Humanistic Psychology emerged as the third aspect of psychology in the 1950’s emerging in response to Psychoanalysis in Europe and Behaviorism in the West. We discuss the great minds of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others with their contribution to psychology. In this episode, we discuss these major concepts:
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- A person-centered therapy
- Exploring how to embrace unconditional positive regard for patients and clients
- Peak experiences
Debra Maldonado 00:28
Hello, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions with CreativeMind. I’m Debra Maldonado, here with Dr. Rob Maldonado, who is our Chief of psychology. We are talking about the great minds of psychology. Today we’re talking about humanistic psychology. We’ll get into that in a moment but before we begin, I’d like to remind you to subscribe to our channel here. If you’re watching us on YouTube, there’s a button in the corner, you can click and subscribe, and click the bell so you get notifications of every episode. If you’re listening to us on one of the podcast services, make sure you subscribe to our podcasts, so you can hear this whole series on the great minds of psychology. You don’t want to miss a single episode. Today we’re talking about humanism.
Robert Maldonado 01:22
Humanistic psychology. Before we start, I wanted to give a shout-out to our graduate community, ever-growing, ever-expanding, we love you guys. Thank you for your support, your incredible talent, the incredible ideas that you bring to CreativeMind.
Debra Maldonado 01:45
Graduate community are our Jungian life coach training, but if you’re a graduate, it’s for you too. What is humanism? I’m gonna read a definition, then we’ll discuss it. It’s an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanists beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.
Robert Maldonado 02:25
Humanism goes way back. It’s been around in philosophy for a long time. Psychology, if you look at the big picture, comes from philosophy, whether the schools admit it or not, there’s always a philosophical grounding to the ideas that emerge in psychology. You can think of it this way: How do we see the mind? How do we see the human being? What is the nature of the human being? Those are all philosophical questions. We build models as to this is what the mind is, this is what a proper discipline of psychology would intend to do, to understand, to help predict what the human mind is up to. We’ve been talking about Freud, the Freudians, the post-Freudians, Anna Freud, as well as Skinner. In our last podcast, we talked about behaviorism. You had in the early 1900s this idea of psychoanalysis emerge from Europe that was really powerful. This was a big idea that people were not ready for in a lot of ways. There was a lot of resistance to it. It was very similar to the idea of evolution that knocked human beings off the pedestal, of the top of the pyramid. Freud was up there with those guys, Galileo and the idea of evolution, evolutionary theory, Darwin’s idea that there was another way of seeing the human being. The idea of the unconscious and these instinctual urges arising from the unconscious, driving us was a completely new way of seeing.
Debra Maldonado 04:52
Most people didn’t know they had an unconscious mind. Now there’s this other force that is hidden, that you can’t predict, can’t control even, have a hard time with these impulses. Then BF Skinner talked about behaviorism in the West.
Robert Maldonado 05:09
In a typical American fashion, there was a reaction, a backlash towards psychoanalysis. Skinner was the face of that reaction, which was a scientific approach to human psychology, saying if we can’t observe the unconscious and measure it, we’re talking in a philosophical, poetic, symbolic way, what is the point of building psychology based on these ephemeral, abstract ideas? He suggested to build it upon observation, scientific approach. You had these two powerful schools now, these two powerful ideas, competing for attention, the funding in universities, and the training of talented people. Then comes along, in the 50s and 60s, this idea of humanistic psychology based on the philosophy of humanism, which says that maybe there’s a third way of seeing it. For a while, it was known as the third force in psychology, the humanistic force, or the humanistic school of psychology was known as the third force because it reinstated this idea of what’s going on in psychology that we either see the human being in a very deterministic way because both psychoanalysis and behaviorism are deterministic in the sense that they don’t give agency and freewill to the human being.
Debra Maldonado 07:15
It’s like the human being has no power, there’s these impulses that are not conscious that draw them. Skinner, through observation of the behavior, made assumptions. They didn’t really examine what’s going on in the mind of the mouse or the pigeon, or whatever animals he looked at. It was more their action, less of an introspection. Freud and Jung were about what’s going on inside the mind and psyche that we have and psychic energy. A very different model.
Robert Maldonado 07:59
There was a need to reinstate the subjective human experience, our own personal life, our experience, our wishes.
Debra Maldonado 08:12
The conscious experience, very much focused on what we know, can experience on a conscious level.
