Humanistic, transpersonal and existential psychology


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   Humanistic psychology has a rich history and tradition of arguing for the human experience as the essence of understanding human behavior. This basis for understanding is divergent from the views in cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Based on your readings, what do you believe is the place of humanistic psychology as a movement within the discipline of psychology? Explain. What observations can you offer about the movement’s credibility among members of the psychological community? What has contributed to how humanistic psychology is perceived within the larger discipline? Explain.

What were the most significant theoretical understandings of the human condition identified by the humanistic movement of psychology in the United States? Who were the primary standard bearers of these theories? Why were these theories significant in the advancement of the humanistic movement?

1. The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice
Chapters 1 and 2.
Kriz, J., & Langle, A. (2012). A European perspective on the position papers. Psychotherapy, 49(4), 475–479.

2. A Reconceptualization of the Self in Humanistic Psychology: Heidegger, Foucault and the Sociocultural Turn
McDonald, M., & Wearing, S. (2013). A reconceptualization of the self in humanistic psychology: Heidegger, Foucault and the sociocultural turn. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 44(1), 37–59

3. Mindfulness at the Heart of Existential-Phenomenology and Humanistic Psychology: A Century of Contemplation and Elaboration
Felder, A. J., Aten, H. M., Neudeck, J. A., Shiomi-Chen, J., & Robbins, B. D. (2014). Mindfulness at the heart of existential-phenomenology and humanistic psychology: A century of contemplation and elaboration. Humanistic Psychologist, 42(1), 6–23.

What were the main tenets that leaders of the Humanistic Psychology Movement presented to the American Psychological Association in order to justify becoming its own Division? Why might these tenets have been chosen as significant to the justification of a separate division?

The First Old Saybrook Conference (1964) was a significant event in the history of psychology. Attendees such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and Gordon Allport represented several major schools of thought in the budding humanistic psychology movement. What did Maslow, Rogers, May, and Allport express as necessary components of the Humanistic Psychology Movement? In what ways did the schools of thought expressed by these conference attendees contribute to humanistic psychology’s place in America? Explain.

1. The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice
Chapters 5-8.

Humanistic psychology emphasizes the importance of the individual experience in the understanding of human behavior. Which theorists do you believe were most instrumental in establishing this tenet of the movement? Why?

It could be argued that to understand both death and afterlife presence, one must first be mindful of physical presence in the world. Briefly contrast a Christian worldview perspective on both mindfulness of physical presence in the world and afterlife presence with the perspective of another worldview on these topics. Which of these resonates most closely with you? Why?

2. The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice Read Chapters 35 and 42.

1. Spirituality: A Glowing and Useful Term in Search of a Meaning

Bregman, L. (2006). Spirituality: A glowing and useful term in search of a meaning. Omega, 53(1/2), 5–26.

2. The Psychology of Life Stories

McAdams, D. P. (2001). The psychology of life stories. Review of General Psychology, 5(2), 100–122.

Phenomenology is a qualitative approach to understanding the lived experience of the individual. Consider who you understand to be the primary contributors to phenomenological psychology (as opposed to philosophy). What do you see as the primary differences and similarities among those theorists? Explain. What do you believe are the most significant challenges and benefits of employing a phenomenological approach in psychological research? Explain.

Quantitative research methods in psychology are based on the research methods used in the natural sciences disciplines to produce empirical research. Dr. Amedeo Giorgi, the founder of the descriptive phenomenological psychology method, asserts that this qualitative method can be used to arrive at empirical results related to understanding human experience. How does Dr. Giorgi’s method compare to quantitative research methodologies? Explain. From your vantage point, does his approach to qualitative research yield empirical evidence in understanding the human condition? Why or why not?


1. The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice

Read Chapters 19 and 20.

1. Phenomenology

Flipp, C. (2014, February 12). Phenomenology [Video].

2. Qualitative Analysis of Interview Data: A Step-By-Step Guide


Lofgren, K. (2013, May 19). Qualitative analysis of interview data: A step-by-step guide [Video].

1. A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated

Groenewald, T. (2004). A phenomenological research design illustrated. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1), 1-26.

2. The Interview: Data Collection in Descriptive Phenomenological Human Scientific Research

Englander, M. (2012). The interview: Data collection in descriptive phenomenological human scientific research. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 43(1), 13–35.