Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Nancy L. Murdock & Chia-Chih D. C. Wang
Humanistic approaches to counseling include a number of theoretical viewpoints. The dominant perspectives in this category are person-centered therapy and Gestalt therapy, which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as alternatives to the prevailing approaches of the time, psychoanalysis and behaviorism. This entry will review person-centered therapy and Gestalt therapy, along with a more recent approach that combines elements of these two: process-experiential psychotherapy. Humanistic theorists emphasize the freedom and responsibility of the individual. In psychology, these theoretical viewpoints evolved as a reaction to psychoanalytic and behavioral perspectives that characterized human behavior as determined by forces not directly under individual control. The humanists rebelled against the conception of humans as pawns controlled by genetically programmed instinct or environmental forces and accompanying assumptions that seemed to split the individual into pieces. Instead, humanistic theorists emphasize individual agency and holistic functioning. A related assumption in humanistic approaches is the importance of individual ...