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Humanistic Approach

An Overview of Humanistic Approach in Psychology You Ought to Know

Psychology is a discipline that involves the scientific study of behavior and mental functions of humans, as well as animals. It attempts to explore different facets of a person's mind that enables him/her to think, feel, and be aware of the world around. The following article deals with the study of humanistic approach by understanding the theories put forth by different scientists.
Shashank Nakate
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
The development of humanistic approach is mainly associated with the perception regarding the limitations in psychodynamic theories. It was observed that the psychodynamic theories were unable to decipher facts and provide an understanding about different forms of human behavior. This approach can be defined as the study which lays emphasis on psychological health, self-image, and the self as a whole. Carl Rogers and other researchers like Abraham Maslow were pioneers, who adopted this psychological approach to analyze the human nature. They aimed at changing the way human nature was studied fundamentally.
Rejection of Determinism
The rejection of determinism forms the basis of the humanistic approach. As per the concept/theory of determinism psychology, a present state in a particular context is determined by its previous/prior states. In other words, the prior states play a major role in determining the current state. The approach of determinism in studying psychology makes it quite pathological, thereby ignoring the fact that human mind is dynamic in nature. The rejection of the determinism psychology for exploring human mind/behavior makes this approach much more positive.
Humanistic Theory Vs. Psychodynamic Theory
These two theories usually differ in their opinions, over the methods/ways to study human behavior. As per the psychodynamic theories, human behavior can be understood only by studying it objectively. Therefore, an impartial observer is considered as the only means to judge/study the behavior. The humanistic perspective is contrasting to the psychodynamic theory. The proponents of this approach argue that a person is capable of studying his/her own behavior without relying on objective study. However, the influences of social conditions are also considered. As per psychoanalytic theories associated with this approach, an individual can take decisions pertaining to the creation of a certain experience. This ability to take decisions lies at the core of this approach, and is considered as its essence.
Carl Rogers' Arguments
According to Carl Rogers, the behavior of an individual is necessarily subjective and personal. Thus, the behavior depends on the views and opinions of a person. Many scientists deemed this approach as unscientific. However, Carl Rogers argues that all individuals are subjective. The confirmation or consensus on a particular subject can be achieved when subjective views of different people on that subject/topic converge; this approach is more reliable and theories associated with it shouldn't be written off.
Views of Abraham Maslow
Even though Abraham Maslow is considered a little less influential than Carl Rogers, his views/opinions on this approach are still very important. He coined the term 'The Third Approach' and considered 'motivation' as an important concept in studying human behavior.
Peak Experiences: According to Abraham Maslow, the 'peak experiences' give us a better understanding than our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings that are ordinary in nature. These experiences enhance/increase the energy flow and refresh our mind. 'Satori' (enlightenment), a 'Zen' concept, is similar to peak experiences. The experience of 'Satori' occurs unexpectedly.
New Concepts Related to This Approach
The term called 'positive psychology' was introduced by Dr. Martin Seligman. The concept/approach underlying positive psychology is to enhance the human potential. Surveys are conducted to obtain the information required for studying the human behavior and psychology in general. Many other means/methods other than surveys can also be used in this research. Coaching psychology is also a new concept that has evolved in recent days. Enhancing the potential of an individual is the core of coaching psychology.
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