Humanists  Psychology intro

Humanism is concerned with human growth and individuality. 


It was started by Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) .  It is in opposition to behaviorism and Freudianism and neuroscience.


It is different from neuroscience in that humans posit an actualizing tendency.


We are not machines without a puropose.  We have a purpose, biology has a purpose and that is growth.  We are on this planet, evolution is fostered by a vital energy within which tells us to grow.


Humans inherently tend to maintain itself and to strive for “growth and fulfillment” or “actualization”

This would be to actualize your potential.  To grow into all that you can be.


It is different from Freudianism in that it doesn’t deal with pessimistic.   It doesn’t deal with problems.  A main reason that humanism started was that Maslow found psychology too glum.  Freud was always dealing with peoples problems and never with their health.  He was always diving into what was wrong.  This was not a way through what was wrong to Maslow.


It also differs from Freudianism in that it sees man as great.  It doesn’t see him as full of sex and aggression but good healthy impulses.


It is different from Cognitivism in that it deals more with your feelings.

Cognitivism is what is rationally right and wrong.  And posits that your thoughts can change you feelings. 

This is more freudian in that it wants to deal with feelings first.  But good feelings and enjoyable feelings.


It is different from Behaviorism   in that it sees every human is a unique and special event.


If thrown in the mud, one person will scream for joy, another will turn up their nose but endure embarassment, the other will be angry.  We are all unique humans.


We people do this differently.  One persons greatest potential they can actualize is to be  a family person.  Another is to be a singer. 


People don’t become doctors by accidentor due to stimulus (as Behaviorists say), they determine and dream and grow into doctors.



In 1954 Maslow came to the conclusion that all psychology was too glumb.

He came up with a theory of needs for fully functioning adults.

The five needs are in order of importance.  Once one is achieved people naturally strive up to the next.


1) Pysiological needs

Basic bodily requirements: food and drink; health;  It is apparent that a healthy biological system is needed to help you reach your potential.  People that don’t have enough food are stunted and/or have brain damage.


2) Safety Needs. 

Security; freedom from harm;  order and stability


3) Belongingness and Love Needs

Love within a family and among friends; roots within a community. 


4) Esteem Needs

Material succes; achievemenet; power, status and recognition by others.

competence, approval recognition.


5) Self actualization Needs

Fulfillment in realizing one’s potential.

“Be all that you can be”  One that is actualized to this potential is really jazzed about life and what they are doing and has no gripes or tentiones about it. The artist or scientist who loves their work to death.

Someone who is actualized is mature, evolved developed, fully functioning, graceful.  Not stunted or bitter or crippled emotionally or akward.


overall analysis

until you’ve mastered one level you cannot go up to the next.

You cannot go onto the final one unless you have self esteem.

Many people are always striving for belongingness and cannot individuate.

Human beings behave badly only when their lower needs are frustrated.


Notice that the bottom ones are what the freudian needs are.  But he adds the fifth and highest dimention to a human.


Freud said people create because their lower needs are blocked; Maslow, because they are met.


Characteristics of actualized persons

They are realistically oriented, accepted themselves and others, were spontaneous, cared more about the problems they were working on than about themselves, had intimate relationships with a few people rather than superficial relationships with many, and had democratic values.


An actualized person listens to their own voice; they take responsibility; they are honest and they work hard.  They find out who they are and what they are, not only in terms of their mission in life (they usually have them) but in terms of when their ffeet hurt and whether they want to trash their lives with drugs or not or whether they like what the crowd does.


Aperson that is fully functioning is what they dream.   I do believe if you are what you perceive what comes is better than what came before.  They do not make do.

Because of this they are real with their feelings.  They do not have to fight them all the time. 


 They are good at what they do because they like it.  And they  have full self-esteem.  This means that they have options.  If they feel like changing , they can and do feel their feelings and then change.


And the person who is like this, is doing what they really want, has no negativity towards others and has attracts folks that are the same way.


One special attributes is that they are more likely to have “Peak experiences”: than other people.  Peak experiences are profound and deeply felt moments in a person’s life, in which there is a “feeling of great ecstasy and awe    with the conviction that something extrememly important  and valuable had happened.


We have a lot of people who do things they love in High School.  People play instruments.  Find out how many play an instrument in 4 years.  They go down the triangle.  They get all about the physiological or safety needs.


Remind everyone of plato’s eternal forms.

Identify Plato’s perfect forms with God.  This is used because of no other shorthand.  Suggest eternal truth to people.

Problem of evil


First what of the problem of evil on earth.

Imio Deo

Here tell of Plotinus. 

Show  how the universe had to unfold to be perfect.  It has the descending order.  This is like the Yahweh tetragrammaton. 


Tell of the different levels of emmenation.

