A cultural history of the humanistic psychology movement in America


A cultural history of the humanistic psychology movement in America

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Title: A cultural history of the humanistic psychology movement in America
Author: Grogan, Jessica Lynn, 1976-
Abstract: The humanistic psychology movement, formally established in 1962, sought to address broad questions of individual identity, expression, meaning and growth that had been largely neglected by post-war American cultural institutions in general and by the discipline of psychology in particular. By proposing a definition of mental health that went beyond the simple absence of illness, and by critiquing the American desire to reductively quantify even the nature of human existence, humanistic psychologists, including founders Abraham Maslow, Gordon Allport, Rollo May and Carl Rogers, offered a holistic, growth-driven theory of the self. They also attempted to formulate scientific methods that would be capable of adequately treating, rather than abstracting away, the complexity and subjectivity of the individual. Humanistic psychologists drew on the work of William James, and on the synthetic approach to the self and psyche that he described as "radical empiricism," in an attempt to build upon dominant American psychological movements, namely psychoanalysis and behaviorism, which they perceived to have provided valuable, though incomplete, insights into human psychology. In crafting humanistic methods, they also incorporated western European philosophies of holism, including phenomenology, existentialism and Gestalt. The movement they established produced enduring change in American psychology and American culture, though, for the most part, not in the ways the founders had envisioned. In the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s, humanistic psychology provided much of the vocabulary, and many of the techniques, of the human potential movement, of women's liberation groups, and of psychedelic users. It also laid the foundation for the person-centered approaches that developed in psychotherapy, social work, pastoral counseling, and academic psychology
Department: American Studies
Subject: Humanistic psychology United States--Social life and customs--20th century
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/3855
Date: 2008-05

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