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Humanistic Psychology

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Updated June 25, 2014

Definition:

Humanistic psychology developed during the 1950s as a reaction to the psychoanalysis and behaviorism that were the main schools of thought at the time. Humanistic psychology is a branch of the larger philosophical theory known as humanism, which encompasses existential beliefs and a renewed focus on the self.

Humanistic psychology minimizes the effects of the unconscious mind, focusing instead on the uniquely human capacity to understand one’s place in the world and relationships with others. In addition, the theories move away from the medical model into a new focus on the healthiest aspects of the client’s personality. The client is encouraged to use those healthy parts of the personality to move toward increasing psychological health.

Humanistic psychology has had an influence on cognitive-behavioral therapy and other popular models of today.

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