So, There is the perfect still universe, then there is division into the finite and the eternal truth then there is the limited god, then there is us.  We are to reflect this back up.  This makes the world complete.



We are not just push you pull me behaviorists machines. 

We are not just neuroscience machines.  Machines differ from us in consciousness, but also in that we have reasons. 

The cognitivists point out with the necker cube, that we are pattern recognizers. 

We seek to put order to the chaos of stimulus that bombards us.

But more than that we need a reason to live, meaning for our lives. 

And there is no one meaning of life, it is different for individuals.

Yours may be to save the planet, mine may be taking care of my family.

But we need to be able to answer the question of why we get out of the bed in the morning.


There is a part of the brain, neuroscience gives us new perspectives on all, that is really weak in depressed people.

And the number one thing that this is correlated with is no meaning.

Depressed people have no meaning.  No reason to do anything.

The opposite, is mania.  In mania, people have to much in the way of meaning. 

They see big plans in everything.  There is a



Not to something small, but something big.  Not your sister or family.

Not that hurts another loyalty.


This gives you four things.

            1 - meaning 2 - greatness3 - immortality 4 - community



We looked at neuroscience.  That showed that you are a bit of a machine.  You have your basic emotions etc wired up at certain rates.


Social psychology showed that you are part of a social situation.

loyalty allows you to integrate the two.  You plug this “you” into a situation and they  are harmonious.

This is health.

Social and Maslow


as a society we have for the first time in history gotten the lower needs taken care of.  Our physiological needs etc are needed.

And what do we do now? 

We spend alot of time looking at sports (a form of loyalty)

and watching tv.


The Problem’s origin

If we contrast healthy smiling gurgling babies and the masses rotting on a freeway we get an incling of this.  The question is then “what happened?”


Rogers heard person after person say “I feel I am not being my real self”;  “I wouldn’t want anyone to know the real me”; “I wonder who I am.”  He found that to “become my real self” was one of the most common goals of therapy.


the root of the problem is conditional positive regard

For better or for worse, we also have a great need to gain love and affection.  There is need for positive regard from others.    The need for positive regard is natural. 


This gives parentsgreat influence on you. 


Initially you are changeable and sometimes are happy sometimes insecure sometimes aggressive and so on. 


You may only get conditional regard.  Perhaps when you  are loud they withhold positive regard or scold you. 


Later, school church , society and peers condition their approval on  your likes and dislikes.


Peers tell you if you do __ we’ll like you. 


two results of conditional positve regard

a - The person is not genuine this means integrated or whole.  You don’t know why you are alive.  You have no meaning except to do what others want. 



You get angry and instead of expressing it you wonder what others will think and don’t express it.  You are cut off from your real self.


Certain self experiences are accepted, whereas others are denied or distored.  You live in fear.


Then you limit your spectrum.  Aggressive, crying etc get stopped.  you get to see yourself as one who does or doesn’t take actions, makes or doesn’t make decisions.  You then start to value what others value.  You learn to ignore your own likes and dislikes.  You start to ignore your own positive regard for yourself and worry about what others value.


If boys cry or hug eachother they don’t get positive regard.  They therefore change to get that reward.  Girls dont play with trucks or build things.  You don’t play with chemistry sets, you play with chemistry sets for approval.


The person no longer even knows what they want.

You are estranged from your own inner desires.  You get a limited limited


If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life.




All as a means to an end. The end being spiritual appreciation.  This spirituality is to man as man is to animal.  An awareness of and celebration of ones’ existence in the moment.  THis feeling justifies itself very tautalogically. 


There is a spectrum of existence: pondering: pain: joy” concentration.  Negative circumstances are salved by and positive ones reinforced by joy.


Of course, in extreme joy, work is avoided .  The danger being here, social colapse.


Whch one is sustainable. Pain will kill you.  Is joy self regenerating?  Does it require (or is it nourished by change or situation)?  Foir most it is dependent on money.  I think to sit in joy for a long time would be boring.  THought is cumulative.  Joy isn’t.  Is the thought just a means to a “hmnnn” experience.  a (knowledge puffs us, love lifts up).


Is the measure the feeling’ the depth of perception’ the world outcome?


Might knowledge that makes you miserable be of benefit?  In which cases?


Is it preferable to be happy and ignorant?  Don’t underestimate the depth that human ignorance naturally aspires to here.


CCertainly , you’d want to be informed in practical instances.  This “of course” based on the theory that the environment must affect you.  The measure of the feeling needn’t be an either/or.  Knowledge with joy is better.  The question, again, is is knowledge superflluous?  or does it serve another end.  Knowledge can affect your disposition and life plan. It can also lead me to discipline or hedonism.  Again discipline v. hedonism is the question via a telescope (discipline=thought, joy=appreciation)  Work hard play hard makes life memorable. What of work hard work hard or play hard, play hard.


