The Psychoanalytical approach has been used and is still being used to treat psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Therapeutic treatment used by a psychoanalyst involves the use of hypnosis, free association, and dream interpretation and regression therapy. Although psychotherapy is still very popular attempts to measure it’s effectiveness have been inconclusive.
The Application of the humanistic approach may be seen most clearly in the area of counselling. Counselling is a type of therapy that gives the client more control of the therapeutic situation. The counsellor is a facilitator who helps the clients to help themselves. Counselling may take place in a one to one setting or as group therapy and may be used for a variety of life problems e.g. relationship problems, addictions etc. The humanistic approach is also used in the workplace e.g. to motivate the workforce (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) or to give career guidance or counselling following redundancy. Although counselling is a growing area it is difficult to measure its effectiveness since there is no universally accepted definition of ‘success’ or ‘recovery’. Follow up of clients is also patchy so information is limited.
Humanism is directly concerned with the future of human life and civilisation. Human potential is far greater than current achievement. Each of us could live a better life.
With an approach to life based on humanity and reason, humanists recognise that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. We value the truth, and consider facts as well as feelings in reaching a judgement. Humanists reject the idea of any supernatural agency intervening to help or hinder us. Evidence shows that we have only one life; humanists grasp the opportunity to live it to the full.
We retain faith that people can and will continue to solve problems, and that quality of life can be improved and made more equitable. Humanists are positive, gaining inspiration from a rich natural world, our lives and culture.
Humanism encompasses atheists and agnostics, but it is an active philosophy far greater than these passive responses to one particular idea.
Formal humanist theory has developed from Eastern and Classical philosophers’ writings. It had particular expression during the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and in the scientific, social and political revolutions of the modern age.
Many people are tacit humanists, reaching similar conclusions without meeting like-minded people or reading particular texts, because these ideas are founded on knowledge, not beliefs.
Humanism defends knowledge and truth against attacks from relativism and post-modernism, and against the rising forces of irrationality and superstition.
Humanists think that:
* this world and this life are all we have;
* we should try to live full and happy lives ourselves and, as part of this, make it easier for other people to do the same;
* all situations and people deserve to be judged on their merits by standards of reason and humanity;
* individuality and social cooperation are equally important.