We live in 2021, a year where everything and everyone is evolving, and so is psychology. As every aspect around us is developing, so are the risks; hence, It has become significantly essential to have the right and correct information about anything and be competent to avoid any false information.
Old ways of psychology that were being practiced are now more in action and accepted, but, naturally, as people grow and welcome new ideas, they tend to look at these new upgrades with uncertainty. Like everything, humanistic psychology expanded its influence in the 1970s, and the 1980sand now has emerged in 2021. Let's learn what humanistic psychology is before getting to why it is criticized.
Humanism or Humanistic is a psychological approach that emphasizes the whole person, not just its behavior. Humanistic psychology is also known as a movement that stresses to inherit the existing goodness in people.
Rather than focusing on what is wrong with their behavior, humanistic psychology takes a more consecrated approach, observing an individual as a whole and concentrating on the desire for self-actualization. To sum it up, humanistic psychology understands human behavior not just from the observer's eyes but also from the eyes of the person discharging that behavior. (Taylor, E., 2001)
In the middle half of the 20th century, the rise of humanistic psychology came into action as a direct response to behaviorism. The existence of the humanist approach was a response to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic perspective, which the founders of the humanist approach believed was too negative and had its significant focus on pathology.
Carl Rogers, a psychologist, was interested in the need to understand all the aspects that helped a person grow, change, improve and thrive. He believed that psychology was meant to solve problematic behavior or mental illness and help people live their best lives and achieve as much happiness and joy as possible.
Rogers believed that all people procure the actualizing tendency, or an innate need to strive to become the best possible version of themselves. This concept of self-actualizing inspired psychologist Abraham Maslow to create a hierarchy of human needs.
Maslow suggested that there were many other basic needs to humans lying under the stereotyped condition of humans, and as those needs are fulfilled, more advanced needs take on greater importance, including the need for self-actualization. Rogers described it as the need to fulfill one's absolute potential and be the best version of themselves. (Buhler, C., 1971)
The humanistic psychological approach, with any viewpoint, is the breeding ground of critics because of its concepts. People tend to have several points to criticize about the humanist approach, and sometimes due to such criticism, the correct information fails to reach the people, which affects everyone and even the youth.
Results to not being able to speak and share their feelings, not understanding what to feel and what some particular feeling might be. Which, in the end, affects the world and its future.
One of the significant criticisms faced by humanist psychology is that its notions are too vague.
Critics debate that subjective ideas such as self-actualization, authentic experiences are challenging to objectify; an experience for one individual may not feel real for another individual.
Critics also claim that science is not applied to the humanistic psychological approach because it involves and revolves around too much common sense and not enough objectivity.
Due to these reasons, critics believe that conclusions drawn from the humanistic approach are subjective experiences and almost impossible to verify, making research in humanistic psychology unreliable.
However, humanist psychology tackles criticism profoundly by its strengths and impact on society, making itself easier to understand to common people and critics and showing results. And because of therapists practicing humanistic psychology provide the correct information on humanistic psychology. (Smith, M.B., 1990)
One of the greatest strengths of humanistic psychology is that it emphasizes of individual's personal choice and responsibility, which fuels self-fulfillment. It also satisfies most people's idea of what being a human means and values its unique ideals.
The humanistic approach in therapy unstructured interviews allows them to gain access to one's thoughts and experience without directing the session towards a specific topic, which helps the therapist understand the individual more significantly, enabling him to give the therapist more insight feedback.
Humanistic psychology has drawn praise for helping people to take power and control their mental health. People have a great deal to contribute to their mental health; that's what the humanistic approach promotes.
The humanistic approach acknowledges the decisive role of environmental influences in influencing an individual's mental health and well-being. Environmental experiences help shape our behavior and our perspective viewing the world. This is supported by numerous studies that state, "A good environment encourages and influences good and positive mental health," making it scientifically proven. (Melton, A.M. and Schulenberg, S.E., 2008)
People tend to have a more positive outlook towards different situations people and less ethnocentrism.
Humanistic psychology promotes individuality, uniqueness, and freedom.
The humanistic approach is helpful in making people feel empowered, more confident, optimistic, energetic, and productive.
It helps remove the stigma of therapy from society and makes it more acceptable and normal. (Hassan, T.M., Ahmed, S.O., White, A.C. and Galbraith, N., 2009)
Stigma regarding humanistic psychology is born due to the lack of correct knowledge about it and facts unknown to people fueling the stigma. Promoting the right information around the globe should be the motive. We all are aware that optimistic minds in society encourage growth and development in the community and help create a better and safer work environment; that's what humanistic psychology believes.
The humanistic approach continues to imply a powerful influence to the youngsters and help them in the areas of education, philosophy, transpersonal psychology, personal growth, and even politics. Today, humanistic psychology remains a vital part of the field that contributes significantly to studying and understanding the human mind and behavior.
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