Humanistic Psychology

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.


  • In today’s climate of managed care and manualized techniques, there is a hunger for hands-on, personal contact. Traditional analytic and behavioral therapies don’t cut it. Therapies modeled from humanistic psychology are not only more effective but more needed than ever.
  • As we stretch ourselves further and further in our race to keep up with the Joneses, we isolate and alienate ourselves from others. Many patients suffer from a sense of derealization, depersonalization and loneliness. Humanistic psychology directly addresses the human need for contact and connection, and reminds us that it is the human relationship and presence of the therapist that creates attunement and healing for the client.
  • Consider the impact of the Baby Boomer generation: a large percentage of our population seek ways to avoid pain and the finality of aging and death. Billions of dollars are spent on plastic surgery, nutritional supplements and alternative therapies that promise extended life and the visage of youth. Existential and humanistic psychologies teach us how to confront mortality and create life in the face of the void.
  • In this hustle and bustle world, many clients suffer from a lack of meaning in their lives. Humanistic psychology helps us understand how to help our clients discover meaning and purpose in work, relationships and everyday life.
  • As we become an ever-more diverse nation, issues of culture, politics, spirituality and divergent morals and beliefs come to the foreground. We need therapies that permit clients to explore values and meaning so that they can find peace with these issues and their place in the world.
  • While some therapies, such as the field of positive psychology, focus only on the search for happiness, humanistic psychology also includes exploration of the dark side of human experience. Given how many of us are plagued by ambivalent feelings and difficult choices, humanistic psychology offers a more well-rounded option and addresses the depths of the human condition.
  • Finally, Humanistic psychology is client-centered and empowers clients to live authentically and reach for their highest potential.



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