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The Humanistic-Existential Perspective

            The Humanistic-Existential Perspective The humanistic-existential perspective is both a reaction to and an outgrowth of the psychodynamic perspective. These thinkers refer to psychodynamic theory as inadequate, many were repulsed with its tendency to break down the "whole" person into discrete components, and, the idea of adapting to one's society, however questionable its values. Most importantly, they disagree that human action is beyond the individuals control, in fact they believe that if we could develop with out constraints, we would be rational and socialized. Humanists and existentialists also think psychology should be converted into a human science, different from psychological theories with more focus on natural science. Nonetheless, there would be four basic premises that both groups (humanists & existentialists) would follow. First is the Phenomenological Approach. This entails the therapist entering into the patients world by tuning into their mental life and seeing the world as they do through their eyes. This is accomplished by listening with a lot of empathy and avoiding searching for evidence to fill their own theories by not looking into the real truth of their patients statements. This approach considers the minds knowledge for its own behavior. Second, the Uniqueness of the Individual is taken into consideration. This concept suggests every person percieves the world differently through their own "self-creation", thus making us unique. According to this premise, to subject the patients to a set of formulas, in comparison to psychodynamic theory, is to limit the therapists knowledge. This perspective also understands that while society sets rules to follow, such rules cannot define a human life. The third premise is Human Potental. This emphasizes the ability for a human to become what they want and fulfill their capabilities, by growth through experience.

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