Humanistic psychotherapies use a variety of approaches to conceptualizing cases, therapeutic objectives, intervention techniques, and research methods. More than simply a single modality, it is a way of viewing psychotherapy in a more human-centric, compassionate way. SoCal Mental Health uses a humanistic approach in all of the interventions and Orange County therapeutic modalities we offer.
Rather than labeling individuals with similar traits as the same, humanistic treatment emphasizes the uniqueness of each individual being treated. Humanistic treatment takes a holistic approach and considers the entire person, not just the problem, as presented. With this approach, a person’s good characteristics and actions are highlighted, and their capacity to utilize personal intuition to discover knowledge, development, healing, and satisfaction inside themselves.
Theories Behind the Humanistic Approach
A mental health issue, such as substance use disorder (SUD), is regarded in humanistic treatment as a symptom of an inability to make genuine, meaningful, and self-directed decisions about one’s life. Thus, treatments are designed to help clients become more aware and comprehend themselves better. Humanism holds that people are fundamentally decent, having the ability to build and sustain meaningful connections and make decisions that benefit themselves and others around them.
Humanistic psychology is a school of thought that emphasizes the subjective experiences of individuals and their potential for personal growth. According to humanistic psychology, people are inherently good and possess an innate drive to achieve self-actualization or the realization of their full potential.
One key aspect of humanistic psychology is its view on mental illness. Humanistic psychologists see mental illness as a result of a person’s inability to live in accordance with their true values and goals. Therefore, humanistic therapy focuses on helping individuals achieve self-awareness and take personal responsibility for their own growth and development.
The humanistic therapist’s primary goal is to assist clients in overcoming limiting beliefs and attitudes so they can experience more joy and fulfillment in their lives. Instead of treating illnesses or relieving symptoms, the therapist focuses on personal development and self-actualization. This viewpoint focuses on current conscious processes rather than unconscious ones or historical causes. Moreover, individuals have an innate ability for self-direction. For a humanistic therapist, the root of a person’s issues is a lack of authenticity. As such, one of the primary functions of the therapeutic relationship is to facilitate psychological development.
How Do Humanistic Therapies Work?
A humanistic therapist attempts to establish an accepting and loving connection with the client, trusting that the client’s inner drive will eventually materialize in a positive way. In the case of short-term therapies, such as with SUD, humanistic therapeutic methods may be especially suitable since they tend to promote therapeutic rapport, increase self-awareness, concentrate on possible inner resources, and position clients as the person accountable for their own recovery.
Continuing with the SUD example, many variables influence drug addiction disorders, including loss of purpose in one’s own life, anxiety about failure or death, isolation from friends and family, and spiritual emptiness. When it comes to SUD, humanistic treatments go to the root of the problem at a deeper level, acting as a catalyst to help clients find healthier ways to deal with their problems.
A therapist’s compassion and understanding, along with the client’s newfound knowledge, can help the client heal by giving them new chances to make ethical choices, such as whether or not to use drugs or alcohol. Using these treatments may help the patient feel better about themselves, which can help them stay motivated and develop as a person. Humanistic therapists reject manualized or highly precise treatments for psychiatric illnesses in clinical practice. They believe that therapy should be tailored to each client’s unique needs, preferences, and values.
History and Types of Humanistic Therapies
As a reaction to the diagnostic and prescription methods of the analytic and behavioral schools, humanistic psychological treatments emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. This contributed to a paradigm shift, moving people away from the idea of “psychological determinism” and toward the concept of “free will,” and holding that our actions are causally influenced by our experiences.
A few of the key humanistic psychotherapies are as follows:
- Narrative therapy is used to help the client conceptualize treatment as an opportunity to assume authorship and begin a “new chapter” in life.
- Gestalt therapy approaches can be used throughout therapy to facilitate a genuine encounter with the therapist and the client’s own experience.
- Transpersonal Therapy can enhance spiritual development by focusing on the intangible aspects of human experience and awareness of unrealized spiritual capacity.
- Person-Centered Therapy uses a non-authoritarian style that enables clients to take more of a lead in conversations, allowing them to find their own solutions in the process.
- Process-Experiential Therapy in which a therapist works to guide the client’s affective and cognitive processing of experience through the use of appropriate active interventions that facilitate the resolution of painful emotions.
These methods raise self-awareness, which boosts self-esteem and allows for more client responsibility. These provide the client with a feeling of control and the ability to make decisions. All of these methods may be used to help achieve treatment objectives. Although many elements of these methods may be found in other therapeutic approaches, ideas such as empathy, meaning, and choice are central to humanistic treatments.
What to Look for in a Therapist
Apart from looking for someone with the right educational background and attitude, seek a humanistic counselor with whom you feel at ease working together. Humanistic therapists are warm, empathic, understanding, and non-judgmental in their approach to their clients’ problems. Be on the lookout for a qualified, experienced mental health practitioner who has humanistic ideals and practices mental health humanely.
SoCal Mental Health provides open, humanistic approaches. We believe in tailoring the experience of treatment around the individual. Therapy is a personal journey, and it should feel that way. We provide a community-based, healing environment that enhances the humanistic principles behind our many treatment methods and modalities offered at our facility here in Mission Viejo, California.