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The future of humanistic psychology : autonomy, relatedness and competence

McArthur, Katherine and Cooper, Mick (2017) The future of humanistic psychology : autonomy, relatedness and competence. In: Humanistic Psychology. Routledge, New York. ISBN 9781138698864

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The world has changed dramatically since the 1940s when Carl Rogers developed the client-centred approach to therapy: a key moment in the development of humanistic psychology. Psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are working within multiple worldwide crises across economic, ecological and psychological spheres (Hawkins and Shohet (2012, p.9), quoting Gilding’s (2011) book title, refer to this as the ‘great disruption’ to life as we know it). For humanistic psychology and, indeed, any helping profession, to meet the challenges of the modern world it must evolve and adapt, continually improving its theory and practice. In this chapter, we will discuss the ways in which humanistic psychology can grow and adapt through actualising its potential in three key areas: autonomy, relatedness and competence. These are three fundamental human needs highlighted by self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), which is itself a key theoretical development in humanistic psychology. By thinking about these as three areas for growth in the humanistic approach itself, we explore potential directions for the future of the approach.