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Humanistic Therapy

By Michael Hurst

The development of humanistic therapy occurred in the mid-1900s, and is often referred to as the “third wave” or “third force,” following Freudian psychoanalysis and behaviorism. The term “humanistic therapy” has also been used as a general category that includes client-centered therapy, existential therapy and gestalt therapy.

The Hopeful Constuctive

Humanistic therapy is based upon “a hopeful, constructive view of human beings and the individual’s substantial capacity to be self-determining.” As is also the case with gestalt and client-centered therapies, humanistic therapy focuses on the present, addressing patients’ histories in ways that promote greater understanding of how past experiences contribute to who the patient is today.

Humanistic therapy emphasizes a non-judgmental approach, with open-ended questions often employed to encourage the patient to explore his/her thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

The Benefits of Humanistic Therapy

One of the primary objectives and benefits of humanistic therapy is that the process encourages a self-awareness and mindfulness that allows patients to transition from a pattern of reactionary behaviors into a healthier and more productive practice of self-aware and thoughtful actions.

During humanistic therapy sessions, patients are treated in a manner that emphasizes their innate goodness and potential. The humanistic therapist is encouraged to act in a manner consistent with the themes of unconditional positive regard, empathy, genuineness, and congruence.

In an article on the website of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, humanistic psychologist Stan Charnofsky described the benefits of humanistic therapy in the following manner:

  • “Humanistic therapy has a crucial opportunity to lead our troubled culture back to its own healthy path. More than any other therapy, Humanistic-Existential therapy models democracy. It imposes upon the client least of all. Freedom to choose is maximized. We validate our clients’ human potential.”

Humanistic Therapy Treatments

Humanistic therapy is a strongly used component in all CRC Health Group’s  treatment programs. The following is a list of treatment programs that you’ll find Humanistic therapy is used in:

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