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What is the humanistic approach?

An approach to understanding behaviour that emphasises the importance of subjective experience and each person's capacity for self determination


How is the humanistic approach different from the others?

It is the only approach which claims that human beings have complete independence and free will to behave as they wish - they are essentially self-determining


What does humanistic psychology say about internal and external influences?

It says that while people are still influenced by internal and external influences we are active agents that choose how we behave


What does the view of individuals as active agents in humanistic psychology mean/lead to?

It leads to the rejection of general principles or rules of human behaviour as humanists believe we are all unique and psychology should concerns itself with the study of subjective experience rather than general rules – person centred approach


What is free will?

The notion that humans can make choices and are not determined by biological or external forces


What is self-actualisation?

The desire to grow psychologically and fulfil one's full potential – becoming what you're capable of


What does the humanistic approach say about self-actualisation?

It says that self-actualisation is the uppermost level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and can only be achieved once all deficiency needs are met. Working towards self-actualisation is considered personal growth but not everyone will manage this - important psychological barriers can prevent a person reaching their potential.


What is Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

A five level hierarchal sequence in which basic needs, such as hunger, must be satisfied before higher psychological needs, such as esteem, can be achieved


What are the five stages of Maslow's hierarchy kneads?

1. Physiological needs
2. Safety and security
3. Love and belongingness
4. Self-esteem
5. Self-actualisation


What did Rogers say was necessary for a person to self-actualise?

He said than individuals concept of self needed to be broadly similar to, or in congruence with, their ideal self. If to big a gap existed a state of incongruence would create negative feelings and prevent self-actualisation


What does the term self mean?

The ideas and values that characterise 'I' and 'me' and includes perception of valuing of 'what I am' and 'what I can do'


What does the term congruence mean?

The aim of Rogerian therapy; when the self-concept and ideal self are seen to broadly accord or match


What did Rodgers attempts to do to deal with incongruence?

Rogers developed client centred therapy to help people cope with the problems of everyday living. He attributed issues we have in later life like worthlessness with problems encountered during childhood - specifically a lack of unconditional love - therefore Rogers attempted to demonstrate unconditional positive regard for his patients after parents had failed to do so


What are conditions of worth?

When the parent places limits or boundaries on the love of their children: for instance, a parent saying to a child, 'I'll only love you if … you study medicine'


What are the evaluation points for humanistic psychology?

Not reductionist (+)
Limited application (-)
Positive approach (+)
Untestable concepts (-)


Why isn't the humanistic approach reductionist?

Humanists reject any attempt to break up human behaviour and experience into smaller components - they advocate holism, the idea subjective experience can only be understood by considering the whole person, this approach may have more validity than reductionist ones.


How does the humanistic approach have limited applications?

Humanistic psychology has relatively few real-world applications while Rogerian therapy revolutionised counselling techniques the approach has had limited impact within the discipline of psychology as a whole. This may in part be due to the lack of a solid evidence base and the abstract nature of the concepts


How is the humanistic approach a positive approach?

Humanistic psychologist has been praised for promoting a positive image of the human condition, humanism offers a refreshingly optimistic alternative attitude, it gives people control of their lives


How does the humanistic approach has untestable concepts?

Humanistic approach includes vague and abstract ideas, self-actualisation and congruence are problematic to assess under experimental conditions. Humanistic psychology is short of empirical evidence to give it scientific rigour