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Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 1950s. This perspective grew largely out of frustration with.

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Presentation on theme: "Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 1950s. This perspective grew largely out of frustration with."— Presentation transcript:

1 Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology (also known as the “third force”) started in the 1950s. This perspective grew largely out of frustration with both behaviorism and psychoanalysis. The focus of psychology should not be on observable behavior and how it can be manipulated (behaviorism). Nor should it be on unconscious motivation and how to understand it (psychoanalysis).

2 Humanistic Psychology Instead psychology should be about an unbridled pursuit of a profound understanding of human nature (human emotion and the essence of being).

3 Humanistic Psychology Humanistic psychology has its theoretical roots in existential philosophy. As discussed in previous lectures (Romanticism Era), generally speaking, the existentialists look for the meaning of life, and they can be divided into theists (rooted in Kierkegaard) and atheists (rooted in Nietzsche).

4 Philosophical Roots Humanism was also influenced by the romantic philosophers. Rousseau ’ s seminal work on emotion, which is based on an assumed goodness in people, is especially noteworthy. Martin Heidegger – wrote “ Being and Time ” (1927), in which he thoroughly describes the nature of the question of existence. Heidegger ’ s work defined the existential movement, and allows us to ask ourselves the same questions. Alfred Adler – influence of “ healthy lifestyles. ”

5 Humanism and Existentialism Humanism and existentialism entered into psychology as mutual partners of the third force. The major difference is that humanism assumes people are basically good, whereas existentialism assumes people are neither good nor bad (human nature has no inherent quality). Both place a priority on the meaning of life and purpose within life. In humanistic psychology, the effort is focused more on the search for meaning and the need for fulfillment and purpose in life.

6 Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) Maslow gets the credit for legitimizing Humanistic Psychology within the field of psychology. Started as a Harry Harlow-trained behaviorist, but upon raising his first child, he abandoned behaviorism. In the 1930s, many psychologists were fleeing Europe and the Nazi aggressions. As a fellow Jew living in in New York, he took it upon himself to assist and befriend them (Wertheimer, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, etc.)

7 Abraham Maslow In 1951, he became chairman of the psychology department at Brandeis University, which positioned him well to establish humanistic psychology as a formal line of study. Ten years later, humanism was a recognized field of study, with a university- sponsored journal.

8 Formal Humanism Humanism ’ s formal tenets: – Animal research does not reflect human conditions. – Human behavior is guided by a subjective reality. – The study of the individual is more revealing than the study of group norms. – Research should seek to expand and enrich the human experience.

9 Hierarchy of needs According to Maslow we are motivated to fulfill needs, but since our needs are ordered hierarchically, we must proceed incrementally, fulfilling our most basic needs first before proceeding to the other levels.


11 Deficiency Motivation The interest in and value of the hierarchy of needs was in mapping out how we can achieve our human potential. There are two types of human motivation. For those of us who have not achieved self-actualization, Maslow says we are motivated to fulfill our lower-level needs – the “ deficiency motivation. ” Only after we fulfill our deficiencies, can we move on to achieve our full potential – the “ being motivation. ”

12 Carl Rogers (1902-1987) Carl Rogers applied humanistic principles in clinical settings, proposing a client-centered approach to psychotherapy. Like other humanists, Rogers believed self- actualization to be natural, but he also believed it could be nurtured ( “ assisted ” ). Because people need other people, Rogers believed that self-actualizing did not need separation from other needs, and could be addressed clinically. His clinical work was unorthodox, but very successful. At the request of others, Rogers put together a method and theory for his results.

13 Rogerian Psychotherapy Carl Rogers faced his patients and looked them in the eye. The client-centered therapy was guided by three principles: – Genuineness – he developed a true empathetic relationship built on total honesty and mutual respect. – Acceptance – non-judgmental acceptance was a key ingredient of his approach. He accepted his patients ’ beliefs and behaviors without question.

14 Rogers’ Theory – Understanding – the relationships were only successful if he could feel the desire to understand. – Based on the results of his work, Rogers concluded that we all had an “ organismic valuing process. ” It is a process of judging our experiences for whether or not they bring us closer to self-actualization.

