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Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy, also known as client-centred therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the inherent worth and potential of every human being. It is based on the belief that people have the capacity to grow, change, and achieve Self-actualization, which is the realization of one’s full potential. One of the goals of humanistic therapy is to help individuals achieve self-transcendence, which is the ability to go beyond one’s personal concerns and connect with something greater than oneself. self-transcendence can be seen as a spiritual journey of humanistic growth, where one becomes more aware of one’s values, purpose, and meaning in life. It can also enhance one’s wellbeing, happiness, and resilience.

Humanistic therapy can help individuals achieve self-transcendence by providing a safe and supportive environment where they can explore their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment or criticism. The therapist acts as a facilitator who listens empathically, reflects-back what the client says, and encourages the client to express their authentic self. The therapist also helps the client to develop mindfulness skills, which can increase their self-awareness and awareness of their environment. By engaging in humanistic therapy, individuals can learn to accept themselves as they are, recognize their strengths and abilities, and pursue their goals and aspirations.

How humanistic therapy can be used to achieve self-transcendence

A typical humanistic therapy session would be used to develop transcendence by helping the client to explore their inner world and their potential for growth. A humanistic therapist would provide a safe, empathetic, and authentic environment for the client to express their feelings and thoughts in the present moment, without judgment or interpretation. The therapist would also encourage the client to take responsibility for their actions and choices, and to find their own solutions to their problems. By doing so, the client would be able to increase their self-awareness, self-acceptance, and Self-actualization, and ultimately achieve transcendence.

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The typical stages of humanistic therapy for self-transcendence

A humanistic therapy session for transcendence may involve the following stages:

  • Establishing a therapeutic relationship: The therapist and the client work together to create a safe, supportive, and empathic environment where the client can share their feelings without fear of judgment. The therapist does not act as an authority figure, but as an equal partner who respects and values the client’s perspective.
  • Exploring the present moment: The therapist helps the client focus on their current thoughts, feelings, and experiences, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. The therapist uses techniques such as active listening, reflection, and clarification to help the client express themselves and understand their own emotions.
  • Identifying strengths and values: The therapist helps the client recognize their positive traits and abilities, as well as their personal values and goals. The therapist encourages the client to appreciate themselves as they are, and to use their strengths and values as a guide for their actions.
  • Developing self-awareness and self-acceptance: The therapist helps the client become more aware of their inner thoughts and feelings, and how they affect their behaviour and relationships. The therapist also helps the client accept themselves unconditionally, regardless of their flaws or mistakes. The therapist fosters a sense of congruence, or alignment, between the client’s inner self and outer self.
  • Finding meaning and purpose: The therapist helps the client explore what gives meaning and direction to their life, such as their passions, interests, beliefs, or values. The therapist also helps the client find ways to express their meaning and purpose through their actions, such as pursuing their goals, engaging in creative activities, or contributing to society.
  • Achieving transcendence: The therapist helps the client reach a state of transcendence, where they feel connected to themselves, others, and the world. The client experiences a sense of joy, peace, and fulfilment that goes beyond their physical existence. The client also feels free to express their true self and potential without any limitations or constraints.
Example use cases

Some examples of individuals who have used humanistic therapy for transcendence are:

  • Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who developed logotherapy, a form of humanistic therapy that helps people find meaning and purpose in life. Frankl used his own experience of suffering and resilience to inspire others to overcome adversity and discover their unique values and goals.
  • Abraham Maslow, a psychologist and founder of humanistic psychology who proposed the hierarchy of needs, a model that describes how people progress from basic physiological and safety needs to higher levels of psychological and Self-actualization needs. Maslow also coined the term “peak experiences“, which are moments of intense joy, wonder, and fulfilment that occur when people transcend their ordinary selves and feel connected to something larger.
  • Carl Rogers, a psychologist and pioneer of client-centred therapy, a form of humanistic therapy that emphasizes unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence between the therapist and the client. Rogers believed that every person has an innate tendency to grow and develop their true-self, which can be facilitated by a supportive and accepting therapeutic relationship. Rogers also explored the concept of “the fully functioning person”, which is someone who is open to experience, trusts their feelings, lives in the present, and is creative and flexible.
Further reading

Self-concept and how it relates to Rogers’ theory of human behaviour.

self-transcendence and life stories of humanistic growth among late-midlife adults

Humanistic Therapy | Psychology Today

Humanistic Therapy: A client-centered therapy to find yourself

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