Humanistic therapy is an umbrella term that describes a variety of types of therapy focusing on the unique abilities and potential of each individual.
Rather than concentrating on what is wrong with a person, humanistic therapy helps that person overcome their mental health problems through personal growth.
There are many different types of humanistic therapy, depending on your goals and the symptoms being treated.
What are humanistic therapies, then?
What is Humanistic Therapy?
Humanistic psychology and humanistic therapy are closely interlinked.
According to the tenets of humanistic psychology or humanism, people are innately good and they can reach their full potential by tapping into their uniqueness. Humanism assumes that everyone has free will and can achieve their potential through a process of self-actualization.
Humanism was developed in the 1950s by psychologists looking for a more holistic approach focusing less on past experiences, pathology, and environmental influences on behavior. Instead, humanism embraced the positive side of human nature.
Humanistic therapy adopts a holistic approach, helping people to develop a more robust sense of self. This form of therapy also helps people to explore their feelings, find meaning in life, and focus on their strengths. Making more rational choices should help people to unlock their full potential.
What is the emphasis in humanistic therapy?
Humanistic therapy allows the client to lead the conversation. The therapist acts as respectful and non-judgmental listener, guiding the therapeutic process while allowing the client to guide the conversation. A humanistic therapist will acknowledge your experiences, but they will not attempt to steer the conversation in other directions.
This client-centered approach helps clients to discover their authentic selves, while at the same finding solutions for problems in their lives.
These are the key assumptions underpinning humanistic psychology:
- Thoughts, feelings, and perception are central to the way you feel about yourself. As such, this is the main indicator of behavior.
- The need to reach your full potential is an innate process.
- Everyone has free will and must take responsibility for their fulfillment and personal growth.
- Assuming the right conditions, particularly during childhood, every person can be good.
- Psychologists should treat everyone individually as every person has unique experiences.
What Are the Different Forms of Humanistic Therapy?
Example of humanistic therapy in psychology include:
- Gestalt therapy: Gestalt therapy focuses on your current life and current experiences instead of probing the past. This type of humanistic therapy sharply emphasizes how you perceive your experiences and draw meaning from those experiences.
- Existential therapy: This philosophical approach to therapy helps you to better understand your place in the universe by exploring the things that give your life meaning. Through existential therapy, you’ll learn to take responsibility for your choices and to recognize that you have the power to change your life so it becomes more purposeful and meaningful.
- Client-centered therapy: Client centered therapy or person-centered therapy involves a therapist and client working as equal partners. The therapist will provide empathy and positive feedback.
- Narrative therapy: Narrative therapy helps you to identify your core values and skills through exploring your experiences and personal stories. The premise of this form of humanistic therapy is to separate the person from the problems.
- Logotherapy: Through logotherapy, you’ll explore new ways to cope with life’s stressors, finding a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. This form of humanistic therapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of grief, depression, and trauma.
Techniques of Humanistic Therapy
Some of the main techniques used in humanistic therapies are as follows:
- Reflective listening: The therapist actively listens to the client and then summarizes what they feel the client said. Reflective listening helps to reinforce points the client is making, helps them to reflect on their words.
- Empathetic understanding: The therapist aims not just to understand what the client is saying and feeling, but also to communicate their understanding to the client. This technique allows the client to feel seen, heard, and understood.
- Congruence: This technique is central to humanistic therapy. The therapist strives to be as open, genuine, and authentic as possible during all interactions with clients.
- Unconditional positive regard: Therapists use the technique of unconditional positive regard to accept clients without judgment. When therapists demonstrate a caring attitude, this can promote self-worth, self-awareness, and personal growth in clients.
- Mindfulness: Humanistic therapy is firmly focused on the present, so often utilizes the practice of mindfulness to help clients become more aware of themselves and the surrounding environment.
Therapists use all the above techniques to help clients develop stronger self-awareness while learning to better direct their behavior in line with their goals.
What is the Goal of Humanistic Therapy?
Humanistic therapy helps clients to achieve self-actualization, assuming all basic needs are fulfilled.
This form of therapy focuses on the strengths of an individual and counseling sessions are conducted non-judgmentally.
The humanistic therapy perspective focuses less on treating measurable symptoms or achieving specific outcomes, and more on a whole-body approach. This broad focus means there is minimal research on the effectiveness of humanistic therapy for specific conditions.
People engage with humanistic therapy for the following conditions:
- Substance use disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorders
- Personality disorders
- Low self-esteem
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Relationship issues
Anyone interested in maximizing their personal growth and potential as a person might benefit from sessions of humanistic therapy.
This review of over 80 studies demonstrates that humanistic therapies can be beneficial for helping people achieve lasting change over time.
Therapy at The District Recovery Community
Here at The District Recovery Community, take advantage of a personalized array of evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies for the following conditions:
- Substance use disorders
- Alcohol use disorders
- Co-occurring disorders
- Mental health disorders
Our gender-specific programming lets you focus fully on your recovery from addiction or mental health issues with as few distractions as possible. We provide outpatient men’s rehab and women’s rehab at all levels of intensity, including:
- OP (regular outpatient program)
- IOP (intensive outpatient program)
- PHP (partial hospitalization program)
The core components of programming here at TDRC are MAT (medication-assisted treatment), counseling, and talk therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy).
Additionally, you will have access to a variety of holistic therapies like humanistic therapy and mindfulness for a whole-body approach to recovery.
Once you have completed your treatment program here at The District, you will either step down to a less intensive form of care or transition back into sober living equipped with a structured aftercare plan.
Recovery is a lifelong process rather than a single event, but you can take the first crucial step today by contacting admissions at 844.287.8506.