Robert Maldonado 08:19
Giving that the center stage.
Debra Maldonado 08:23
They don’t focus on the unconscious at all?
Robert Maldonado 08:30
It depends on the psychologist, some of them were very eclectic, which allowed for behaviorism and psychoanalytic thought, but their emphasis was that you want to give human being respect and the central position in the psychology instead of seeing them as rats in a maze, or people subjected to unconscious whims. It was very humanistic, it went back to this Greek idea that we’re on our own in this vast universe as human beings, we have to figure it out ourselves instead of depending on the gods, or some external force.
Debra Maldonado 09:21
A mature way, not a childlike mystical way. Let’s be mature about this, let’s see what a human being can do. What are some of the main ideas that came out of it? Maslow and hierarchy of needs is one a lot of people are familiar with.
Robert Maldonado 09:43
His ideas are still around. University of Wisconsin, my alma mater, his presence is still felt there. Carl Rogers James is also there. I had the privilege of studying with people that were highly influenced by the humanistic school, as well as the current neuroscience.
Debra Maldonado 10:18
Another key concept, is it a person-centered, client-centered approach? Patient-centered?
Robert Maldonado 10:27
Still around today. If you talk to therapists today, people that work in the trenches, face to face with clients and patients, they are very much influenced by the person-centered approach.
Debra Maldonado 10:44
A lot of coaching is a client-centered approach. Many people bring up that coaching is letting the client drive, you’re not analyzing the client, you’re not diagnosing the client, you’re seeing what the client is telling you and asking them. They’re in charge of their own development, they’re not following advice. We’re not pathologizing the person. The client has power to determine their journey with the coach.
Robert Maldonado 11:26
In psychology, you have theoretical models that emerge from theory, psychologists that are interested in developing and putting forth these theories, then models of therapy are developed based on those theories. In humanism, it was the same idea. In humanistic psychology, you had ideas that emerge like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the question became: how do we apply that in a therapy model? Since then, you get some of these ideas. Carl Rogers was big in this area of person-centered therapy. How do we develop a model of helping human beings with their own psychology? We give them the sense of agency, it is their life that we’re helping them develop, not the professional’s pathology or diagnosis of their condition, but their desires and needs. You can see a strong connection to coaching.
Debra Maldonado 12:40
We’re not diagnosing in coaching or analyzing, giving advice. You allow the client to say, “This is what I want to create.” The coach is there to support the client in the client-centered approach.
Robert Maldonado 12:56
To our fellow coaches, who like the idea of healing and helping people with trauma, that’s not in this approach, that’s not a real true client-centered approach, because that goes back to the diagnostic, pathologizing model. That’s what we mean by these models. It’s not necessarily that the therapists are doing it wrong or anything like that. It’s just a different model. Then when coaches borrow from those models, they often don’t know the history or haven’t investigated the history of those models. They’re buying into pathologizing model without knowing it.
Debra Maldonado 13:50
You hear that word, trauma coach, a lot. It’s a different model.
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Debra Maldonado 14:50
Another thing too, I love this unconditioned positive regard for the client or patient, if you’re therapists, that idea that you have to hold that for the person, no matter what they bring to the session, or if they’re having a bad time, you’re seeing them as non-attached. You love or see them as becoming.
Robert Maldonado 15:29
I think it encompasses all those things. Unconditional positive regard is love. You’re open to accept this person, you’re not judging them, you’re not necessarily saying, “You’re doing this wrong, this is what your problem is.” You’re saying, “We’re two human beings caught up in the situation. What do we do? How can we together figure out a way to move forward?” That is a very powerful experience because if you really think about it, when do we experience that? Maybe when we’re babies, our mom picks us up, there’s no agenda of teaching us anything or trying to get us to do anything. It’s a complete acceptance.
Debra Maldonado 16:22
Without judgment. If they’re struggling, they’re even angry or defensive in the session, to hold that space for them without judging, without reacting and having your own personal stuff get in the way. Also the idea of free will. If you think of Skinner and Freud, a lot of it was that you don’t have a lot of free will in your choices, especially Skinner, he basically said we’re prisoners to our conditioning. It’s an answer to Skinner in a way, going beyond, giving the human beings the power to control their own destiny.
