Humanistic approach AO3


Practical applications (strength)

  • The approach has contributed enormously in the world of psychological counseling and psychotherapy 
  • E.g. Core conditions promoted in person-centered therapy, such as congruence and empathy have merged into many forms of effective therapy. 
  • Link: Therefore, we could argue the approach has benefited both society and psychology itself. 
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Hard to test scientifically (weakness)

  • Hard to test scientifically and therefore support with empirical evidence.
  • E.g.Some of the issues like congruence and unconditional positive regard are very difficult to study without using subjectivity, influences, or retrospection. 
  • Link: This means that assumptions of this approach lack the scientific rigor of other approaches in psychology such as the biological approach. 
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Acknowledges subjective experiences (strength)

  • Although it is hard to test, subjective experiences can be seen as a strength of the approach.
  • E.g. Some psychologists argue that this is essential to being a human being and can explain why we may interpret the same stimuli/events in many diverse ways. 
  • Link: This more holistic view of humans is praised for 'bringing the person back into psychology' and promoting a positive and realistic image of the human condition. 
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Evidence (strength)

  • There is evidence to back up parts of the humanistic approach found by Harter who discovered some of the dangers of giving conditions of worth to adolescents.
  • Some teenagers create false self behavior by doing things to meet other people's expectations even if they clash with their own views. Harter concluded teenagers who feel they have to fulfill certain conditions to gain parents' approval, frequently end up not liking themselves and are more likely to develop depression. 
  • Link: This helps to illustrate the validity of some of the key concepts of the humanistic approach in explaining behavior. 
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Cultural bias (weakness)

  • The approach can be criticized for cultural bias because it relates to individualistic cultures but not collectivist cultures.
  • Nevis found in China, belongingness needs were seen as more fundamental than physiological needs (which is different from the order proposed by Maslow)
  • Link: This would suggest that theories that are key components of the humanistic approach are not universally applicable. 
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