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How Rollo May And Carl Jung Contributed To The History Of Humanistic Psychology

History of Humanistic Psychology

Two of the many major contributors to humanistic psychology are Carl Jung and Rollo May. Carl Jung is definitely one of the most important, yet controversial, figures in psychology. Many see him as more than just a historical curiosity. He began working alongside Sigmund Freud during the founding of psychoanalysis, however he separated from Freud to begin his own school of psychology. (Jung) He made radical and significant contributions to all four of the major areas of psychology by creating his own school of Analytical Psychology. It is very clear that Jung’s work prepared all of the major themes of Humanistic Psychology, especially his concept of “Self”. He worked on active imagination and the consciousness as well as transpersonal psychology. (Jung) He developed a model of the human psyche, introverts, extroverts, as well as individuation. His major contributions have helped us understand the unconscious from literature he developed in his lifetime. (Jung)

The other major contributor to Humanistic Psychology is Rollo May, a distinguished existential psychotherapist as well as a cofounder of a Humanistic Psychology movement. (May) After graduating from Oberlin College in 1930 May began studying with Alfred Adler. He returned to the USA to work as a counselor at Michigan State University where he also studied theology. He completed his Ph.D thesis focusing on counseling psychology in 1939. His major contributions focused on oneself, including anxiety, human existence, freedom, as well as focusing on an individual’s subjective experience. May also proposed that “evil” in our culture may only be a reflection from ourselves. Thus representing that we as individuals have created our own culture from the lives that we experience. This led to the belief that man is not just good and turns evil, that we are a mix of good and evil with the freedom of choice to choose our own paths. May also pointed out with personality disorder like narcissism, we are unable to confront this “evil” in ourselves which may hinder us from growth. These contributions led a movement that stemmed from the idea today that we have choices we make in life, free will to do as we please, as long as we acknowledge that each action has a consequence. (Sketch)

Humanism is a psychological study that recognizes the influence of the entire person. Humanistic Psychologist look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving. (Schneider) Humanistic Psychology was developed as a rebellion of the limitations of behavioral psychology, this started around the 1950’s. This set up a whole new system of guidelines for the human condition as well as human nature. This also offered a variety of ranges that were included psychotherapy, which benefitted patients. Humanism places emphasis on each individual’s potential and the importance of self actualization of yourself as your grow. We as people continually search for ways to better ourselves and understand the world around us while we understands ourselves as well. (Schneider) This does not come without criticisms though, many beliefs that these concepts are far too vague. These critics argue that these ideas and experiences are extremely difficult to objectify, as each person’s experience can differ dramatically. Researchers believe that these experiences are also impossibly to verify, which leads them to believe that Humanistic Psychology may be unreliable. Others argue that this psychological field involves too much “common sense” which lacks the objectivity to contribute to the field of science. (Royce)

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