Robert Maldonado 17:06
This is huge in coaching. We work towards that goal of really freeing a human being to where they can have real choices in their life. Because we understand that conditioning is a powerful force, like Skinner showed, but we’re not pessimistic. We’re not seeing the human being in a deterministic way that once they’re caught in conditioning that’s going to determine the rest of their lives. Freud even said that the unconscious is going to determine your life, not your free will. We say that those factors have some way to them, we know that in psychology, but we’re not just blinding ourselves to those things. But the humanistic idea that comes through is that we can certainly develop those skills.
Debra Maldonado 18:10
Wouldn’t you say they were influenced a little by Jung and his theory of individuation, which means once you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life. Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life for you to think of it as fate. He hinted there is a free will, we do have access to that. His model was working with the unconscious, humanistic model is working on just the human conscious, almost like a motivational speaker, “you can do it”, “if you work hard, keep your commitments, and have a better attitude, you can change, turn around your destiny.”
Robert Maldonado 18:52
They weren’t saying necessarily everyone had free will but that if you worked at it, either consciously or through the unconscious, as Jung one might say, that you’d reach this next idea, self-actualization, self-realization, which is a very Eastern perspective. If we look at the time this school developed, we see there was a lot of Eastern influence at that time. With the hippie movement, Yogananda, some of yogis coming from India, the opening up of culture of experimenting with psychedelics. R.D. Laing, who was a Scottish psychiatrist, was experimenting way back then with psychedelics to help people with their mental health problems. It’s nothing new. Now we’re hearing again, now it’s an incredible idea to really research the potential of psychoactive plants and psychedelics in mental health.
Debra Maldonado 20:13
When you say self-realization, Maslow and humanism are not talking about the divine, where the East was talking about the biggest self. They borrowed the concept, but they weren’t talking about spiritual enlightenment, they were talking about human enlightenment in the humanism.
Robert Maldonado 20:36
There are some schools, the Buddhism school is considered atheistic in the sense that they weren’t necessarily depending on a deity in their enlightenment. Their enlightenment came from the human being, from working with your mind and the human problem. It’s very similar.
Debra Maldonado 21:03
It’s funny when you think about Buddhism as atheistic, because we think of it as a religion, Buddha is a spiritual being.
Robert Maldonado 21:15
It’s originally a philosophy, cultural influence. People talked about Lord Buddha, so he becomes a deity.
Debra Maldonado 21:31
What about the idea of self-concept?
Robert Maldonado 21:38
The self-concept is giving importance to our own subjective experience.
Debra Maldonado 21:47
How do I see myself? How do I identify myself? Am I confident? I’m confident, I’m well grounded, I’m successful.
Robert Maldonado 22:03
It gets this idea that we’re living in a multicultural world with many different experiences. Before the humanistic school the approach was, we’re all biological beings, we’re all the same, these models should work on everyone in the same way. Whereas humanistic ideas gave us this sense that maybe we should treat everyone according to where they’re coming from in their worldview, respect that, use that as the basis for a psychology.
Debra Maldonado 22:47
Uniqueness of every human being versus this idea that there’s a group of people that follow the crowd, like social psychology. Would it be that difference?
Robert Maldonado 22:59
Social psychology came out of this school, but it’s a little different. But certainly the multiculturalism, which is a very powerful force now in psychology, came out of the human potential idea that we see in this humanistic psychology.
Debra Maldonado 23:26
I’ve heard the term peak experiences. I remember going to a metaphysical fair in Denver years ago in the 1990s. The guy was talking about peak experiences and had everyone think about a time in their life when they felt really good. What’s the benefit of someone having that in humanistic psychology? How would they use the concept of peak experiences? I’m sure other people’ve heard this term before.
Robert Maldonado 23:57
Speaking of spirituality, I’d say that the humanist— of course, there was a lot of variety because there were different individuals working in this model. But in general, the idea was that we as human beings, through our sense of wonderment at the universe, even science gives us all the universe, the vastness of it. Carl Sagan, for example, talks about how when we look at the stars, that is a religious experience. This is a peak experience.
Debra Maldonado 24:44
The astronauts, when they went to the moon, looked back at the earth and said, all this, where they were, they had a new perspective on this. Those moments take your breath away. It could be the birth of a child. When I did hypnotherapy, a lot of the happy time I’d take people to was always either the birth of the child, the day I got married, or some went over vacation that made them feel so good. We all have those experiences. The humanistic psychology is more about creating more of those or using those to anchor in, to bring ourselves back to a centered place.
