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Existential-Humanistic Tradition Carl Rogers (1902-1987)“person-centred” Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)“humanistic psychologist” Frederick (Fritz) Perls (1892-1970)“gestalt.

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Presentation on theme: "Existential-Humanistic Tradition Carl Rogers (1902-1987)“person-centred” Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)“humanistic psychologist” Frederick (Fritz) Perls (1892-1970)“gestalt."— Presentation transcript:

1 Existential-Humanistic Tradition Carl Rogers (1902-1987)“person-centred” Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)“humanistic psychologist” Frederick (Fritz) Perls (1892-1970)“gestalt therapy” Viktor Frankl (1905-1997)“logotherapy” Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

2 Two young people came upon a pile of manure in a barnyard.The first, the pessimist, saw a pile of manure and said, “urg.” The optimist started digging in immediately and soon was up to the knees in dung. “Why are you doing that?” asked the first. “Why?” answered the optimist, “Because if there is all this manure pile up, there must be a pony somewhere.”

3 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Must differentiate between the existential position and the existential-humanistic position. Existentialists such as Sartre, Camus and Kierkegaard = dismal, and hopeless view as they observe the absurdity and cruelty of life. The humanistic existentialists suggest that the very confusion and disorder in the world is an opportunity for growth and beauty. The distinction between the two positions can be defined as one of philosophy or faith.

4 Existential humanistic tradition Focus = Men and Women as people empowered to act on the world and determine own destiny. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Distinction between this approach and psychodynamic and behavioral approaches: Locus of control = the individual rather than past history or environmental determinants

5 Main Points: We are in the world; our task is to understand what this means. We know ourselves through our relationship with the world, with other people. Anxiety can result from lack of relationship or failure to act and choose We are responsible for our own construction of the world; we decide. The counselor must understand the client’s world as fully as possible and encourage him/her to be responsible for making decisions. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

6 Carl Rogers View of human nature Basic assumptions People are essentially good, essentially positive and forward- moving and ultimately self-actualizing. People can take charge of life, make decisions and act on the world. Experience is reality. Individuals have crises when they experience a discrepancy between their real self and ideal self. This discrepancy between thought and reality = incongruities.

7 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Fundamental ideas:  Actualizing tendency  The self-concept  The organismic self: Real inner life of the person; conditions of worth.  The most important aspect of counseling is the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client

8 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 The self-concept  The individual’s perception of self  Acquired early in childhood  Reflected in the attitudes expressed by others  Reinforced by interaction with others The organismic self  The real inner self of a person  Present from birth  Aims to mature and achieve self-actualization  Moves towards harmony and integration

9 Therapeutic goals  To find positive elements in even the most troubled individual.  To elicit the maximum amount of personal strength and confidence from the client. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

10 Function and role of the counselor: Core conditions: Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional positive regard. The counselor must understand and empathize with the unique experiential world of the client. A central task of the counselor is to make it possible for the client to gain emotional release in relation to his/her problem and as a consequence to think more clearly and more deeply about himself/herself and his/her situation.

11 Function and role of the counselor……… The counselor must provide an atmosphere in which the client comes to see himself/herself and his/her reactions more clearly and to accept attitudes more fully. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 On the basis of this insight he/she is able to meet life’s problems more adequately, more independently, more responsibly

12 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Abraham Maslow View of human nature Everyone has ‘healthy’ tendencies – these include the search for knowledge and understanding as well as the search for satisfying relationships and the development of rich emotional experience. Basic assumptions Human beings are driven/ motivated by a hierarchy of needs.

13 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Fundamental ideas Basic Physical Needs: The need for food, oxygen and fluid. Without these we would die. Safety Needs: The need to feel secure and safe from harm. The need to feel protected in our environment. Relationship Needs: The need to give and receive love and affection. The need to belong and to be accepted. Esteem Needs: The need to experience self-esteem and the esteem of others. The need to feel confident, competent and useful. Self-Actualization Needs: Realization of the individual’s potential. The drive towards self-fulfillment and knowledge.

14 Therapeutic goals The development of individual autonomy. Development of a capacity to listen to and trust one’s own feelings, judgments and opinions. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

15 Function and role of the counselor To engage the client, build trust through unconditional positive regard. Create an environment where the client can experience positive forms of communication.

16 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Fritz Perls View of human nature Human nature = holistic,consisting of many varied parts, which make the unique individual. We start life more or less ‘together,’ but as we grow and develop, we encounter experiences, feelings and fears in life that cause us to lose parts of ourselves. These ‘splits from the whole must be regained if we are to live intentional, self-actualized lives. Human beings work for wholeness and completeness in life. People strive to live integratively and productively. Human beings are motivated by a strong, innate drive towards growth, self-actualization and the total fulfillment of their potential.

17 Basic assumptions The way a person perceives and interprets the world is entirely unique to that person. Every person operates on some conscious level, from being very aware to being very unaware. Life and change take place in the present. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

18 Fundamental ideas Here and Now: Focus must be on what the client feels, thinks and does at this particular moment of his/her existence. Wholeness: Must have the client’s total participation – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Unfinished business: unexpressed feelings such as resentment, rage, hatred, pain, grief, guilt, abandonment… these are associated with distinct memories and fantasies. They linger in the background as “emotional debris” causing people to become stuck.

19 Therapeutic goals To make clients aware of their feelings and perceptions, especially those that have previously been hidden from awareness and were thus inhibiting growth. To arrive at “AHA!” Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

20 Function and role of counselor Promote an atmosphere that promotes a client’s exploration the client’s feelings and ‘here and now’ experience. Counselor must be creative and innovative in her work, prepared to improvise, experiment and invest a great deal of energy and commitment to each session (emphasis is on methodology: ‘empty chair,’ ‘TopDog’) Counselor must be prepared to be open about his/her feelings and experiences and to be willing to share these with the client when necessary.

21 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Compare Rogers and Perls Rogers Attending & listening skills Empathy, warmth, positive regard Perls Influencing skills –directives, feedback, interpretation Personally distant & remote, respect only showed when clients become truly themselves. Both seek genuine encounters, but Wait patiently Demand that authentic relationship develop Both highly focused on the individual but Emphasizes relationship with others more than Perls Emphasizes the responsibility of the individual for his/her own fate

22 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Viktor Frankl View of human nature Basic Assumptions The critical issue for humankind is not what happens but how one views or thinks about what happens. He believed that people are capable of survival under even most inhuman of conditions because the power of our human spirit is immense once we find meaning in life. We discover meaning through our actions and deeds, by experiencing a value (such as love, or achievements through work), and by suffering.

23 Fundamental ideas Modification of attitudes: Change the way a person thinks about a situation – positive asset search. Dereflection: Many of us ‘hyper-reflect’ on our problems and our negative feelings and experiences. When we are encouraged to think about something else rather than the problem we start to focus toward other and positive contents of our thinking. Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003

24 Therapeutic goals To help the client realize the importance of meaning, responsibility, awareness, freedom, and potential. To help the client take more responsibility for their lives.

25 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Function and role of counselor Must be interested in carefully learning how the client constructs his/her worldview. Engage the client in dialogue in order to appreciate his/her worldview and then to guide him/her in the search for meaning, and come to new understandings and options.

26 Emmaus Counseling Training Programme 2002-2003 Discussion


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