Applying Humanistic Principles Requires a Goal-Oriented Mind-Set

Article excerpt

I commonly hear graduate students in my classes comment that it is difficult for them to understand how humanistic principles may be used to guide their goal-oriented work with clients. I believe that my students and like-minded readers will find the articles contained in this current issue of The Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development to be particularly helpful. In addition to being united by a common humanistic philosophy of helping, these articles also share a common theme related to effectively implementing this philosophy in practice.

In many approaches to counseling associated with humanism, the primary objective is the establishment of a facilitative therapeutic relationship. In an article particularly relevant to this objective, Wheeler and D'Andrea share their recommendations for teaching students the counseling skill of immediacy. They provide sample dialogues as concrete examples of how immediacy can be used to enhance helper genuineness, and they acknowledge that immediacy requires courage on the part of the helper. Second, Norman and Ganser discuss how humanistic principles may be used effectively in teacher training programs to improve the interpersonal dynamics between mentors and mentees. In "Empathy: Implications of Three Ways of Knowing in Counseling," Clark provides a useful instructional service by expanding upon the usual conceptions of how a counselor empathizes with the subjective experiences of a client.

On a different note, Duys and Hobson's article is intended to help counselors understand how self-esteem evolves in children. In much the same way, intrapersonal dynamics are the focus of Griffith's article,

which describes the characteristics of internal working models contributing to client wellness. Both articles characterize growth as a natural internal process that can be facilitated by counselors and educators. The challenge is for practitioners to rise to the challenge of adopting these sophisticated models of healthy psychosocial development that have significant implications for counseling practice. …