Philosophical applications in psychotherapy

2 min read



Philosophy plays an important role in humanistic psychology by providing the theoretical framework for the field. If we look at the philosophical roots of humanistic psychology, it is mainly based on the philosophical concepts of phenomenology, existentialism, and humanism. These philosophical ideas form the basis of the field, with practitioners emphasizing the importance of understanding individuals' subjective experience and helping them find meaning and purpose in their lives while the emphasis clearly lies on the individual experience and the unique act of becoming (self-actualization).

Humanistic psychotherapists use philosophical principles to guide their practice and to inform their approach to understanding and helping the individual. Sharing the necessary information in a dialogue is called psychoeducation in this context. Further, no mystery is built around the therapy itself: Humanistic psychology thus informs how practitioners relate to their clients, stressing the importance of creating a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment for clients to explore their feelings and experiences.

It is also interesting to note the positive image of man borrowed from philosophical theory. Humanistic psychology views man as an autonomous and self-actualizing being capable of making conscious choices and striving for growth and development. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the individual, their unique experiences, and their subjective feelings and perspectives. Following Socrates and Rousseau or, in a roundabout way, Kant, one assumes here that man is good in itself, but that distortions can occur due to a lack of information or social conditions that are indispensable for man.

Another form of therapy, much more fundamentally concerned with the external conditions of human well-being, is liberation psychology. It is based on the idea that psychological problems are rooted in social and political oppression. It focuses on the idea that individuals must be liberated from oppressive forces in order to achieve psychological health.

This liberation requires conscious and critical awareness of the oppressive structures in society and the need to challenge and resist them. Liberation psychology heavily emphasizes the importance of understanding the individual's socio-cultural context in order to provide meaningful interventions. It is practically focused on the idea of empowerment, believing that individuals have the power to create change in their lives and communities.

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