Dr. James T. Hansen is a Professor in the Department of Counseling and has been at Oakland University since 1995. His book, Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Counseling Issues recently received the Joe and Lucille Hollis Publications Award from the Association for Humanistic Counseling. The Hollis award was established in 1985 to recognize leadership and expertise in publishing in the counseling field that is relevant to the humanistic philosophy in counseling.
What does this award mean to you?
I am humbled and honored to have received this award. It is a wonderful recognition and a validation of the importance of humanistic perspectives in the helping professions.
Tell us a little bit about the topic of your book?
This book explores and presents current counseling issues from a humanistic perspective, providing a valuable resource for counselors and therapists seeking effective approaches, founded on humanistic principles, to use in their practice. Each chapter describes the significance of a specific counseling issue, reviews the humanistic literature on this issue, discusses the theoretical model provided by a humanistic perspective, and concludes with applications and implications for practitioners. Situations considered include, among others, marital/couples counseling, multicultural counseling, and healing trauma, all of which have been shown to benefit from the use of humanistic approaches. Applications in educational settings, such as
addressing school violence, working with at-risk youth, and counseling in college and university settings, are also discussed. The book concludes with a section on uses of humanistic approaches in counselor education and training.
What do you think is the most important information/message in it?
I think that the most important information/message in the book is that humanistic perspectives have broad applicability and can be used by counselors to help people with a wide variety of psychological and relational problems.
What compelled you to write it?
The importance and influence of humanistic perspectives has generally been minimized in contemporary mental health culture. This is ironic because humanistic approaches have strong empirical validation. Furthermore, humanism has not been sufficiently credited for its tremendous influence on modern orientations to treatment. Therefore, I felt compelled to participate in a project that would highlight the broad applicability of humanistic approaches and highlight the ways in which humanism has had a strong influence on contemporary approaches to counseling.
While you were writing it, were there any interesting experiences or things you discovered?
Before engaging in this book project, I knew that humanistic approaches had broad applicability. However, as the book was being developed, even I was surprised by the multiple psychological and relational problems to which humanistic approaches could be applied.
What kinds of reactions have you gotten from your book?
I have received universally positive reactions about the book. Professors, practitioners, and students have told me that the book has helped them to apply humanistic principles to a wide range of problems that clients bring to counselors.
What are you hoping this book will accomplish?
Ideally, I hope that the book will help to re-establish humanism as a vital treatment orientation in contemporary mental health culture.