Robert Maldonado 25:32
Both, I think. If we look back at our past experiences, there are these peak moments that define us, that stay with us, give us a sense of ourselves. Therefore, we should give them priority and importance.
Debra Maldonado 25:51
We want to create more of them. We want to be in life to have those moments. Sometimes in the spiritual growth, we want to escape. But that peak experience is allowing your body, the energy of your body, the human part of you to experience bliss as well.
Robert Maldonado 26:13
Why do people go to these ayahuasca retreats in the jungles? Because they’re seeking peak experiences. Why do we seek sex and love? Another peak experience. Marriage, the creation of a business, the attainment of degrees. That’s why they give us a sense of ourselves, a sense of meaning. The humanistic school was very much into what the meaning is for us. If we lose the sense of meaning, that’s when human beings become depressed.
Debra Maldonado 26:57
Humans need that, we’ll talk about the hierarchy of needs. The major idea of free will, that you have personal agency, is groundbreaking. You could be a pure humanist and not do any spiritual work but you can incorporate humanistic ideas into the whole system. Individuals are unique. What separates behaviorism from humanism is that when Skinner did his research, he studied animals. How can you decide what a human is going to do? It doesn’t really tell what a human is doing. I find fascinating the way we look at the individual as unique, we’re not putting them in a clump that everyone’s going to react the same way, seeing a person as not just a machine or an animal, that there’s a human being inside with a subjective experience.
Robert Maldonado 28:09
Psychology is to study the individual rather than the average performance of groups because if you want to do scientific psychology, often you have to do numbers. You want to know how many people have this quality or that quality or respond this way or that way. A lot of research is based on this quantitative idea of numbers because we can see it.
Debra Maldonado 28:49
When I talk to people about individuation and Jungian coaching, people will ask what percentage of people will move through the shadow, what timeframe it takes, if you have to work on the shadow for three months, or six months, or a year. Individuation means each person has their own journey and there’s no big, overarching average. Everyone has their own unique journey and their own unique psyche, they go through the process of individuation on their own. Humanistic psychology understands the same principle that not every person is going to need the same things or be treated the same way, even if it’s therapy. There’s a famous saying that if you only have a hammer, you’re going to look for nails, meaning you treat everyone the same. This is the protocol. In the medical model, that’s true. If someone has a blocked artery, here’s the protocol. You go in, put a stent in, open it up, open up the flow. But our psyche is so unique. It’s not like we’re just biological beings, there’s a complex psyche. Humanism would identify that we align with the idea that we’re not a psychological treatment factory, we’re individual expressions.
Robert Maldonado 30:28
One of the ideas we haven’t mentioned is that human beings are essentially good. Freud was very pessimistic about the human condition. If we look at his context, World War I and World War II in Europe left of a mark on him and all the philosophers at that time.
Debra Maldonado 30:57
Speaking of that, there’s a new series on Hulu about the woman that helped Otto Frank and Anna Frank, the famous Anna Frank diary, hide the Jews in Amsterdam. I found that in that time, it was so dark, but if you get a chance to watch that show, it really shows the goodness how many good people were under the occupation, but they were fighting and risking their lives for other people. It filled my heart with so much joy to know that there are so many good people. We don’t often see that in the news, on social media, everything’s like, “We need to fix all these broken people.” There’s so much goodness in us. I love that idea.
Robert Maldonado 31:49
This is a quote by Abraham Maslow. “The fact is that people are good. Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.” This is a central idea of the humanistic score, it is supported by statistics, there are numbers to back it up. If you look at most people on the planet, they’re not murderers, they’re not soldiers, they’re not fighting wars, not fighting each other and killing each other. Most people want to live in peace and harmony.
Debra Maldonado 32:32
We go to a store and everyone waits in line, no one’s starting fights on the streets. We live in a very civilized society where we are always watching out for your neighbors. Even in people that have maybe anger or are disruptive, they’re not maybe perfect, there’s still goodness in everyone, even if they aren’t expressing it, there’s still deep inside that goodness.
Robert Maldonado 33:02
This is important to remember, especially now because what social media is doing is amplifying the negative aspects of our human nature. If there’s anger and lies, it amplifies it for some reason, it makes it appear to be bigger than it actually is. It gives people a perception that all man human beings are terrible.
Debra Maldonado 33:29
We do have a lot of gun violence here, but people overseas are probably worried about coming here because they’re gonna get shot. Even though it’s much higher than normal, it’s relatively safe in the US. That promoting the darkness of humanity all the time.
