A Critique of Humanistic Psychology
Ontology, Epistemology, Anthropology & Teleology | What does this theory say about how we
understand the universe? According to this theory, how do humans figure out (apprehend) reality?
What beliefs are asserted about human nature? Is the theory optimistic, pessimistic or ambivalent
about human nature and potential? Is there a special purpose to human existence?
The humanistic approach, also known as the human potential movement, asserts the innate human abilities of growth and realization of potential. According to this model, no person is innately bad or unworthy as compared to others. The humanistic theory maintains the goal of allowing people to realize their own tremendous potential. Carl Rogers, a leading humanistic psychologist defined the term actualization as the capability for people to "maintain or enhance the organism", so long as their are not strong opposing forces present. (Page) Humanists have applied this definition to personality psychology to develop the term "self-actualization," meaning maintenance or enhancement of the self. In fact, self-actualization appears to be the purpose of human life. The realities of life present a challenge, rather an opportunity for growth. Along with actualization, the humanist theory says that people to feel loved and accepted by others, and specifically by those they deem to be "significant others." This was defined by Rogers as the need for positive regard.
Theory of Change | What is the epitome of the healthy person? What about a dysfunctional
person? Is change likely from this theoretical perspective? If so, how much change is possible and
where does the source of change come from? Is the theory more deterministic or open about
According to Rogers, the healthy individual is a person who has achieved congruence. Congruence is defined as "wholeness or integration within the individual." (Page) This healthy bond forms between the ideal self,...