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Working Humanistically as a UKAHPP Practitioner

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.

Equal Opportunities
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.

Humanistic Research
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.

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Working Humanistically as an Organisation

This statement on Humanistic Practice as an Organisation is based on UKAHPP’s Statement of Core Beliefs and the Codes of Ethical Principles and of Practice. It is intentionally addressing both UKAHPP members themselves and members of the public who would like to know more about how UKAHPP works humanistically. UKAHPP is an inclusive organisation, integrating a range of views from within humanistic practice. We seek the active involvement of the membership in running the organisation. All members of various committees, working parties and in other roles give their services and time without payment.

Core Beliefs and Practices
As an organisation, we aim to practise and demonstrate the organic processes parallel to those of a healthy human being. These include being able to hold complexity; knowing when to conserve and when to embrace change in order to thrive; having an awareness of our needs as an organisation; being self-examining as well as open to different perspectives and experiences; holding ourselves in ethical and spiritual good faith; being willing to actively adopt new practices where appropriate so that growth and development is enhanced, whilst honouring and maintaining what still works well. We aim to apply the same criteria of respect, empowerment, authenticity, etc. that we have for our clients to ourselves as members of an organisation and to others we interact with. These might be our own membership, other organisations, members of the public and society as a whole. In such interactions we acknowledge human uniqueness; a need to balance intellect, spirit, emotions and the reality of the body; individual and corporate autonomy and responsibility; and the existence and importance of human shortcomings and a shadow side.

Relationships and Responsibilities within the Organisation
Just as in counselling and psychotherapy the therapeutic relationship is the main agent of change, healthy, open and clear relationships within the organisation and with others are crucial to the well being of the organisation. In our relationships with other members, this requires us to have humility in responding to others’ offerings. We know that just as individual practice is determined by our own core beliefs, in our organisation we are interfacing with the core beliefs of others. We need to be open to hear and experience difference. We therefore see organisational relationships as incorporating a shared responsibility to view conflict and disagreement as a type of communication that takes many forms, including overt and covert aspects, all of which require compassionate and respectful handling. At different stages in any interchange, disagreement or conflict each of us will experience the need to lead, or to yield. Where an impasse or irresolvable dilemma arises within UKAHPP, the parties concerned may use the UKAHPP Ethical Review Procedure in order to seek a satisfactory solution within a humanistic process.

Equal Opportunities
In its dealings with potential and present members, other organisations and members of the public, UKAHPP as an organisation endeavours to practice the same principles of equal opportunities that its members apply as individual practitioners. UKAHPP aims not to discriminate or collude with discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, marital status, political belief, mental or physical handicap or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition or status. Recognising the significance of institutional prejudice and the capacity of any organisation to develop blind spots in their experience and thinking, UKAHPP is open to the possibility of criticism on such issues, and will arrange training and development where appropriate.

Humanistic Research
UKAHPP is an organisational member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and maintains informal links with other organisations such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Association for Humanistic Psychology in Britain (AHPB) and in so doing has access to new ideas and research in the field of humanistic therapies. UKAHPP also endeavours to maintain informal links with a range of other related organisations, via the personal connections of members, and is keen for members to share new experience and thinking. New research can be supported and disseminated via UKAHPP’s events and workshop programme, and in the journal Self and Society.

Ethics Committee – July 2003