What of the merits (fruits) of play?  Back to joy.  Would it be satisfying?  What is it to be satisfied?  The cessation of desire?  Satisfied must mean you’ve fulfilled some criteria you’be set.  What would be the basis of the criteria?  Might they be  cumulative to another and another goal?  Would not a life long goal beat many short term ones?  This goal should include society. No?


August asks:


obviously, gods love is higher than this world.  Shoud you enjoy others?  Only to the extent that they remind you of the ultimate (that being god)



They are not actualizing themselves and or feeling what they really are. 

This creates a natural dissatisfaction.  This is because actualizing yourself is natural.  Living and just existing and not growing is not natural.


Later, school church , society and peers condition their approval on  your likes and dislikes.


Peers tell you if you do __ we’ll like you. 


b - The person has low self esteem.

This is because they intuitively know they are not what they should be.

Once low self esteem kicks in a person has less options.


You can no longer imagine that you want to be a fireperson that likes poetry.  Or you think its not a possibility.    I could never travel (and you supply a milion reasons).  Then you go back to wondering why you are not fulfilled.



If one has lots of them...

If he loses a little no biggie.

If someone has none, they have no will to try.  Don’t make me go to school.

The classroom scenario, with Abe lincolns quote scenario

Playing poker with no chips you might be conservative, you might be reckless.


The person has lost touch with what they want and the value of their life.  to the point where they don’t know whether they want to trash their lives with drugs or not or whether they like what the crowd does.



self knowledge is your shield and compass for not being a slave  


Mental Disorders as a Failure of Personal Growth

In every baby there is a will or striving towards health and an actualizing of its potentials.  they are wonderful curious creatures.  By adulthood they are sitting in freeways and “getting by”  Experientially empty and living by clocks, rules, calendars and other’s priorities.


 And that continues as an adult towards being actualized.  It is sad that in our affluent society where people get their lower needs met, so few ascend to the higher ones.


We have a that is the best that can be expected attititude.  We rely on pollsters to tell us what is normal and then settle for it.  But normalcy is a kind of sickness or stunting.


It is a fact that people need food for an empty belly.  But most don’t consider that it is also necessary for a man to live in beauty rather than ugliness. 


In fact, claims Maslow, these meta needs are the meaning of life for most peole.  But many folks don’t even recognize that they have these meta needs. 


READ PG S 308-309 From the Maslow Book.  The Farther reaches of human nature.

copy 10 positive feelings and the results of their frustration


Have you heard of a mid life crisis?  This is when a person wakes up at 50 and decides that they’ve never done what they’d wanted.


At this point your own values are totally buried.  You are then going against the natural human tendancey to grow.


Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

Client centered therapy

The one all pervasive - permanent contribution of humanists is that they got rid of the word patient and replaced it with client.  The person isn’t sick, their an unactualized but functioning (under the circumstances) person.


Rather than look at problems as permanent bad things that need to be erradicated, he likes to see them as healthy attempts at health.  Some cowardly, but a striving.


client-centered therapy is called such because it focuses on the thoughts, abilities and cleverness of the client rather than those of the therapist. 


You don’t approach the client to make an interpretation or an analysis.  You value them, not your theory.


The client NOT THE THERAPIST, figures out what is wrong!  This is a big difference from Fruedianism.  The client knows the problem and the solution and hasn’t accessed it yet.


The therapist is not an analyst/detective trying to figure things out that the client doesn’t know.

The therapist is a sounding board, a compassionate and professional one.

The therapists opinion is not so important.  Its how the analysis sounds to the client.


three keys to client centered therapy

1 - Unconditional positive regard

You must accept and value the client and all that he says.


When the person comes to therapy they are unhappy and don’t know why. 

The cure is unconditional positive regard.  The child and the client need this. 


to tell them what they need is to again devalue their experience. 

If they are angry let them be angry and respect it.


They find out who they are and what they are, and to do this the therapist must creat a client centered space.


You have to listen to and accept everything the client has to say without judging it.  You repeat back the person’s commments to them so they can hear them.  At the same time you accept and value the comments.


If they say they did something wrong.  You emphasize the positive.  “I stole something”  I guess then that you went against your own values.


This creates a safe place where they can accept themselves and their own ideas.


2 - active listening

You have to understand what the client feels.  This is shown by reflecting back to the person what they just said.


“my mother is a horrible mean witch”

“I guess you’re feeling a lot of anger towards her now”.


In practice this ends up being very mr. Rogers and parroting.


Particularly, you want to be able to repeat new or painful insights to them.

They may, when they feel that they aren’t being judged say things that they normally wouldn’t say.


