Knowledge Base of Psychology
Occupational Therapy in relation to Humanistic Psychology
The History of Humanistic Psychology
Two people that are widely considered to have helped establish this humanistic approach are psychologists, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. In 1951, Carl Rogers published a book called Client-Centered Therapy, which described his humanistic, client-directed approach to therapy. Roger's believed believed that people could fulfill their potential growth if they had a positive self regard , or a positive view of themselves (Psychlotron). In order to attain this positive self regard, a person must have the unconditional self regard of others, or the feeling that they are valued and respected without reservation by those around them. In simpler test, in order for a person to having any feeling of self worth they must first feel the approval and respect of the people around them. The most common problem with this, in Roger's eyes, was that most people don't see the positive regard of others as being unconditional; they feel that they will only be truly loved if they meet certain conditions of worth (behaving well, getting good grades, etc). No matter they do, it isn't good enough and until they are able to overcome this mindset they will not be able to reach their fullest potential. During Roger's client-directed approach, he had his clients be supported with unconditional positive self regard in therapy and hopes that it would create..
During the late 1950's, Abraham Maslow and other psychologists met to discuss the development that would take a more humanistic approach to psychology. They took into consideration factors such as self-actualization, creativity and individuality. This lead to the eventual establishment of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology in 1961. A year later, Maslow published Toward a Psychology of Being, in which he described humanistic psychology as the "third force" in psychology (the first and second force being behaviorism and psychoanalysis). In comparison to Rogers, who believed that people needed unconditional positive self regard, Maslow held the view that people have a variety of needs that differ in immediacy and which need satisfying at different times (Psycholotron). He arranged these needs in a pyramidal hierarchy starting with the more basic needs such as breathing, food, sleep, sex, water, etc. A person is not able to fulfill their fullest potential until all of their needs are satisfied, a rare and remarkable accomplishment.
Picture below: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (picture from Psychology.about.com)
Occupational Therapy and Humanistic Psychology
Occupational therapy's emergence can be far as far back as the 18th century Europe, a time when mentally ill people were treated like prisoners. A more "moral treatment" began to evolve, which encouraged kindness and the therapeutic value of engagement in purposeful activities as opposed to punishment, brutality and idleness. Working with a patient with a mental health condition requires a variety of different assessments in which as much information should be obtained. The end result is the occupational profile, which is then used for goal-setting and treatment planning (Psychcentral). Some common areas of assessment include:
- ADL's (bathing, dressing, eating)
- Instrumental activities of daily living (driving, money management, shopping)
- Social Participation
- Motor processing skills
- Mental and cognitive processing skills
- Communication and interaction skills
- Habits, roles and routines
- Client factors (difficulties due to body structure or functions)
- Occupational self-assessment
As you can see, a wide range of different factors are considered when assessing a patient. Similar to humanistic psychology, there is a holistic view about each individual simply because everyone is unique and different in one way or another.
Ahpweb.org (2013). What is Humanistic Psychology? The Association for Humanistic Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.ahpweb.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=8:humanistic-psychology-overview
Aota.org (2014). About Occupational Therapy: What is Occupational Therapy? Retrieved from http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy.aspx
Jackman, Monica (2013). Occupational Therapy and Mental Health. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/occupational-therapy-and-mental-health/00014717
Sammons, Aldan. The Humanistic Apprach: The Basics. Approaches to Psychology.
Video 1: O'Dowd, Kelly (2010). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmtmxYbDhKA