|DC's self-actualized superhero, Mister Terrific. Silver Age-era art by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.|
Humanistic Psychology (The Third Force) is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory.
With its roots running from Socrates through the Renaissance, this approach emphasizes an individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity.
In the context of the tertiary sector beginning to produce more than the secondary sector, the humanistic psychology, which was sometimes referred to as a "third force," as distinct from the two more traditional approaches to psychology, psychoanalysis and behaviorism, began to be seen as more relevant than the older approaches.
It also led to a new approach to human capital with the creativity -- previously seen as work prerequisite for artists only -- beginning for the first time in human history to be seen as a work prerequisite for employees that were in an increasing number working in cognitive-cultural economy.
Its ideas have influenced the theory and practice of education and social work, particularly in North America, as well as the emerging field of transpersonal psychology.
It typically holds that people are inherently good. It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and human potential. Its principal U.S. professional organizations are the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association).
One of humanistic psychology's early sources was the work of Carl Rogers. Rogers' focus was to ensure that the developmental processes led to healthier, if not more creative, personality functioning. The term 'actualizing tendency' was also coined by Rogers, and was a concept that eventually led Abraham Maslow to study self-actualization as one of the needs of humans. Rogers and Maslow introduced this positive, humanistic psychology in response to what they viewed as the overly pessimistic view of psychoanalysis.
The other sources include the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology.
The humanistic approach has its roots in phenomenological and existentialist thought (see Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre). Eastern philosophy and psychology also play a central role in humanistic psychology, as well as Judeo-Christian philosophies of personalism, as each shares similar concerns about the nature of human existence and consciousness.
As behaviorism grew out of Ivan Pavlov's work with the conditioned reflex, and laid the foundations for academic psychology in the United States associated with the names of John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow gave behaviorism the name "the second force".
Historically "the first force" were psychologists like Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Otto Rank, Melanie Klein, Harry Stack Sullivan, and others.
In the late 1930s, psychologists, interested in the uniquely human issues, such as the self, self-actualization, health, hope, love, creativity, nature, being, becoming, individuality, and meaning—that is, a concrete understanding of human existence, included Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Clark Moustakas, who were interested in founding a professional association dedicated to a psychology focused on these features of human capital demanded by post-industrial society.
The humanistic psychology perspective is summarized by five core principles or postulates of humanistic psychology first articulated in an article written by James Bugental in 1964 and adapted by Tom Greening, psychologist and long-time editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. The five basic principles of humanistic psychology are:
1. Human beings, as human, supersede the sum of their parts. They cannot be reduced to components.
2. Human beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as in a cosmic ecology.
3. Human beings are aware and aware of being aware—i.e., they are conscious. Human consciousness always includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people.
4. Human beings have some choice and, with that, responsibility.
5. Human beings are intentional, aim at goals, are aware that they cause future events, and seek meaning, value, and creativity.
While humanistic psychology is a specific division within the American Psychological Association (Division 32), humanistic psychology is not so much a discipline within psychology as a perspective on the human condition that informs psychological research and practice.
|Abraham Maslow short book on the Peak Experience.|