What is humanistic psychology?

May 09, 2018 07:00 | Psychology

Psychology is a very interesting and very complex science. One of its directions is humanistic psychology. And what does she study? And what are its main principles?

What is this science?

What is humanistic psychology? This is the direction of Western psychology, which is especially popular in America and is not yet considered a clearly organized and recognized theoretical system.

Its main subject is the personality, and it is considered as a whole, complex and unique system that is not a given and permanent mechanism, but a set of open capabilities that depend on the person himself. The main representatives of humanistic psychology are Bugental, Rogers, Maslow, Allport, Fromm, Frankl, Buhler, May, Shostrom and others

. Subjects of the study

. The main subjects of humanistic psychology study:

  • Personality: unique, unique, conscious of its purpose in life,creating itself and improving.
  • Physiological, psychological and social needs.
  • Creation of each person, self-development, improvement, striving for the better.
  • Finding yourself, the meaning of your life.
  • Personality degradation and its stages.
  • Self-awareness in society.
  • Understanding your own dignity.
  • Freedom of every person.
  • Problems of interpersonal relations.
  • Questions of responsibility, its understanding.
  • Forming a worldview, certain views, principles.


The fundamentals and principles of humanistic psychology were tried to distinguish different psychologists.

The following methodological positions are singled out:

  • A person is integral and should be studied as a whole, and not a set of functions, abilities and qualities.
  • Each person is unique in its own way, therefore the study of individual cases is completely justified. But statistical generalizations are permissible and necessary.
  • A person is open to the whole world, he experiences and evaluates the world, realizes his place in it. This is the main reality of psychology.
  • Every person's life should be regarded and studied as a continuous and unified process of the formation and development of the individual.
  • The needs for self-development and self-realization are part of human nature.
  • To some extent, a person is free from external influences. When choosing and making decisions, he is guided by his values, views and principles.
  • A person is an active, dynamic and creative being.

And James Buergenthal, who became the first president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, singled out the following principles:

  • Man is an integral being that surpasses the sum of all its components. That is, it simply can not be examined by examining its individual functions.
  • Human being is seen in the context of interpersonal relationships. In other words, individual human functions can not be considered without taking into account interpersonal experience.
  • The person knows himself. It can not be understood by such a science as psychology, because it does not take into account its multi-level and continuous self-awareness, and it is extremely important.
  • Every person always has a choice. In other words, he is not only an observer of the process of his existence, but independently creates his personality and life, taking into account experience.
  • Each person is intential, that is, is aimed at the future and, therefore, has plans, goals.

And Abraham Maslow brought humanistic psychology to the development of the hierarchy of human needs. And that's what he singled out( all the needs are listed in descending order of importance, that is at the top of the list the most important):

  • Natural physiological needs, which include sleep, quenching thirst and hunger, rest.
  • The need for security, which encompasses the pursuit of security and order, self-preservation.
  • Needs for belonging, love. Everyone needs friendship, family, the second half.
  • Needs for respect that embrace the need for recognition, as well as self-esteem.
  • The need for self-actualization, that is, the need to search for and develop abilities, to improve them.

Humanistic psychology will make it possible to study the personality and its place in the world, therefore acquaintance with this direction will be useful for everyone.