Humanistic psychology has been a strong force since the 1950s, beginning with Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. The main feature is the integration of body, feelings, intellect, soul and spirit. Our focus is an understanding of the personal nature of human experience – the whole person. Humanistic psychology has often been confused with humanism – many of our values are the same, but humanistic psychology can include experience of the transpersonal and the spiritual.

Five Basic Postulates of Humanistic Psychology

  • Human beings, as human, supersede the sum of their parts. They cannot be reduced to components.
  • Human beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as in a cosmic ecology.
  • Human beings are aware and aware of being aware – i.e., they are conscious. Human consciousness always includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people.
  • Human beings have some choice and, with that, responsibility.
  • Human beings are intentional, aim at goals, are aware that they cause future events, and seek meaning, value and creativity.

Adapted by Tom Greening from J F T Bugental’s “The Third Force in Psychology” (Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1964, Vol.4, No.1, pp.19-25).

Click here to read a potted history of humanistic psychology.