15 Rogers’ Theory – We maintain experiences (good and bad) that fit our self-actualization, and discard experiences that are unrelated to self- actualization. – The ‘ fitting ’ experiences are valuable because they involve our “ need for positive regard. ”

16 Positive Regard We all desire positive regard. However, we tend to only get positive regard during certain conditions (e.g. for good behavior, for winning) We create “ conditions of worth ” – we assume we must fulfill certain conditions if we want to fulfill our desire for positive regard. We start living for “ conditional positive regard, ” which takes us away from self-actualization. Rogers, in turn, offered “ unconditional positive regard. ” With “ UPR ”, his patients were able to become fully functioning people.


18 Existential Psychology As said earlier, the major difference between humanism and existentialism is that humanism assumes people are basically good, but existentialism assumes people have no inherent qualities. (no good or bad, no destiny, etc.) Existentialism is founded in the romantic- socialistic movements that explored free-will and self-governance as our basic human nature. Existential psychology has its roots in Martin Heidegger, who defined the existential quest.

19 Before Heidegger It is important to note that existentialism has two major divisions: theists and atheists. Starting with Kierkegaard, the theists propose that our existence is defined by the way we choose to relate to “ the source of existence ” (God). Strongly inspired by Nietzsche, the atheists propose that we define our own existence. God, in turn, is just a way of defining our existence. Both, however, believe that existence involves free will, and our free will is what defines us.

20 Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) Before Heidegger, existentialists were just the philosophers who looked inward to find the meaning of their existence. With Heidegger, existentialism became an art- form of asking the questions of existence. Some say that Heidegger was an atheist, but it may be more appropriate to say that he considered God to be part of the question of existence. His famous question (translation), “ Why are there things, rather than nothing? ” …

21 Why things, rather than nothing? With the famous question, Heidegger would not offer answers, but a deep explanation of the question being asked. To start, the question shows how existence is defined for its contrast with “ nothing. ” The quest, therefore, is to discover the “ existant ” which is the negation of “ nothing. ” The “ negation of nothing ” involves two issues, The Self ( “ Who am I? ” ) and … The Situation ( “ Why am I here? ” )

22 The Dasein Dasein is the word that Heidegger coined for the existential state of the “ person in the world ” (made from the two German words for “ being there. ” Da = there, sein = being). We cannot separate ourselves from the world around us, so we understand our existence “ in the world ” … our understanding is “ dasein. ” In other words, “ Who am I? ” and “ Why am I here? ” are the same existential question, though one refers to “ being ” and the other to “ there. ”

23 Being and Time (1927) Heidegger proposed how to explore meaning in existence from within our dasein. His book, “ Being and Time ” (1927), is hard to read, but is the best summary of his personal exploration. His concern was with asking the best questions. In general, he discussed questions such as, “ how is my ‘ being ’ the same (or different) whether I am ‘ there ’ or ‘ there ’. ” He did not care about answers, but about explaining the questions. “ Being and Time ” became a model for those interested in both existence and psychology.

24 Dasein and Psychology The authentic life – To truly accept life, we must also accept death. Our mortality is part of our dasein. This is true even if mortality only exists “ in the world ” (the theistic approach). If we deny the mortality of our dasein, we do not address the true meaning of our dasein. Further, we do not become all we can become. “ Becoming ” occurs within the “ being, ” and becoming is best done within an authentic life. The “ authentic life ” is where existentialism generally crosses over into psychology.

25 Dasein and Psychology If we maintain an inauthentic life, then we will develop highly undesirable psychological consequences. If we deny our “ being ” (our free will), we could experience guilt. Concerning mental health, if we are unable to accept our true “ being, ” we could end up with an anxiety disorder. We should also separate our “ being ” from our “ thrown-ness. ” Thrown-ness consists of our coincidental truths, such as our gender, age, the time we are born in and the place we live in.

26 Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) Sartre was an atheistic philosopher who provided his own answers to Heidegger ’ s questions regarding existence. His conclusions were profound, and he became the most prominent existential philosopher. In fact, he gave the field the name “ existentialism ” and outlined its predecessors. As with all the existentialists, Sartre is difficult to explain. His work, however, can be described as a re-arrangement of Heidegger ’ s “ existence ” questions.

27 Nothingness Heidegger said that existence must negate the “ nothingness. ” Sartre, however, proposed that the original nature of existence is “ nothingness. ” In other words, where Heidegger asked the questions, Sartre provided answers by first assuming that existence begins as nothingness. In his book “ Being and Nothingness ” (1943) he proposed that “ being ” is an act of becoming. In short, existence is nothing, the “ being ” is becoming, and the “ there ” is prior becomings.

