Humanistic counselling and psychotherapy emphasise human uniqueness; a holistic need to balance intellect, spirit, emotions and the body, individual autonomy and responsibility, fundamental innocence and the importance of the shadow side (unlived, unacknowledged human potential which is not necessarily dark).

Humanistic practitioners also believe that the therapeutic relationship is the main agent of change. Humanistic therapists see the therapeutic relationship as one of shared responsibility and view unconscious processes such as transference and counter-transference as a valuable dimension of communication that takes many forms, including body language and non-verbal communication, and does not necessarily imply pathological aspects.

There are several sources of humanistic psychology, including the phenomenological tradition, the existential tradition, self-actualisation, abundance motivation, the person-centred approach, body-oriented approaches, group dynamics, peak experiences, eastern philosophy and transpersonal perspectives.

Being humanistic is a way of life, in that it includes being committed to one’s work and having an awareness of competence, limitations and contextual awareness of social, political and cultural concerns.

Wellspring acknowledges the Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners for this material which has been modified for our specific use.