This statement on Humanistic Practice as a Practitioner includes a range of views which reflect a respect for and tolerance of diversity. An UKAHPP Practitioner bases their practice on UKAHPP’s Statement of Core Beliefs and the Codes of Ethical Principles and of Practice. These provide detailed guidelines for Humanistic Practice.
Core Beliefs and Practices
We apply the same criteria of respect, empowerment, authenticity, etc. that we have for our clients, to ourselves personally and professionally. We believe in human uniqueness; a holistic need to balance intellect, spirit, emotions and the body; individual autonomy and responsibility; fundamental innocence; and the importance of a shadow side. We believe that in counselling and psychotherapy the therapeutic relationship is the main agent of change that the practitioner has any influence on, so who we are is crucial to the well-being of our clients. We see the therapeutic relationship as one of shared responsibility and view transference and counter-transference as a valuable form of communication that takes many forms, including body language and non-verbal communication, and does not necessarily imply pathological aspects.
Sources of Humanistic Psychology
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.
Self-awareness and Accountability of Practitioners
Being humanistic is a way of life, in being committed to one’s work and having an awareness of competence, limitations, contextual awareness of social and political concerns and of counter transferential issues. This necessitates maintaining one’s authenticity and having and using a support network that includes supervision and personal and professional development. Although any person can foster self awareness in another, it requires having humility in relation to others’ offerings; knowing we do not have the answers but are fellow searchers; being devoted to self vigilance; being willing to experience vulnerability and uncertainty.
Humanistic practitioners aim to work within a framework that both recognises and values human differences, whether of ethnicity, sexual orientation and identity, religious and spiritual belief, culture, class, age, levels of ability/disability, etc. We accept that we may lack direct experience of many such differences and accordingly recognise our own capacity for prejudice, as a result of blind spots in our knowledge, thinking, beliefs and behaviours. We aim to counteract these through the use of relevant supervision, attending courses, reading and where possible personal interactions with others from across the whole human spectrum. We are aware that structural inequalities and discrimination exist in society and its institutions and impact particularly on the lives of people from marginalised groups. We believe that as practitioners we need to hold in mind this reality and consider carefully how we address it in our work. We recognise the value of and have a commitment to building a client base that reflects social diversity, as far as possible. We are willing to be challenged and to accept the necessity for change in our practice as and when necessary, with the aim of constantly growing in competence. Such self-development applies to us as persons in the world as well as our being practitioners. We accept that such development is a life-long task. We seek to know our own limitations and carefully consider not taking on clients whose issues evoke our unresolved prejudice, or make requirements outside our growing experience.
Quantitative research methods are of doubtful value in relation to understanding people and their relationships. More appropriate are the methods of qualitative research, which include ways of doing research with people rather than on people.
Participation as a Member of UKAHPP
UKAHPP as an organisation is dependent upon the voluntary participation of members in the work of its various committees and sub-groups. Accordingly members are expected to contribute to these tasks by offering their services from time to time.