Humanism and what is Beyond the Science of Psychology
Humanistic Psychology focuses largely on the human as a whole, taking into consideration every aspect of the person. It focuses on the ideas of human emotional intelligence, the creative aspect of the being, free will and the idea of self actualization, which was heavily studied by both Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers (Stephen, Murphy, 2012).
Psychologists interested in looking deeper into the human condition, began to analyze emotional human’s concepts such as creativity, the idea of hope, the self and of course as mentioned earlier self actualization. In general, psychologists like Carl Rogers, began to turn their studies into the idea of human existence as a whole. This aspect of psychology in a sense is a return to form. While psychology or rather the study of the mind was earlier seen as an abstract concept and not a science, it was turned into a science through the evolution of Behaviorism. Behaviorism observed that human behavior was connected to thoughts, and a following response to that thought as a reaction to external stimulus (Skinner, 1965).
For as much as Behaviorism structured psychology as a science, it all but ignored the abstract foundation of the mind. Ideas such as; Where do our thoughts originate from? What is our purpose? And questions of the sort were still unanswered and considered abstract within their study.
Enter Carl Rogers and the development of Person Centered Therapy.
Person Centered Therapy is a humanistic approach to therapy developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s. Often referred to as Rogerian Psychotherapy, it focuses on the client as a whole and places a considerable amount of trust within a person’s ability to know themselves better than anyone else would know them. In true Humanistic Psychology, the focus is not through the eyes of the observing therapist, but the focus is on the perspective of the client or patient (Laplante, 2007). It places the focus of the therapy, not solely on the problem at hand, but on encouraging the client/patient to expand their own awareness of the self (Stephen, Murphy, 2012). This is done by establishing a strong sense of rapport and comfort between the patient and the therapist. In a sense, the work is composed of questions that build trust internally and between the therapist and patient, and also empower the patient within the knowledge of self.
It was developed as a formal progression of traditional psychotherapy. The philosophical structure of Person Centered Therapy focuses on the empowerment of the individual (patient), which is as mentioned before a founding component of Humanistic Psychology as a whole. Person Centered Therapy was adopted into the Behavioral Sciences in the 60’s (Laplante, 2007).
For the most part there are aspects of the human mind that remain abstract in nature. Though a book and a school of thought can categorize and place certain people in to frameworks, the origin of thought and emotional intelligence remains fragmented (Laplante, 2007). The study of the human can of course be generalized within its biological component, but the way the human being interacts within society and the environment as a whole is very much a continuous labour of study. For as many thoughts as one has populating the mind, is as many hours as a true study of the human is required. It is not to say that the human mind is a puzzle box that can never be solved or truly understood, but it must be understood in its fullness and holistically. A person is not simply a biological study on the correlation between thought and reflex, but a complicated observation of ones own self, reflected upon the subject of their analysis.
Written by: Robert J. Escandon
Laplante, Jeannette Diaz. Humanistic Psychology and Social Transformation: Building the Path Toward a Livable Today and a Just Tomorrow. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. (January 1, 2007).
Joseph, Stephen, Murphy, David. Person-Centered Approach, Positive Psychology, and Relational Helping Building Bridges. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. (February 22, 2012).
Skinner, B.F. (1965). Science And Human Behavior. New York, New York: Free Press.by