Humanistic therapy: What is it and how does it work?

Therapy spelled with scrabbles. Photo by Marcel Strauss

Humanistic therapy: What is it and how does it work?

If you’re a mental health professional looking for high-quality therapy room rental in London, then look no further than Talking Health.

Providing a relaxing and therapeutic atmosphere with a subtle taste of luxury for both client and therapist, our unique rooms provide a reassuring and comfortable space that is simply perfect for humanistic therapy. This will help ensure the client feels truly valued at every session.

What is humanistic therapy?

So, what exactly is humanistic therapy? Put simply, humanistic therapy is a client-led form of talk therapy (psychotherapy) that focuses on an individual’s unique, intrinsic nature, as opposed to concentrating on a larger group of people who share similar personality traits, characteristics, and concerns. As the name indicates, it is a more humanistic approach to therapy than other, perhaps more conventional, methods.

As an umbrella term, humanistic therapy comes in many bespoke forms:

  • Person centred therapy
  • Gestalt
  • Existential therapy
  • Solution focused therapy
  • Transactional analysis

With humanistic therapy, the main focus is on the client’s personal responsibility, and their ability to understand concepts as a whole, concentrating primarily on their potential for personal growth and their positive character traits.

It does not, like some other forms of talk therapy, adopt a “blanket approach” in seeking a remedy. Each session is tailored specifically to recognise the client’s own behaviours in order to induce growth, happiness, and fulfilment, and ultimately bring about positive change.

Humanistic therapy is used in a wide range of scenarios in order to alleviate a plethora of personal conditions. For example, it can be used to treat people who are suffering from low self-esteem and who are struggling to find meaning or purpose in their lives as a result. Similarly, this therapeutic approach is also used in couples therapy, and can be applied to treat people with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, addiction, schizophrenia, and more.

Developed in the late 1950s, humanistic therapy therefore emerged as a more holistic approach to psychology and therapeutic remedies. It focuses primarily on the positive side of human nature, as opposed to the more conventional tactic of concentrating on environmental influences and negative past experiences when seeking to resolve any problems a client may have. It is, in essence, a symbiosis, wherein the client and counsellor have an equal relationship and mutual understanding.

Using a concept known as self-actualisation, at the core of humanistic therapy is the notion that every individual’s primary motivation is to fulfil their own needs. Recognising this intrinsic trait then enables an individual to locate the best solutions for themselves, which in turn enables them to enact positive changes in their lives.

Is humanistic therapy effective?

With mental health being such a complex area of psychology, it is important to consider whether or not humanistic therapy is the right approach for you.

In other words, its effectiveness depends entirely on what issues you seek to alleviate, and whether you are committed to implementing deeper and more holistic changes to your life. This is why it is so important to properly read up and research about humanistic therapy so that you have all the knowledge you need, which is what this guide seeks to provide.

Generally, however, humanistic therapy is a highly effective form of talk therapy due to the extremely wide range of circumstances it caters for, and he many issues it is able to resolve.

As this Forbes article notes, and as we have previously mentioned, humanistic therapy is a highly effective method of finding ways to work through depression, anxiety, various personality disorders, trauma, and self-destructive behaviours such as addiction, substance abuse and fear of rejection or abandonment.

But it doesn’t stop there. If you truly have the desire to explore more complex life issues such as anxiety about death, clarification about personal values, and other interpersonal issues, then humanistic therapy may be just right for you.

Similarly, due to its highly personal nature, humanistic therapy allows both the client and therapist to develop a highly collaborative, empathetic, genuine – and most importantly, transparent – relationship which plays a major role in remedying any of the issues the client is seeking to resolve.

In other words, by building a trusting relationship with your therapist with humanistic therapy, you can express yourself authentically with an understanding, personable therapist, so that they can see you for who you truly are.

What to expect at your first appointment

We understand that seeking therapy can be a daunting and scary process – but it doesn’t have to be, and it really isn’t, especially with humanistic therapy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Seeking therapy is the first step in recognising a problem and making a positive change to remedy it. It is something to be embraced.

At your first humanistic therapy appointment session, you can expect your therapist to encourage you to consider how you respond to day-to-day situations, by asking you to respond to a series of questions, which will allow you to become more self-aware. They may ask you about your hopes, dreams, goals, passions, and relationships, for example.

But before that, you and your therapist will get to know each other with an informal chat – and you can ask questions about them, too. You won’t be given a mental health assessment, and you won’t be asked to dive into the deep end and explain all of your problems – the first session will be informal, relaxed, and full of empathy and respect. The purpose of the first session will be to alleviate any of your anxieties, and to start to build the bond with your therapist.

Here at Talking Health, we provide the best and most therapeutic spaces for qualified councillors and therapists. We believe that both client and therapist should be valued, which is why our spaces are ideal for humanistic therapy essions. A humanistic therapist should be warm, empathetic, understanding, and non-judgemental, and our unique therapy rooms are ideal to accommodate this, whether you are a client or councillor.

So, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to find out more.

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