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Advance Application of Humanistic Approach in Psychotherapy with CHCP

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Humanistic approach emerged as the ‘Third Force’ in Psychology, breaking the clutches of Determinism and advocating for the first time, free will of individuals in determining their life. As a therapeutic modality, it emerged as a profoundly transformative and client-centered approach that places individuals at the heart of their own growth and self-discovery.

Rooted in the belief that each person possesses the innate potential for personal development and self-actualization, the humanistic approach embraces the uniqueness and complexities of human experiences. By embracing concepts like self-actualization, unconditional positive regard, and client-centeredness, the humanistic approach sets the stage for a transformative and holistic approach to psychotherapy.

Humanistic Approach in Psychotherapy

Given the potential that it has, the Humanistic approach in psychotherapy led to emergence of several therapeutic practices and techniques based on its basic tenets. One such coaching and therapy framework that takes inspiration from the Humanistic approach are Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching® (CHC) and Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy® (CHP).

CHCP is an eclectic framework that uses hypnosis as a foundation to seamlessly integrate the best of Cognitive, Behavioural, Psychodynamic and Humanistic approaches and integrates them seamlessly into an effective Coaching and Psychotherapy framework.

In this article, we’ll examine what are the basic tenets of Humanistic approach and how CHCP incorporates them within its framework. Then, we’ll understand the limitations of Humanistic approach. And finally, we’ll understand how CHCP overcomes these limitations.

Humanistic Approach in Psychotherapy and CHCP

At its core, the Humanistic approach advocates for the creation of an empathetic and supportive therapeutic environment, where clients can safely express their emotions, gain self-awareness, and embark on a journey of profound self-discovery and personal growth.

Let us now delve into its basic tenets that form the bedrock of this transformative therapeutic perspective, and how CHCP integrates them within its framework.

1. Client-Centered

The humanistic approach in psychotherapy is client-centered, i.e. it prioritizes individual’s unique experiences, feelings, and perspectives. It adopts a non-directive approach wherein the therapist does not impose their opinions or solutions but instead guide clients in discovering their own insights and solutions.

It respects the personal agency of clients and their free will in determining their path and course of actions. It emphasizes the individual’s responsibility for their choices and actions, promoting autonomy and accountability in personal growth.

Client-Centered approach in CHCP

The entire framework of the Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching and Psychotherapy (CHCP) revolves around the client. The SOFTSEA framework is designed in a manner that it helps the client clearly define their problem, the overarching goals that they wish to accomplish through the coaching and/or therapy sessions as well as the tasks that they need to accomplish these goals.

Further, SOFTSEA framework also helps the client and the coach/therapist to explore all the possible hindrances that the client is likely to face in their effort to accomplish those goals– whether they are self-limiting thoughts, unpleasant emotions or lack of certain life skills.

Each of these hindrances is dealt with the help of specific techniques from the CHCP toolkit. However, the outcomes are still dictated by the client. Let us understand this with an example.

Illustration 1: How clients direct the coaching/ therapeutic outcomes in CHCP

Suppose a client A, who is preparing for CAT exams, comes with the issue of procrastination. The coach/therapist uses the SOFTSEA framework to first identify the current state (problem statement) and the goal state (outcome statement and future description). For Client A, consider the following-

Problem statement:

I feel overwhelmed about the enormity of my courses’ syllabus when I look at my bookshelf.

Outcome statement:

I wish I am able to study well and I secure admission in IIM Ahmadabad.


I wake up at 6 am in the morning in IIM Ahmadabad’s hostel and I realize that my dream to crack CAT exam and secure admission in IIM Ahmadabad has come true for me….


Then, instead of giving solutions or advice to the client on what they can do to beat procrastination and study better, the coach/therapist encourages the client to come up with their own solutions in the form of a task list, which will help the client accomplish their goals. For client A, the task list could look something like this-

  • Study for 8 hours, 5 days a week
    • Study session 1: 6 am-8 am
    • Study session 2: 12 pm-2 pm
    • Study session 3: 4 pm-6 pm
    • Study session 4: 9 pm-11 pm
  • Test on 6th day and self-analysis of the mock test
  • Sleep for 6 hours between 11:30 pm to 5:30 am And so .

While the coach/therapist may have their own ideas about what the client should do, but coach/therapist does not offer advice on their own. In case the coach/therapist feels that some of the tasks are unrealistic, then they can do an ecology check with the client to ensure that the tasks are doable given the client’s unique circumstances.

