Academic journal article Journal of Humanistic Counseling

Further Extending the Humanistic Vision for the Future of Counseling: A Response to Hansen

Academic journal article Journal of Humanistic Counseling

Further Extending the Humanistic Vision for the Future of Counseling: A Response to Hansen

Article excerpt

This article offers additional support for Hansen's (2012) position that humanism and a renewed respect for human complexity are essential to counseling. In the article, the author also speaks to the critical importance of continuing to ground the profession in art and science. Implications for the future of humanism and counseling are presented.

Keywords: humanism, counseling, art, science, diversity


Consistent with his previous work, Hansen (2012) offers a timely and thought-provoking analysis of the past and present of humanism as well as recommendations for the future of counseling. It is with great respect and appreciation for Hansen's work as well as our shared commitments to humanistic counseling and counseling as a profession that I offer the following response.

In this article, I offer support for Hansen's overall position that humanism has provided a foundational framework for the present and future of professional counseling. Second, I counter Hansen's position that the counseling profession has and ideally ought to be grounded solely in the humanities. In so doing, I provide evidence that humanism was founded as both an art and a science (Maslow, 1968; Rogers, 1951) and discuss some of the ways that this dual foundation is consistent with ethical (e.g., American Counseling Association [ACA], 2005, C.6.e.) and effective practice in counseling. Third and last, I provide a further extension of Hansen's vision for the future of counseling, a vision that encompasses renewed respect for human complexity, multiple perspectives, and the optimal development of human potential. It is my hope that this extension of Hansen's vision will ensure the continued growth and relevance of professional counseling and related humanistically oriented fields.


As Hansen points out, numerous people and movements have been credited with the founding of counseling as a profession. Although Frank Parsons and early advocates for educational and career development are often credited with influencing the foundation of the diverse field of counseling (Brown & Trusty, 2005), historically, theoretically, and practically, Sigmund Freud and colleagues' psychoanalytic/psychodynamic theory is more often considered the first force in counseling and psychology. B. F. Skinner and colleagues' behaviorism, having developed later, which is similarly referred to as the second force (Ivey, D'Andrea, & Ivey, 2011), also influenced counseling and related fields. Yet, as Hansen (2012) notes, professional counseling is founded on humanism, the third force in counseling and psychology. This section provides additional context for understanding the historical, theoretical, and empirical association between humanism and counseling.

Like its antecedents, humanistic counseling developed in a historical and sociopolitical context that is continuing to evolve. Furthermore, according to Rogers (1951), humanism and humanistic counseling and psychology did not reject but rather built on and expanded the theoretical and empirical contributions made by their predecessors, providing a deep foundation for current practice and future growth.

Humanistically oriented counselors consider people's strengths and possibilities, recognizing that all people have the capacity to develop, to grow, to heal, and to maximize their own potential, that is, to "actualize" (Raskin & Rogers, 1995, p. 128). Overall, humanists are interested in normal and optimal functioning as well as people's phenomenological subjective experience (Kirschenbaum, 2007). Humanistic counseling, then, is a holistic approach that emphasizes healthy human development, human strengths and wellness, and understanding people in their environmental contexts (Lundin, 1996). Using a variety of creative approaches centered on the counselor's attitude toward the client (Rogers, 1951), humanistically oriented counselors partner with clients, often attending to Rogers's (1957) "necessary and sufficient conditions" (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.