Why do humanistic pychologist criticize mainstream psychology?Why do humanistic pychologists criticize mainstream psychology?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Humanistic psychologists criticize mainstream psychologists because the latter uses categories and techniques that are not specific to the human race. For example, mainstream behavioral psychologists understand human behaviors as conditioned responses to outside stimuli (the most famous example of this is the "Pavlov's dogs" experiment, in which Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell). All species acquire conditioned responses to external stimuli, thus behavioral psychology does not address the unique ways in which our behavior is humanly constituted.
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly there are always going to be arguments between competing schools of thought in every discipline. Psychology offers us three principle ways of viewing this topic, as outlined in #3. Humanistic psychology emerges from a very different standpoint, focussing on how our actions and choices are determined by our identity and our life experiences. Other schools of thought downplay our integral identity and argue that it is largely other factors that determine our choices.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea is that mainstream psychology gives people excuses or crutches to lean on.  You can blame your childhood, your mother, a car accident or whatever.  Humanists believe that our experiences shape us, but do not control us.  We cannot make excuses for our behavior from our past, because we still make our own choices.  We are not just victims of our pasts.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Humanistic psychology believes that people think and make choices based on their own experiences and are less controlled by outside stimuli. It also looks at how our environment may influence our decision making process.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Humanistic psychology is considered the third force in psychology, and it represents a reaction against the other two paradigms (psychoanalysis and behaviorism). Humanists consider  that psychoanalysis reduces people to irrational human beings, controlled irrevocably by their past and its product - the subconscious. The criticisms against behaviorists are related to the fact that they treat people as passive beings and turns them into giant white mice or slower computers.