Readings: Humanistic – Existential

Wedding & Corsini: Ch. 8

Rogers, C. R. (2007).


Rollo May, Ph.D., On Existential Psychotherapy (Links to an external site.)
Carl Rogers, Ph.D., On Person Centered Therapy (Links to an external site.)
Carl Rogers Ph.D., And the Person Centered Approach (Links to an external site.)

Discussion post:

What are the core elements of Humanistic Psychology? What are the core elements of    Existential psychology and psychotherapies?

How do they compare?

abys post she responded to the main post

Humanistic Existential Psychotherapies, according to Wedding and Corsini, derived from the Greek philosopher, Epicurus. Epicurus believed that concerns of death were disguised manifestations. He constructed multiple arguments to help the alleviation of death anxiety, one of these arguments was that the soul was mortal and dies with the body. This brings people to the conclusion that since there is no afterlife, there is nothing to fear (Wedding & Corsini, 2014).

Although Epicurus had connections to existentialism, French philosophers, Jean Paul Sartre and Gabriel Marcel, developed existentialism in the 1940s. A colleague with connections to Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Binswanger, was the first to combine existentialism and psychotherapy. Skip to 1988, the United Kingdom created a Society for Existential Analysis was formed (Wedding & Corsini, 2014).

Currently, existential psychotherapy concerns itself not about techniques, but about human beings themselves. Psychotherapists who are existentially oriented would read philosophy and literature to further their knowledge (Wedding & Corsini, 2014). Circling back to death, current existential therapists look at rediscovering the living person while modern people are being dehumanized in culture. In order to achieve this, their focus is less on the symptoms the patient is experiencing and more on how a client can be more aware (Wedding & Corsini, 2014).

Humanism stresses the importance of human factors instead of religious, divine, or spiritual matters. Humanism is rooted in the idea that the human alone has the responsibility to live a fulfilling life that contributes to the great good of mankind (Cherry, 2020). Although not expressing them as essential goals, wellness and fairness are informed core values of humanistic psychology (Duff, 2016). Humanistic Psychology emphasizes looking at the whole person. Concepts that are stressed are free will, self-actualization, and self-efficacy. Behind Humanistic Psychology, thinkers believe that psychoanalysis and behaviorism focused too much on pessimism and tragedy (Cherry, 2020).


Carl Rogers, Ph.D., On Person Centered Therapy

Carl Rogers Ph.D., and the Person Centered Approach

Duff, J., Rubenstein, C., & Prilleltensky, I. (2016). Wellness and fairness: Two core values for humanistic psychology. The Humanistic Psychologist, 44(2), 127–141. (Links to an external site.)

Rogers, C. R. (2007). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 44(3), 240-248. doi:10.1037/0033-3204.44.3.240.

Rollo May, Ph.D., On Existential Psychotherapy

Wedding, D. & Corsini, R. (2014). Current psychotherapies (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.

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