Identifying and Managing Hindrances:

Further, the techniques that are used in CHCP to deal with the hindrances that the client faces, all of them are client-centered in nature. For example, suppose Client A is well- prepared but feels that they will get nervous during the actual exam and it may affect their performance.

In such a case, the coach/therapist may use Anchoring, wherein the coach/therapist builds an association between an emotion (which the client wants to experience) and the trigger situation (the time or place where they want to feel it).

From a range of emotions that can help the client overcome their nervousness, the coach/therapist asks the client to tell them what emotion they think will help them perform better. Suppose the client says “confidence”, the coach/therapist anchors confidence with the exam situation.

If the client had said “calm”, then the coach/therapist would anchor calmness. Similarly, all other techniques are driven by client’s needs and experiences.

2. Self-Actualization and Exploration of Meaning in Life

Self-actualization represents the innate drive within individuals to fulfill their highest potential and lead a purposeful life. It involves not only realizing one’s potential but also seeking a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment in life.

Moreover, in the humanistic approach, a holistic perspective is embraced, recognizing that individuals are complex beings with interconnected dimensions of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual collection of isolated problems, aspects.

Therapists view clients as whole persons rather than a and they consider the interplay between different aspects of the individual’s life. By addressing all dimensions of a person’s being, the humanistic approach aims to promote balance, well-being, and self-actualization.

The search for meaning in life is viewed as a fundamental aspect of human nature, and it is given considerable importance within the humanistic framework. Humanistic therapists often work with clients to explore their values, beliefs, and aspirations, encouraging them to align their actions and choices with what give their lives purpose and significance.

Self-Actualization & Meaning in Life in CHCP

While CHCP does not specifically use the term “self-actualization” in its approach, yet the whole CHCP framework aims to help the client achieve their highest potential. In the SOFTSEA framework , the client is encouraged to describe in detail the future that they want to live, covering all aspects of life- physical health, mental and emotional health, career, family & relationships, spirituality, etc.

This detailed description gives the coach/therapist an insight into the “Ideal Self” of the client; and ensures that by working through their issues, the client will be able to fulfill most of their needs and experience Self-Actualization through fulfillment.

Illustration 2: How CHCP helps client experience Self Actualization (their highest potential)

For Client A with the issue of procrastination against his desire to crack CAT exam, within the SOFTSEA framework, when the client writes their Future (check Illustration 1 for reference), the client describes all areas of life.

Coaches/therapists often use the “Wheel of Life” (demonstrated below) to prompt the clients to think about how they want ach of the given area of life to look like.

By doing this, the coach/therapist ensures that all needs of the client will addressed in subsequent sessions, helping the client experience Self-Actualized state. Each week, the client chooses 3 tasks that will help the client come closer from their present state to the ideal state that they have crafted in their Desired Future.

The role of the coach/therapist comes in when the client is stuck in some task. Here, the coach/therapist assesses the nature of hindrance and uses appropriate techniques to help the client overcome the hindrance.

Further, if a client lacks clarity about the meaning of their life and the purpose of life that they want themselves to devote to, the CHCP offers tools like Metaphors (particularly Revelation Metaphor and Insight Metaphor) to help the clients explore the potential meaning that they wish to accord to their lives.

Illustration 3: Revelation Metaphor in CHCP and Meaning in Life

A Client with a well-established business and a fairly decent family life came with the issue of feeling lost and hopeless about their life. A CHCP-trained therapist conducted the process of revelation metaphor with the client, which helped the client find clarity about how they wanted to live their life moving ahead and what legacy they wish to leave behind.

The process involves visualizing any neutral scenery (like a garden, beach, etc.) where each element of the scenery metaphorically represents different elements of the client’s life. When the client explores the scenery, they understand what each element means to them and what insights do they hold for them.

In the above case, one of the elements that the client saw visualized was a banyan tree. For them it represented spirituality. Looking at the banyan tree, they realized for themselves that perhaps it’s time for them to delve into the realms of spirituality.

[There were other elements too, each of which gave clues to the client on how to proceed in life.]

Moreover, for clients experiencing a sense of void in their lives, despite having lived a reasonable fulfilling life, CHCP offers techniques like Void Management that helps clients experience a sense of completion and profoundness.

