Humanistic Psychology

The name humanistic psychology was chosen by a group of psychologists in 1962 and the Association of Humanistic Psychology (AHP) was born.  In 1964, the Association of Humanistic Psychology held its first conference in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Attendees included psychologists Gordon Allport, J.F.T. Bugental, Charlotte Buhler, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray and Carl Rogers, as well as humanists such as Jacques Barzun, Rene Dubos and Floyd Matson. The first editor of the AHP journal was Anthony Sutich and with the help of Charlotte Buhler and J. Buegental.  The principles of humanistic psychology state that every person is an experiencing person and these experiences are as unique to one as ontology is to one, thus these experiences cannot be broken down into individual parts or parcels, but can only be described holistically from the experiencing person.  According to these principles, meanings of concepts such as love, courage, strength, resilience, and integrity can only be described by the experiencing person, and their individual interpretation of these phenomena are the only true meanings they know, therefore recognition of human growth, potential, and personal discovery will only add to the understanding of mankind as a whole.

The Association of Humanistic Psychology formulated a statement of 4 principles of Humanistic Psychology:

1) A centering of attention on the experiencing person and thus a focus on experience as the primary phenomenon in the study of man. Both theoretical explanations and overt behaviour are considered secondary to experience itself and to its meaning to the person.

2) An emphasis on such distinctively human qualities as choice, creativity, valuation, and self realization, as opposed to thinking about human beings in mechanistic and reductionistic terms.

3) An allegiance to meaningfulness in the selection of problems for study and of research procedures, and an opposition to a primary emphasis on objectivity at the expense of significance.

4) An ultimate concern with and valuing of the dignity and worth of man and an interest in the development of the potential inherent in every person. Central in this view is the person as he discovers his own being and relates to other persons and to social groups.

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