Leaders of Humanistic Psychology
In contrast to the deterministic view of psychoanalysis, existential-humanistic approaches believe in free will, that individuals can create their existence and, if afforded the right circumstances, can recreate their existence--in other words, change. Most existential-humanistic approaches believe that there is an inborn tendency for individuals to fulfill their potential if they are afforded an environment conducive to growth. Such an environment generally includes empathy and a caring non-judgmental attitude.
Existential-humanistic approaches take a phenomenological perspective which stresses the subjective experience of the client. In addition, these approaches de-emphasize the role of the unconscious while consciousness and awareness are stressed. Existential-humanists believe that anxiety and other strong feelings are a natural part of living as well as messages about a person's existence. Every choice we make, including choosing not to choose, is a decision concerning our existence and is reflected in how we feel about ourselves and how we treat others. Therefore, existential-humanistic therapists do not try to "fix" or remediate one's feelings, but instead attempt to help clients make meaning out of their lives as they facilitate movement to what is often called "self-actualization." Such approaches often stress the importance of realness and the personal qualities of the professional as he or she faciliates client change.