Although varying in their approaches, all Humanistic Psychologies have a common interest staying with the clients' experiences rather than focussing on perceived or actual psychological deficiencies through interpretations.
As such, humanistic psychologies were conceived as a response against the rigid world views of the early psychoanalytic movement with its focus on diagnosis and labelling.
Most humanistic psychologies have their echo or roots in the anti-authoritarian movements of the 60’s and 70’s and they have since then contributed radically to various paradigm shifts in the world of psychotherapeutic therapies. The now general acknowledgement of the importance of the quality of the therapist/client relationship is one of the major contributions that humanistic psychologists have made to the field.
All humanistic psychologies work towards a vision of health that describes a fully functioning human being as:
- Being open to experiencing life as it presents itself
- Being able to live fully in the present
- Having trust in themselves
- Being able to experiment freely
- Having full access to their creativity
This value and belief system then informs the therapeutic process. Therapy is aimed to help the client build their resilience and overcome past destructive patterns to live as fully as possible in the present by focussing on the here and now of the therapeutic relationship. The more the client allows themselves to contact their organismic self in the safety of the therapy room, the more they will be able to apply this experience in the outside world and emerge as a fuller human being.