But its really good. 

The person knows the therapist is listening (not freudianesquely creating their own theories). 

It helps the client clarify their own feelings.

It offers the client a chance to correct the therapist who might be misinterpreting the client.


3 - Genuine empathy

The client will know if you are faking it.  You must really care for people. 

sometimes this involves sharing your own feelings.    That makes me angry and I have to tell you because I care. 


This highlights something Mr. Rogers said.  Client centered therapy is often done best by a friend.  You don’t really need to be a pro.  Its a person listening to you and loving you undonditionally.  Sometimes a professional is not the best person for this.


PG. 664 and 665 from Peter Gray’s psych textbook


what do I need to see in a portrayal of humanism?


para #1 - problem

para #2 - active listening (can be lead with tenative statements)

para #3 - empathy

para #4 - awareness from the client NOT THE THERAPIST!!!


FROm now on bring all of your notes!!!


Ill Will


WORKING WITH unwanted emotions - ANGER


1)  Remember a disturbing situation in your life. Some hassle or fight you had with someone at school.    Was it all them or did you want to look right?  Did you have an attachment to praise or an aversion to blame.  Did you try to protect the I?  That doesnt’

Reflecting on your own experience examine if anger is destructive or useful


1) Am I happy when I’m angry?

2) Do I communicate with others effectively when I’m angry?

3) How do I act when I’m angry?  What is the effect of my actions on others?

4) Later, when I’m calm do I feel good about what I did and said?  Or is there a sense of shame and remorse?

5)  How do I appear in the other’s eyes when I’m angry?  Does anger promote mutual respect, harmony and friendship? Anger then wants to harm the source of the unhappiness


Anger can arise towards people, objects or our own suffering (when we’re sick).  It arises due to exaggerating the negative qualities of a person,  object or situation,

or by superimposing negative qualities that aren’t there. 


Are you really always good.  Have you never done something that could make you hated, or as bad as what they’be done?  Imagine that person doing something nice.  Do you think that they ever do good?  Perhaps they are nice to their mother.





Equalibrium meditation page 91-


Imagine in the space in front of you three people:  Someone you like, someone you dislike and someone you feel indifferent to.


First focus on your friend.  Allow your feelings for him or her to arise.  Feel your conviction that this person is definitely a friend.  That is a person who is good to you and satisfies your needs.  Feel that you want this person to be happy.  Immerse yourself in your good feelings.


Now turn to your enemy, someone not kind to you who doesn’t satisfy your needs.  Someone who annoys you and makes you angry; who hurst you .  Look carefully at this man or woman



Consider how nice it would be, for yourself (whether possible or not) if you were able to love the person you hate.  Consider that everyone wants to be happy and to avoid suffering just as you do.  That person is trying to make the best of their life.  Even if they are violent or nasty.  


Imagine the pain in their minds.  All the crap that they have to deal with.  Do you imagine that they are happy with themselves.  Are they happy within?  Perhaps this is due to bad thinking on their part.  But you don’t need to get caught up in it.  Now think if maybe you could generate a little compassion for this person as you realize that they have their own pain to deal with. 


Now think of a bad situation you’be had with this person.  Usuallyu we look at a situationfrom the point of view of our own needs and interests and believe how the situation appears to us is how it objectively exists.


Now put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask, “what are the other person’s) needs and interests?”  See how the situation apears in the eyes of him/her.


Try to think of some way that you could make them come out of the situation happy.  Maybe this would entail a sacrifice of your “I” that demands revenge and to save face.  Perhaps it might even involve saying that you were a little bit wrong.  And that they weren’t 100% to blame.  Perhaps they still are angry at you. 


Now generate a feeling of love in your heart.  You can do this by thinking of someone you love and letting your natural good feelings for this person arise.   Now imagine a way that.


Patience is the ability to remain undisturbed when confronting harm or suffering.  Being patient does not mean being passive.  Rather it gives the clarity of mind to act or not to act.


Final class is totally silent.


Purifying process


1) regret, not guilt

2) take refuge by generating compations

3) do something with good meditation.

4) if we remember our pain we can have compassion and stop the cycle of pain.





Modern Adaptation - The artists way

Maslow would ask his students “which of you hopes to write the great american novel?  Or be senator or president?  A great composer Who wants to be a saint? “  People blush and giggle.  He asks “If not you who else?”  What secret desires of greatness and fulfillment do you have?



The book the artists way gets people in touch with their dreams.  The author describes how  when people get back in touch with their long buried aspirations after many years they are angry or cry and cry or despair of their hope.


You have to get back in touch with what you do and don’t like.  Not what you should like.  You DO LIKE.  You have your own supreme court inside of you.  Listen to it.


People are not born table rasa, but with different likes and dislikes.