“Humanistic” Psychologists

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Having successfully initiated the petition for the establishment of the Division of Humanistic Psychology within APA, I was intrigued by Michael Wertheimer's (see record 1979-22531-001) conclusion that the use of the label humanistic to differentiate this type of psychology from all the rest is unnecessary-particularly since I have arrived at a similar conclusion myself. Outside the APA, many of those who are currently calling themselves “humanistic psychologists” are not really psychologists at all; and the movement seems to be primarily made up of hucksters, charlatans, and perennial therapy shoppers eager to sample the latest far-out techniques--along with a few diehard members of the counterculture left over from the 1960s who are still trying to learn how to be bigger and better hippies. Within APA itself, what is frequently perceived as ideological discrimination is primarily the result of a lack of sufficient intellectual rigor. This in turn has led to the development of a cultic, “us-versus-them” attitude that tends to confuse eccentricity with creativity and to substitute in-group loyalty for the pursuit of excellence. Whatever the situation may have been in the past, humanistic psychology, like Gestalt psychology, may certainly be included in the mainstream of psychological thought today. Henceforth, I shall be happy to think of myself as merely a psychologist, without any identifying ideological label. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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