Humanistic Perspective




Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



The Humanistic perspective offers a very positive viewpoint of human nature and potential. Emphasizing the personal worth of each individual, this perspective suggests that we are each responsible for our own happiness and well-being as humans. We have the innate capacity for self-actualization which is our unique desire to achieve our highest potential as people.

Where did such a positive perspective originate? One of the origins of the humanistic perspective is the philosophy of existentialism. In simple terms, existentialism is concerned with defining the meaning of human existence. Without getting too complicated, "existentialism is about life. Existentialists believe in living -- and in fighting for life. Camus, Sartre, and even Nietzsche were involved in various wars because they believed passionately in fighting for the survival of their nations and peoples. The politics of existentialists varies, but each seeks the most individual freedom for people within a society" (

Humanistic theorists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow are likewise concerned with the striving of the human spirit to seek meaning and self-fulfillment. Your textbook describes how Carl Rogers believed that humans are largely positive creatures who during the course of their lives move toward becoming fully functioning people. Such a person lives life to the fullest, is rooted in the here and now and trusts his/her own feelings. Rogers felt that while people are innately driven to be fully functioning, there are obstacles preventing them from achieving this objective.


Read more about what Rogers meant when he used the term fully functioning person.

Respond to the following questions:

1. What did Carl Rogers view as the obstacles preventing us from becoming fully functioning people?

2. On a more personal note, how can you tackle some of the obstacles in your own life so that you can achieve your full potential from a humanistic standpoint?

OK, you have now completed part 1 and are ready to begin part 2!