Robert Maldonado 33:52
Hopefully in our next podcasts we can talk about social psychology where we get into some of those ideas on how society engineers these human elements and amplifies them. Because what Maslow is saying is if you give people affection and security, if you create those environments for people, their true nature, that goodness will shine forward.
Debra Maldonado 34:24
Do you want to go over the hierarchy of needs because I that’s one of the popular parts of humanistic psychology, a lot of people have heard of the hierarchy of needs, Maslow.
Robert Maldonado 34:36
It’s very influential and still very much around today.
Debra Maldonado 34:42
There’s five levels of human needs. It’s human needs. As a human being, we have these needs. Maybe animals don’t have these needs as much as we do. It’s particular for humans. nimals do have some of these. The first one is physiological needs, we need to breathe, we need food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, sense of balance in our bodies, of course, we need to go to the bathroom. It’s biological, physiological function, our body needs to function.
Robert Maldonado 35:19
We were watching a documentary about that football team that crashed in the 70s. In the beginning, right after the crash, their first concern was water. They couldn’t eat the snow, they tried to eat the snow but it would hurt their mouth. So they had to melt it, they had to find a way to melt the water, so they could simply drink it. That was their primary concern.
Debra Maldonado 35:49
They were surrounded by frozen water, but they were thirsty. Then breathing, you have to breathe. Then food, they didn’t have any, they had a little bit left.
Robert Maldonado 36:04
That came right after that. Once they figured out where to get the water, then safety needs, security. We have this shell of an airplane, let’s hide in here, let’s take shelter from the storm here.
Debra Maldonado 36:21
For human beings, it’s having shelter, having a home, having some employment where you have resources, money coming in, whether it’s a job, or it’s an inheritance, or getting money in a social safety net for governmental support, the sense where you can be safe. Property, one of the things that you always say is that a rich man clings to his mansion as much as a homeless man clings to his cardboard box. It’s this sense of “I need this little space for myself”, that safety. We’re not in the jungle anymore, in the wild. The physiological safety of tigers or animals chewing us, or even tribes coming in, maybe in some parts of the world. But those things are really first, when you’re not safe, you’re not thinking, “I’d like to write a book one day, I’d like to find the love of my life.” You’re thinking to get these needs set first. They stack upon, he had this famous pyramid. The bottom of the pyramid was the physical body getting food, water, breathing. Second is whether it feels safe. The third one, which is more high level hierarchy, is love and belonging. A lot of people feel that way that if you aren’t loved or you don’t belong, it does feel insecure. But even if you have a house, even if you have a mansion, you have all the food you need and water, if you don’t have that love, you’re still seeking. Do you want to do the next one?
Robert Maldonado 38:16
These are important, we talked about Freud and the ego. Here we see it clearly, these first parts of the hierarchy of needs have to do with ego function. The ego is designed to help us survive physically, first of all, then, secondly, to survive socially, to have friendship, love, belonging, family, sexual intimacy.
Debra Maldonado 38:52
Emotional feeling toward another person, the unconditional positive regard, feeling accepted.
Robert Maldonado 39:01
Once we have those in place, we go into self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect by others.
Debra Maldonado 39:15
Establishing yourself as an advancing person, someone who is doing things in their life or that people look up to you, your success.
Robert Maldonado 39:27
These are simple concepts but they make a profound difference in the individual’s life. If you pull out one of these, the person is in trouble. Isolate a person, don’t give them access to their community, their family, they suffer. The human beings suffer tremendously because they don’t have access to these basic human needs.
Debra Maldonado 39:59
If you’re in the Andes, in the mountains, and you don’t have food and water, you’re not thinking, “Does everyone like me? Am I achieving something in my life?” I love the idea that you can only get to those things when your basic needs are met. The last one is self-actualization, the top of the pyramid. That’s about morality, realizing who you are, it’s beyond self esteem. How would you describe it? Self-acceptance?
Robert Maldonado 40:40
They’re transcendent needs in the sense that you have everything in place you need as a human being but now you have to think about the meaning of my life, what I personally value, and come to terms with that, because if we just follow the crowd and do these things unconsciously or blindly, without thinking about them, we get to the top and we feel empty, because we haven’t done our internal work of defining ourselves in our success. What does that mean?
