, we should focus on the best we have been andcan be, as well as studying our human nature because “humanistic psychology was insteadfocused on each individual’s potential and stressed the importance of growth and self-actualization” (Cherry, n.d. a). Humanistic theorists also emphasize that human beings arecomplex and unique organisms and cannot be understood by simply one-dimensional analysis.Although the humanistic approach focuses more on the conscious mind, than the unconscious
Luckett 2mind, this is not to say that humanistic theorists deny the existence of an unconscious mind, theymerely stress the ideal that by nature, we are rational beings and should therefore focus more onour conscious thoughts.Since the humanistic approach is based on positive views, it is still criticized for beingunscientific, vague and biased, due to its lack of objectivity (Sammons, n.d.). Some also believethat the humanistic approach was more individualistic, since it focused only on one’s goals andnot other people’s goals. This would make the humanistic approach seem to lean heavily towardspeople being conceited or self-obsessed. One positive is that the counseling used in thehumanistic approach helped many people overcome difficulties in their lives and realize theirown self worth (Sammons, n.d.). This is important, especially when dealing with clients whomare suicidal. Although no single (individual) approach will solve all of the worlds problems, thehumanistic approach helps psychologists assess individuals by “wearing their clients shoes,”instead of making presumptions, and allows clients to plan their goals, understand theirresponsibilities in life and push themselves to become who they want to be.