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humanistic psychology a 20th-century movement in psychology that believes that man as an individual is a unique being and should be recognized and treated as such by psychologists and psychiatrists The movement grew in opposition to the two mainstream 20th-century trends in psychology behaviourism and psychoanalysis Humanistic psychologists believe that behaviourists are overconcerned with the scientific study and analysis of the actions of man as an organism to the neglect of basic aspects of man as a feeling thinking individual and that too much effort is spent in laboratory research which quantifies and reduces human behaviour to its elements Humanists also take issue with the deterministic orientation of psychoanalysis which postulates that mans early experiences and drives determine his behaviour Humanists tend to believe that the individual is responsible for his life and actions and may at any time creatively change his attitudes or behaviour through awareness and will The huma nist is concerned with the fullest growth of the individual in the areas of love fulfillment self-worth and autonomy maturation is considered a process during which one establishes and follows ones own system of values The Association for Humanistic Psychology lists five basic postulates man as man supersedes the sum of his parts man has his being in a human context man is aware man has choice and man is intentional The American psychologist Abraham H Maslow considered to be one of the leading architects of humanistic psychology proposed a hierarchy of needs or drives in order of decreasing priority or potency but increasing sophistication physiological needs safety belongingness and love esteem and self-actualization Only when the more primitive needs are met can the individual progress to higher levels in the hierarchy The person reaching self-actualization will have fully utilized his potential The concept of the self is a central focal point for most humanistic psychologists In the personal construct theory of American psychologist George Kelly and the self-centered theory of
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