Humanistic-Existential Perspective


Emerged in reaction to psychoanalytic perspective

·                    Pessimistic determinism– behavior controlled by unconscious forces

·                    Psychological health equated with adjustment to society


HE Perspective emphasized the study of the “whole” person and a focus on human potential


Assumptions of the H-E Perspective

1.         Focus on the self and self’s potential

*          personal growth as a goal


2.         Promise of human potential

*          psychological change is possible

*          Individuals’ construct their realities

*          Self-actualization


3.         Importance of authenticity, freedom, and responsibility


*          Self-awareness affords the ability to make choices and control our destinies


Humanistic-Existential Treatment

*          Phenomenological approach: listening with maximum empathy to everything the patient communicates


·                    Therapist as facilitator, not leader



Humanistic-Existential Perspective

Carl Rogers:

·                    Behavior is motivated by self-actualization

·                    counteracting conditions of worth: “I must ____ to be deserving of love.”

·                    Ideal vs. Actual Self


client-centered therapy

·                    Empathy

·                    Unconditional Positive Regard

·                    Genuineness


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Existential Psychology

·                    Difficulty living authentically in the modern world

o       Loss of values and sense of personal responsibility

o        Conformity vs. active choice

o       Conformity leads to denial of the authentic self


·                    Alienation= sense of meaninglessness and terror over the nothingness of death


·                    Psychological Adaptivenss=

o       Acceptance of emotion

o       Embracing the authentic self

o       Recognizing active choice in daily living


Interpersonal Perspective

·                    A cluster of approaches emphasizing interactions among people

o       Sullivan as first systematic theorist

§         Emphasized chumship

§         Self-concept emerges from interpersonal relations


·                    IPT: interpersonal therapy

o       Marital difficulty, lack of social support, etc. as contributors to disorders

§         Klerman– approach to depression