Lifespan Human Development and “The Humanistic Perspective”: A Contribution Toward Inclusion

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Humanistic psychology has a long tradition of developmental thought. Yet, no place has been reserved for a specifically humanistic perspective in developmental psychology textbooks. This article presents a humanistic perspective to serve as a convenient guide for the potential creation of a textbook entry. A highly condensed account of Existential-Humanistic Self-Development Theory (EHSDT) is outlined and compared with the theories that most frequently garner coverage in developmental textbooks. Suggestions for further research on the major themes of EHSDT are also provided. These include the role of the imagination in shaping the trajectories of lifespan development, the intercorporeal and multicultural embeddedness of the narrative imagination, the self-cultivation process, cooperative culture creation, thriving amid paradox, and the ways in which motivational dynamics operate within diverse social contexts. Carefully planned rollout of such research should help prevent further marginalization of explicitly humanistic developmental theory on the basis that it challenges some of the fundamental assumptions of the established theories and, accordingly, tends to be met with resistance or, at best, indifference.

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