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Humanism

Humanism

Description:

This lesson will define, explain, and explore the theory of humanism.

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Tutorial


What's Covered

This lesson is going to look at the Humanistic approach to personality by covering:

  1. Subjective Experience

  2. Positive Self-Regard


1. Subjective Experience

Humanism is a theory of psychology that emphasizes a person's perspective and the growth potential of people; it is the psychology of human nature. Human nature refers to all the traits, behaviors, and potentials that are unique to us as human beings.

Term to Know

  • Human Nature

  • The traits, behaviors, and potentials unique to human beings.

Humanism is what took off into the positive psychology movement. This movement focused on human strengths, virtues, creativity, and free will. This is opposed to ideas of behaviorism and psychodynamic theory, which are focused on negative aspects, and put human behavior outside of a person’s control. Humanism is all about people as agents within their own lives that are able to help themselves in some ways.

The two major figures in humanism are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They are the ones who developed a lot of the initial theories. They were American psychologists in the mid-1900s that focused particularly on psychotherapy and improving people's lives.

Within humanism, there are two important areas to focus on. The first one is on subjective experience, and how it can be important to a person. Subjective experience is a person's point of view about an experience. It is not focused on just what happened, but how a person perceived it to happened. This can be just as important in psychology, as the actual event itself.

Example A person that's depressed might be having negative thoughts about all things around them. These negative thoughts might not necessarily be true, but the person's thoughts that they are having will still cause them psychological harm.

Term to Know

  • Subjective Experience

  • A person’s point of view of an experience; not just what happened, but what you think happened. 


2. Positive Self-Regard

A person’s subjective experience can also influence their views of themselves. This is important in humanism because it can lead to understanding how to become a better person.

This leads to the second concept, which is positive self-regard/self esteem. Self esteem is considering yourself to be a good, worthwhile person, or, in other words, having positive views about yourself.

Term to Know

  • Positive Self-Regard/Self Esteem
  • Thinking of one’s self as a lovable, good, worthwhile person.

Early childhood experiences can especially be important in the development of feelings about self and the standard by which person judges their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to be good. These are what called conditions of worth; conditions of worth can affect a person’s positive self-regard.

ExampleBeing told when as a child that it's bad to cry, can lead a person to have bad feelings about themselves when they feel the urge to cry later on in life.

The opposite of having these conditions of worth is what Rogers referred to as unconditional positive regard. This is approval or acceptance of a person, regardless of what they do or say. Rogers considered this to be the ideal for development because it makes a child feel worthwhile regardless their actions. It encourages positive growth over time.


Summary

Humanism is a theory that focuses on a person’s perspective and growth potential. This is different than behaviorism and psychodynamic theory because it states people are the agents of their own lives. There are two important areas of the theory to focus on. Subjective experience is the view a person has on event or experience. This looks at how the view point can be just as important as the actual event itself. 

Positive self-regard is the positive view of self. Early childhood experiences can have an important impact of feelings of self and the standards people judge themselves by. Conditions of worth can affect a person’s self-esteem, and unconditional positive regard is considered to be ideal for developing positive growth.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Human Nature

    The traits, behaviors, and potentials unique to human beings.

  • Subjective Experience

    A person’s point of view of an experience; not just what happened, but what you think happened.

  • Positive Self-Regard/Self Esteem

    Thinking of one’s self as a lovable, good, worthwhile person.