The humanistic theories help to understand how to apply certain psychological theories that are presented in a way that emphasizes human nature as good with the potential to always improve.” The humanistic therapist accompanies/guides clients to free themselves from assumptions and positions that might be blocking them from living fuller lives” (CCPE, Psychological and Educational Services, 2018). In other words, allowing for affirmation of small successes when there are positive behavioral changes that increase self-confidence or active self-actualization. Humanistic Psychology looks at the whole person, not just the behavior that needs to change.
The existentialist theory works from a different angle, but with the same goals. “The existentialist, on the other hand, is more interested in guiding/accompanying clients to find philosophical meaning while they face anxiety” (CCPE, Psychological and Educational Services, 2018). This approach is more in helping a client make decisions and guiding that thought process and giving them the tools, they might need and also walking beside them as they complete said tasks. The humanistic is guiding but does not present ideas to the client.
In understanding these theories, I know I apply the humanistic approach. As a Life Coach, I practice this every day. I guide my conversations by what my client wants, and I ask curiosity questions on how they want to go about their next steps by creating measurable goals that are realistic and attainable. These goals are designed, implemented and met by the client’s own drive and their discovery of their own potential.
In selecting a theorist, I would have to select Erikson. As a former parenting coach and implementing and facilitating with a curriculum that was based on Erikson’s and Piaget’s theories, they offer a very significant insight into behavior. In understanding how the foundations of learning are shaped by early social learning for future adult behaviors.
CCPE, Psychological and Educational Services. (2018). Humanistic-existential approach. CCPE Psychological and Educational Services, 1.
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Carl Rogers was an influential psychologist who had the opposite views as Freud (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). Many of his concepts and theories were significantly impacted by his religious beliefs and background as a pastor (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). I selected Carl Rogers because I can relate to his religious background because I have a similar one and I also agree with many of his ideas. I find it easier to learn and understand someone’s concepts when I can agree with them. One such concept is Roger’s idea that people are good at their core and bad behavior only occurs from conditioning negative behavior (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). He also created his own terms for the idea of protecting yourself from any perceived threat as denial, which can be compared to Freud’s defense mechanisms behavior (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). Many historical and modern psychologist build upon other psychologist’s theories to better them or create more specific versions of the original theory. “Theorist who reclaimed the ‘self’ as the focus of investigating human personality initiated a movement, which can be referred to as humanism-existentialism” (Lecci & Magnavita, p 9.1 2013). The humanist movement focused on the idea of self-actualization (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). “Self-actualization can be defined as the goal-directed behavior of an individual toward achieving one’s potential” (Lecci & Magnavita,p.9, 2013). Some individuals lack the ability to self-actualize and as future counselors, we can assist them in creating goals to help them achieve more out of life. Also, the existentialists believe that aversive emotional experiences that happen are a result of our awareness of free will or choice (Lecci & Magnavita, 2013). Both humanistic and existential theories are valid theories in which individuals can assess personalities.
What theorist did you choose and did you connect with their beliefs or opinions as well?
Lecci, L.B. & Magnavita, J.J. (2013). Personality Theories: A Scientific Approach. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.