28 Nothingness and psychology Sartre made the ultimate statement that human nature has no original form (or “ it begins as nothingness ” ), so we define our own existence. Sartre never directly addressed the field of psychology, but he defined the atheistic approach to existence – not just saying “ God is dead, ” but offering an explanation of morality and meaningfulness in the absence of a God. Since Sartre, existentialists have been easily divided into belief in existence-is-within-God (theists) or God-is-within-existence (atheists).

29 Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966) Binswanger was a student of Carl Jung, and a uniquely close friend of Freud. Add in his friendship with Heidegger, and he was in a good place to develop existential psychoanalysis. He developed “ daseinanalysis, ” a psychoanalysis that addressed the here-and-now! His contribution did not offer original ideas, but it did give us a more coherent form of psychological existentialism. The goal of his existential psychology was to go from “ being in the world ” to “ being beyond the world – free to impose our will on our “ there. ”

30 Being beyond the world Daseinanalysis starts with the “ world-design, ” which is the way we relate to the “ there. ” Our “ world-design ” is the main influence on our personality (extraversion, positivity, etc.). Our mental health is related to the quality of our world-design. Better design = better health; sick society = mental illness. The ultimate goal of daseinanalysis is to achieve a healthy mental-state in which we learn how to transform our circumstances with free will.

31 Rollo May (1909-1994) He brought Heidegger ’ s existentialism to the U.S. in the 1950 ’ s. He was also close friends with Paul Tillich (a theological existentialist). May represents the theistic existentialists, meaning he is rooted in Kierkegaard – true existence is a relationship with our creator. As a result, May ’ s psychology addresses the difference between religious theology and existential theology.

32 Existential Theology God – “ the creator ”, the purpose of our existence. If there was no reason for us to exist, we wouldn ’ t exist. Relationships with God – We have different wills and different “ theres ”, so we have unique relationships with our creator. One relationship may have no relevance to another relationship. Good and evil – creations of the free will. Our ability to define good and evil (laws, etc.) reflects our ability to define our existence. Heaven/hell – not “ there. ” It is not “ in the world, ” so it has no relevance to our free will.

33 May on Existential Theology May ’ s words … “ Call it confidence with the universe, trust in God, belief in one ’ s fellow- man, or what-not, the essence of religion is the belief that something matters – the pre-supposition that life has meaning. ”


35 “Theo-existo-psycho- analysis” May merged theological existential psychology with other theories, particularly Freud … First step, we must accept our “ destiny ” – all the things we cannot control, including the attributes with which we are born and the environment we end up in. (based on Heidegger ’ s “ thrown-ness ” ) Then, we must have “ courage ” – the ability to face our anxieties and accept our responsibilities. Destiny and courage are components of four “ stages ” of existentialism …

36 Existential Stages Innocence – our pre-ego (pre-self-conscious) infancy. We are pre-moral (neither bad nor good). Our only will is to fulfill our needs. Rebellion – adolescent development of ego by rebelling against authority. We want freedom (free will) but must learn responsibilities. Ordinary – normal adult ego. We know how to be responsible, but we still prefer conformity and traditional values. Creative – the authentic adult (existential stage). We face the anxieties of free will with courage.

37 May’s Psychoanalysis May called our motivations “ daimons ” (can be good or bad). We live with a daimonic construct – a collection of our daimons (Jungian). We also create “ wishes ” – the “ playful imagining of possibilities ” of a daimon. Finally, we have “ will ” – the ability to act on our motivations to make our wishes come true. Mental health is therefore the result of how we use free will to try and make wishes come true. This is categorized into three “ personality types. ”

38 Personality Types First, say that your daimon is “ eros ” – your motivation is to be loved. (Eros is Cupid). May defines two disorder personalities and one healthy personality, based on will and____. One disorder is the “ neo-Puritan ” – they are all will and no love (Perfection-driven and empty). The other is the “ infantile ” – they are all wishes but no will (dependent and conforming). The healthy people are “ creative ” – can combine our love (motivation) and will ( “ being ” ).

39 Personality Types May ’ s three personality types apply to all motivations, but he defined them by the daimon, not the will … 1) all will, no [daimon], 2) all [daimon], no will, 3) will and [daimon].

40 Mental Health The key to successful therapy … – 1) “ no daimon ” patients needed to overcome their guilt to realize their daimons. – 2) “ no will ” patients needed the courage to face the anxieties of their free will.

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