The Humanistic View

Humanism is seen as the "third force" of therapy views. It is atheoretical alternative to the psychoanalytic and behavioral approaches.However, humanism does incorporate aspects of psychoanalytic and behavioralviews. Behaviorists believe that all human behavior is controlled by externalenvironmental factors. Whereas psychoanalysts believe that human behavior iscontrolled and directed by unconscious internal forces. Thus, theHumanistic approach (this will send you tothe Humanistic Approach tutorial) perceives behavior as holistic.

Consequently, humanists share a respect for the person's subjective experienceas well as a trust in the capacity of the client to make both positive andconstructive conscious choices. There is an emphasis on the vocabulary offreedom, choices, values, personal responsibility, autonomy, purpose, andmeaning. In short, the Humanistic view believes that each individual has withinhim or herself a nature and a potential that he or she can actualize. Theunderlying vision of the humanist is captured by the illustration of how anacorn, if provided with the appropriate nurturing conditions, will automaticallygrow in positive ways, as the potential in it automatically pushes towardactualization.

Rogers' person-centered approach (PCA) fallsunder this larger humanistic view. The PCA is both an experiential andrelationship-oriented perspective. Rogers approach focuses on experience andemphasizes the uniqueness of the individual and the search forself-actualization (Dworetzky, 1995).

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