Humanistic psychology has been a strong force in Psychology since the 1950s, beginning with Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Rollo May, amongst others. The main feature is the holistic 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 those committed to Humanistic Psychology routinely embrace the transpersonal and the spiritual (however defined).

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, Vol.4, No.1, 1964, pp.19-25).

For further details, see the extract from the ‘Guide to Humanistic Psychology’, written by John Rowan.