Humanistic and existential approaches have made a huge impact pertaining to behavior, changing the focus of psychological standpoints. It started off where the focus was centered on the cause of behaviors then altered to the individual itself. Both humanistic and existential approaches are centered on the present and future involving experiences rather than the experiences that have happened in the past causing the current mental state in individuals. The theoretical approach of humanistic and existential altered the focus pertaining to psychological standpoints. Once altered, it was no longer the cause of behavior that was the main focus anymore, it was the individual itself. The humanistic approach is person-centered. The focus in this approach deals with the whole individual followed by the interdependence of parts in individuals.
The existential approach, it is the present and future events pertaining to an individual that is focused on. The humanistic movement was a significant factor in restoring the image of the human person that was greatly reduced by behaviorism and strict psychoanalysis (Journal of psychology, 2005). The humanistic approach examines the individual as a whole individual in general. In this approach inner feelings and self concept play a huge role in behavior. The three things that humanistic approach focuses on are free will, conscious decision making, and the abilities and exploitation in humans. The humanistic approach, an individual will take complete advantage of opportunities when given and are open to exploring new ideas that are capable of enhancing their life. The existential approach is much more centered-person. This approach it is more about an individual knowing and accepting their own mortality. In the existential approach, more insight is gained into who an individual is by making free choices while developing a much better sense of being.
The humanistic approach and existential approach share familiar personality factors, but different ideas of what develop personalities. Both approaches believe that psychological health engage interpersonal relations, the presence or need of interpersonal relations, how one is treated within themselves, and how one performs in interpersonal relations. Situations affect individual’s behaviors and behaviors can affect situations. The humanistic approach believes that individuals are more capable moving toward his or her full potential. In regards to this individuals react to situations where it attributes to his or her self concept. The organismic self and the ideal self are two selves that compose self concept. Experiences occurring outside of an individual’s awareness is referred to organismic self. An individual being who they desire to be refers to the ideal self.
Individuals respond to situations with behavior that agrees with their own self concept. If one behaves in a way that is inconsistent with their self concept, incongruence, and a lack of psychological health will occur (Feist & Feist, 2009). While individuals respond to situations, there are three levels involved when doing so such as, ignored, accurately symbolized, and distorted. When an individual is not aware of the experience, the experience is ignored. Experiences become openly accepted when they are accurately symbolized and consistent with self concept. When experiences are unrelated with self concept it is distorted to absorb self concept. In doing so, anxiety is reduced from the situations happening. The existential approach is primarily focused on free will. This is when an individual has the free will to make any decision at any given time. Being able to exercise choices through free will, behavioral experience becomes the result. Intentionality allows individuals to make decisions pertaining to the future.
They are simply the intensions that individuals have when wanting to follow through something. Humanistic approach and existential approach both go astray from determinism. Both of these approaches believe that environmental factors are the cause and behavior is the affect causing individuals to have no control when it comes to behavior. The existential approach believes that anxiety plays a role by influencing behavior. When individuals feel that their existence may be destroyed they panic, losing control of their emotions and actions. In individuals the knowledge within themselves when it comes to existing, dictates realization thinking if one can exist they can also not exist. These are the concepts that control behavior in situations as individuals strive to maintain being in the world to keep psychological health. The results may be beneficial and instrumental to an individual’s development if they confront situations with normal anxiety. The characteristics pertaining to personality growth seen in the humanistic approach involve the organismic and ideal self of an individual.
When organismic and ideal self are brought together it represents an individuals self concept. It is through the humanistic approach that factors contribute a full functional individual meaning they have actually reached their self actualization. When being open to unfamiliar experiences while willing to work their way through them is the first characteristic in the humanistic approach. If an individual forbids new experiences, they are not able to reach their full potential because of holding themselves back. Existential living is the next characteristic. It focuses on the significance of being in the world. In regards to this if an individual is in tuned with their surroundings just as much as themselves, it becomes natural to appreciate life as it unfolds while ignoring preconceptions. It is imperative that individuals trust their own feelings and instincts, because it decreases any second guesses one may have.
Another characteristic is creativity. This is when individuals seek adjustment involving new experiences and the acceptance of new experiences. The last characteristic is a fulfilled life, which is how content an individual is with life itself. The personality characteristics in the existential approach involve phenomena occurring in an individual. In this approach, contents of consciousness, thoughts, images, events, memories, relationships, and more play a role when it comes to developing personalities. Existential approach also supports individuals moving toward self acceptance and self actualization, but the existential approach is more for awareness, being self aware, being present, and constantly having existence through phenomena. Interpersonal relationships are simply the way individuals interact with others. In the humanistic approach, it is imperative to have strong positive interpersonal relationships because it is healthy for psychological health.
It is unconditional positive regard that makes individuals accepting of others while remaining warm leaving behind evaluation and reservation. It is the complete acceptance without being possessive that makes other individuals feels comfortable allowing personal growth to happen. When an individual feels like they are understood and not being judged at the same time is empathy between others. Having empathy and unconditional positive regard leads to self actualization while achieving psychological health. The opposite of unconditional positive regard are conditions of worth. When relationships are focused on conditions of worth, self actualization is not reached because an individuals act in ways that are only accepted by others. In the existential approach, it is about separate being in the world. Individuals must accept separateness when it involves themselves. Interpersonal relationships play a role in the existential approach, but individuals must bring personal responsibility accepting who they are while finding meaning. Two concepts in the existential approach are love and will. When love and will is reunited, individuals are able to move forward while expressing care for other individuals.
A way to develop interpersonal relationships while increasing psychological health is an individual having authentic within themselves as well as others. When excluding the separation of subject and object, it gives authenticity to an individual’s life. When an individual is authentic they tend to strive for the truth pertaining to themselves and interpersonal relationships. The existential approach believes that individuals living an authentic lifestyle behaviors will be go well together with self concept. The humanistic approach and the existential approach, behaviors can not be predicted when individuals control their own free will. Characteristics play a role in personality making an individual who they are as a person. Interpersonal relationships are very imperative in regards to psychological health. Individuals have their own free will, and if it is used wisely one is able to reach self actualization.
Journal of Humanistic Psychology Spring 2005vol. 45 no. 2 204-21 Feist, J. & Feist,G.(2009). Theories of personality (7th ed). New York: Mc Graw Hill