Debra Maldonado 41:19
Would it be total self-acceptance? Instead of esteem, based on accomplishing something, but this self-actualization means that you’ve done all the other things, it’s something transcendental, the wholeness of who you are. Your life is good, you don’t have need anymore. Everything’s a need. Self-actualization is where you don’t need anything, just pure expression.
Robert Maldonado 41:53
That’s part of it, certainly. Again, you see the Eastern influence very much, not only Eastern, these ideas have been around in many different times and cultures. It’s a spirituality idea, not the religion idea, but the idea of completeness, of wholeness.
Debra Maldonado 42:15
It’s a nice way to think about life. All my years of doing this work, I’ve seen people confuse the need for love and belonging to survival. They’re well fed, they have money, but they feel pain, it’s almost like a survival instinct to get someone to like me. They blend a bit, using esteem like social survival, confusing it with physical survival. Not that they’re doing it on purpose, but the ego has a way of doing it.
Robert Maldonado 42:56
Rollo May, who is considered another important figure in the humanistic school, though he’s more of the existential psychology school, says depression is the inability to construct a future. Existentialists thought about the big questions that we as human beings have. What is the meaning of my life? What happens after I die? What is the whole purpose, the aim of life? If we don’t answer these questions for ourselves, we feel empty, we feel like there is no sense of meaning. We feel void, we feel a lack. He says that’s the big basis of what we call mental health problems. We’re not focusing on the real, big questions of life. The existentialists have an important contribution to psychology as well. They’re not often mentioned, they’re not often studied because it’s more of philosophy. But we know philosophy gives us the big answers to the big questions of life. They are important for our sense of completeness. Again, that’s self-actualization, or individuation, as Jung would call it.
Debra Maldonado 44:40
Before we go, let’s talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the humanistic psychology before everyone’s like “I want to be humanistic.” I do agree with the eclectic model, because Jung was around in the late 1800s till about 1960 when he passed, he had a huge contribution to psychology. A lot of these schools borrowed, Jung had a very big influence on different psychologies. You don’t have to throw Jung out to do the humanistic, and you don’t have to be a pure humanistic. We can take all these great ideas. Some of the strengths is that person-centered idea, which I think is really important to let a person have their own subjective experience, determine their own decisions and fate versus someone giving them a diagnosis and saying, “Here’s the treatment protocol.” It’s a different hierarchy of authority versus that person-centered, which in coaching is very much a co-creative experience with a client versus a diagnostic experience.
Robert Maldonado 45:55
This idea was very influential in the human rights movement, in women’s liberation movement. Moving forward, as we enter these new spaces of artificial intelligence and technologies that we can’t even imagine now, person-centered ideas are important to us, we have to keep our humanity above all, despite all the material wealth and technology that we create.
Debra Maldonado 46:31
The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used very widely. People use it in corporate education, social services. When you take a child out of the home, they have to make sure they’re fed, the hierarchy of needs is applied to make sure they’re functioning. Some of the weaknesses is that they say it’s very subjective, not scientific. I wouldn’t see that as a weakness. If you look at BF Skinner, who’s supposedly scientific with behaviorism. You can see that the human being is far more than just an observation, they’re introspective, their psyche is so complex, you can’t just measure someone by their behavior.
Robert Maldonado 47:16
Psychology as a profession, as an academic discipline has always had this complex that it’s not scientific because you can’t observe the mind directly. You’re speculating in a lot of ways or assuming things. It’s always tried too hard to be scientific. Often to its own detriment, thrown out important aspects of its own profession, to appear or to bow down to the scientific method.
Debra Maldonado 48:02
Another weakness of humanistic psychology, because it was created in the West, it’s ethnos-centric, which means it’s really for the Western culture. It doesn’t take into account the multicultural experience. Not all human beings have the same values. Freewill, science believes that everything’s deterministic, there’s no real freewill. We don’t want to be locked into there being no free will. You get desponded if you think we don’t have any choice.
Robert Maldonado 48:41
What’s it’s saying is that the idea of free will goes against the accepted ideas of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. One of the biggest schools is cognitive behaviorism, as well as the medical model, medication, psychopharmacology for the treatment of mental health issues. Freewill goes against that because if the human being indeed has free will, they should be given importance and instead of the medication they should decide when they need medication and what kind of medication they need. Whereas the model says the professional prescribes this to you, you should take it without questioning.
