Humanism views all individuals as inherently good and functional (as opposed to Freud's view of constantly struggling to keep impulses in check).

Under humanism, the principle human motivation is to self-actualise (reach maximum potential), and problems occur when there's an incongruence between what an individual wants to be, and what society demands of them. (Between the 'real self' and the 'ideal self').

Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy is 'person centred'; the role of the therapist is to create a non-judgemental environment, and patients develop their own solutions to problems.

The therapy is extremely non-directive; techniques include:

  • Listening
  • Reflecting
  • Understanding
  • Sharing
  • Empathy
  • Unconditional Positive regard

ELIZA is an example of a basic humanist program.


  • Hard to quantify results
  • Limited techniques; extremely non-directive
  • Questionably effective against severe mental disorders
  • Unconditional positive regard might not always be good