Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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Kerry Gordon
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The Humanistic model emerged soon after World War II in reaction to the dehumanizing excesses of Fascism and by extension the modern industrial world.

Humanistic Psychology emphasizes humans’ uniqueness, subjectivity and capacity for psychological growth and was referred to by one of its guiding founders, Abraham Maslow, as “the third force that provided an alternative to the schools of behaviourism and psychoanalysis.”

From the Humanistic perspective what is “normal” ceases to be an issue. Rather, the central focus is in assisting individuals in actualizing their deepest potential.

Drawing on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and Soren Kierkegaard, psychologist Rollo May wedded Humanistic Psychology with Existentialism.

With its focus on freedom, choice and responsibility, May saw Existentialism as an inseparable compliment to the Humanistic approach. It is, after all, the unpredictability inherent in existential choice that defines each human being as unique, creative and authentic. At the core of Humanistic Psychology is the search for meaning which represents the highest aspiration of humankind.(KG)
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