Humanistic psychology is based on the foundation that people are innately good. This approach to therapy stresses the inherent value of human beings. As such, it focuses on our ability and willingness to maintain dignity, while also growing in self-respect and competence. This value orientation is considered to be responsible for the creation of various other therapy models that utilize interpersonal skills for the purpose of maximizing one’s life experience.
The practice of humanistic therapy involves variety of therapeutic techniques including Rogerian or Person Centered therapy, which emphasizes the goal of self-actualization. In order to explore the process of self-actualization, humanism focuses on the human experiences of freedom, choice, values, and goals. The focus in treatment is on the complete psychological health of the client, instead of solely treating symptoms. Treatment under a humanistic approach is to empower the client to reach his or her full potential and direct the course of therapy, rather than the therapist diagnosing and assessing the client objectively.
Humanist psychologists view clients as being created with a distinct priority of needs and drives and believe that each person must rely on a personal sense of inner wisdom and healing. Psychologists who practice humanistic psychology are likely to take a non-pathological approach, targeting instead productive, adaptive, and beneficial traits/behaviors of the client in treatment.
Humanistic psychology is also guided by the belief in unconditional positive regard. This value-oriented approach holds that humans are inherently driven to maximize their creative choices and their interactions in order to have liberty, awareness, and life-affirming emotions. Both the therapist and client work together in order to set therapeutic goals and to reach them in order to promote positive change.
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