Humanistic therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on encouraging a client’s self-awareness and mindfulness. This form of therapy is founded on the beliefs that people are inherently good and are more than the sum of their parts. Sessions generally have an optimistic tone and are non-judgmental. Clients are urged to look inward and move towards personal growth and self-realisation. This form of therapy highlights the innate values of human beings and identifies their ability and willingness for personal growth, self-respect and competence. These are some of the fundamental assumptions of humanistic psychology; an individual’s experiences including thought, senses, perceptions, feelings and memories, free will exists and each person needs to take responsibility for their own self-growth and fulfillment, self-actualization and reaching maximum potential is natural, given the right conditions individuals will undergo rapid personal growth particularly during childhood and each individual’s experience is unique.
How humanistic therapy has influenced psychology practices
This fork of therapy has made several significant contributions to psychology practices through offering a new approach to understanding human nature, of collecting data during human behavioral studies and through creation of a range of psychotherapy techniques which emerged from the core humanistic movement such as hierarchy of needs, person-centered therapy, unconditional positive regard, free will, self-concept, self-actualisation and peak experiences. The humanistic approach inspired numerous contemporary modes of therapy which stem from the humanistic value that views humans as innately driven to increase their creative options and interactions as a way of increasing a sense of freedom, awareness and life-affirming emotions. Self-actualization is a key aspect of this therapeutic approach.