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Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to the limitations of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and B. F. Skinner's behaviorism.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> With its roots running from Socrates through the Renaissance, this approach emphasizes individuals' inherent drive towards self-actualization, the process of realizing and expressing one's own capabilities and creativity.

It helps the client gain the belief that all people are inherently good.<ref name="crchealth.com">"Humanistic Therapy." CRC Health Group. Web. 29 Mar. 2015. http://www.crchealth.com/types-of-therapy/what-is-humanistic-therapy</ref> It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and positive human potential. It encourages viewing ourselves as a "whole person" greater than the sum of our parts and encourages self exploration rather than the study of behavior in other people. Humanistic psychology acknowledges spiritual aspiration as an integral part of the human psyche. It is linked to the emerging field of transpersonal psychology.<ref>"humanistic psychology n." A Dictionary of Psychology. Edited by Andrew M. Colman. Oxford University Press 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 25 May 2010 [1]</ref><ref name="aanstoos et al history">Aanstoos, C. Serlin, I., & Greening, T. (2000). A History of Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. In D. Dewsbury (Ed.), Unification through division: Histories of the divisions of the American Psychological Association, Vol. V. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.</ref>

Primarily, this type of therapy encourages a self-awareness and mindfulness that helps the client change their state of mind and behaviour from one of reactions to a healthier one with more productive self-awareness and thoughtful actions. Essentially, this approach allows the merging of mindfulness and behavioural therapy, with positive social support.

In an article from the Association for Humanistic Psychology, the benefits of humanistic therapy are described as having a "crucial opportunity to lead our troubled culture back to its own healthy path. More than any other therapy, Humanistic-Existential therapy models democracy. It imposes ideologies of others upon the client less than other therapeutic practices. Freedom to choose is maximized. We validate our clients’ human potential.”.<ref name="crchealth.com"/>

In the 20th century humanistic psychology was referred to as the "third force" in psychology, distinct from earlier, even less humanistic approaches of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. In our post industrial society, humanistic psychology has become more significant; for example, neither psychoanalysis nor behaviorism could have birthed Emotional Intelligence.

Its principal professional organizations in the U.S. are the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association). In Britain there is the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners.


Humanistic psychology sections
Intro  Origins   Orientation to scientific research   Development of the field  Counseling and therapy  Societal application  Humanistic social work  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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