Debra Maldonado 49:32
I don’t know about cognitive behavioral therapy, but a lot of it is that you need to change those thoughts to be positive. There’s a prescriptive, methodical element to it where the person says, “I want to think negative for a day and see what happens.” It’s not open to that freedom for the patient or the client.
Robert Maldonado 50:00
In the traditional medical model, the professional is going to tell you what you need to do, just like when you go to a physical doctor, or a medical doctor, they’re gonna tell you what they believe is wrong with you and what you need to do.
Debra Maldonado 50:23
Same thing as a business strategist. They’re going to be the expert, they’re going to tell you, “These are the things you need to change” versus “What would you like to see? What do you think will change?” They’re both good models in a way, it’s not like one’s better than the other. It’s just understanding where the locus of control is. If the person doesn’t have any locus of control of their own treatment or their own path of growth, it feels as though they’re trapped. You need to follow the formula or you’re gonna fail if you don’t follow it to the T. Where the human being is like “This doesn’t really fit.” From a marketing standpoint, as a coach, there’s so many people that teach this. When I was looking at different business coaches that were like “This model works, you have to do this, you have to follow this script, you have to do it our way.” There was no freedom, and every person is so unique, every entrepreneur is so unique, the way they want to market, to present themselves, the way they want to do their business is very unique. Humanistic is taking that stage where the person can decide their own destiny versus having to feel that they have to follow a formula.
Robert Maldonado 51:41
It’s a big one. The subjective explanations will be distorted by Freudian defense mechanisms. What this means is that if you think the human being has conscious choice, what about the Freudian idea of defenses, projection, denial? What are you going to do with those? You have to include them in the understanding that the individual might be making choices out of ego defensive strategy, not out of free will.
Debra Maldonado 52:21
I had this experience where a client would say, “My inner self told me I should wait and lay back.” Then you’re giving too much power to the ego and the conditioning to decide. That’s one of the weaknesses of humanistic psychology, it’s ego-centered. The ego has defenses, if they’re not examined and you’re letting the client decide based on what their ego says, that it’s not the right time, or I think I’m going to be kind to myself and not take any action, or I’m going to quit this because it doesn’t feel good, you’re not questioning that person. A pure humanist wouldn’t question the client, they’d say, “If you want to do that, that’s your choice.” But I don’t think many therapists or coaches do that, just let the client make excuses. Although there could be a feeling of let the client decide, they’re in charge of their own growth.
Robert Maldonado 53:35
It’d be good to have some research and some data on this to see how many coaches operate this way, totally trust the goals and desires of the client and follow that. But we know in good coaching, often there’s a questioning of why you want those things.
Debra Maldonado 54:01
Challenging their assumptions. You’re saying this, you’re still not giving them the answer or telling them what to do, but you’re having them question their own rationality or defense mechanisms. Would that not be humanism or would that still be a part of that?
Robert Maldonado 54:23
I think it’s a part of that because humanism wasn’t necessarily just saying anything goes as far as what the client says. They’re therapy models too, they’re coaching models, so they’re not just accepting what the individual says. But they’re certainly leading with the idea of respect for the individual, and that the individual’s intentions, culture, and point of view should be primary consideration.
Debra Maldonado 55:03
To sum it up, it’s not that if they are having defense mechanisms, the coach or the therapist has the unconditional positive regard for them. If they’re in resistance, they’re not yelling at them or shaming them for not moving forward, that’s really not a terrible thing. You see sometimes out there motivational speakers that tear down the person, they’d ask a question, that’s not unconditional positive regard. That is bullying in a way. We want to be kind and gentle, questioning in a very compassionate way to understand where they’re coming from. Then they can be motivated to make the best decision for themselves. But ultimately, the client or patient has their own choice. It’s not like this is the protocol you have to follow.
Robert Maldonado 55:59
The big picture is, we want to know the history of these models and how they influenced both therapy models and coaching models because there’s still with us today. Moving forward, we want to take the best, learn the lessons these models have taught us, so that we can now synthesize our approach to the future.
Debra Maldonado 56:27
Great conversation, as always, I always learn something new on our podcasts. Hope you are enjoying this series. Before we go, I wanted to remind you to please subscribe to our channel here on the button below if you’re watching us on YouTube. If you’re listening to us on Spotify, iTunes, all those great podcast hosting services, be sure to subscribe so you can hear all these episodes about the history of psychology, these great minds, fascinating conversations. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Take care.