Further, there are techniques in CHCP like Levels of Transformation which involves helping the client connect with the Divine Source (or God, Oneness, Universe, etc- as per the client’s beliefs). This experience in itself is often so profound and moving that clients often report feeling ecstatic or having a “peak experience”.

Thus, with a wide repertoire of tools and techniques within in its framework, CHCP helps the client realize their actualizing tendencies.

3. Unconditional Positive Regard

Therapists offer non-judgmental acceptance and support, creating a safe and empathetic space for clients to explore their feelings and thoughts. Humanistic Approach in Psychotherapy encourages emotional expression and self-awareness, allowing individuals to explore and understand their feelings. The therapeutic relationship is a central factor in facilitating change and growth, with trust and empathy playing key roles.

Unconditional Positive Regard in CHCP

The client-centered approach in CHCP mandates that the coach/therapist offers non-judgmental acceptance and support to the clients. No thought is nasty and no emotion is off-limits when it comes to CHCP.

CHCP-trained coaches and therapists work with a wide range of issues that individuals deal with, some of which may traditionally be considered taboo. But the success of the coaching/ therapy sessions lies in the success with which the coach/therapist is able to offer a safe and empathetic space to the client.

Moreover, CHCP framework also incorporates techniques like Matching & Mirroring and Pacing & Leading, which helps create a rapport between the client and the coach/ therapist. A strong rapport builds a foundation for the client to be able to trust their coach/ therapist.

Additionally, the CHCP framework even allows the client to work with their coach/ therapist even without revealing all the details of the problems that they are dealing with. This is possible because the processes of CHCP are designed in a manner that the client is in the driving seat, while the role of the coach/ therapist is to guide the client in steering through the process.

This allows the client to be in full control of their personal thoughts and memories. The client is free to choose how much they wish to share. And yet, the coach/ therapist can deliver results without compromising on the quality of the therapeutic work. This way the client is able to trust the coach/ therapist even more.

Illustration 4: Demonstration of CHCP process conducted without the client revealing many details about their Past

A Client came with the issue of betrayal trauma. They had informed the therapist that the client has to meet the betrayer once or twice a year in family gatherings, and every time that the client sees them they feel intense anger and shame.

This has led them to avoid social gatherings where they expect to meet the betrayer. However, the client did not wish to share any more details about the past event, since talking about the past made them re- live the bitter experience.

The therapist chose to do a Hypnotic version of Hypno-drama to resolve the issue. In this process, the therapist asked the client to visualize the concerned person and express anything that they wanted to say to this person. This allowed the client to vent out.

While the client visualized the interaction taking place and vented out, the therapist was unaware of the actual conversation taking place. Yet, the process allowed the client to release all their pent up thoughts and emotions. The therapist used other processes to compliment the work done in this session.

4. Present-Focused


The humanistic perspective places a strong emphasis on the present moment, valuing the here and now as the key to understanding and addressing an individual’s experiences.

While it recognizes that the past and future are interconnected with the present, yet it emphasizes on the immediate experiences of the individual. This fosters self-awareness and empowers individuals to make positive changes in their lives.

Present-Focus in CHCP

CHCP framework is designed to help the clients deal with the problems that they are facing in “here and now”. Apart from few processes for specific purposes, the CHCP does not delve into the past to try and understand the origins of the client’s issue. This is done to avoid two things-

  1. By delving into the past, we either end up blaming others for our problems.
    Example: why do I feel sad? Because I don’t like my career. Why do I not like my career? Because I never enjoyed this field of work. Why did I choose to work in this field if I don’t enjoy it? Because my parents wanted me to make a career in this field.
    In this example, parents become the culprit. The issue with this is that once we assign someone else the responsibility for our issues, we also lose the power to do anything about it.
  2. Or, by delving into the past, we end up into an endless loop of self-criticism.
    Why do I feel sad? Because my marriage is failing? Why is my marriage failing? Because my partner doesn’t love me. Why does my partner not love me? Because I am unlovable. Why am I unlovable? Because I nag a lot. Why do I nag a lot? Because I try to micromanage. Why do I micromanage? Because I am a perfectionist. Why am I a perfectionist?
    Again, this loop of self-criticism does not allow the client the agency to work through their problem, instead makes them feel worthless and helpless.

Thus, the approach that CHCP follows avoids going into the past unless a specific issue warrants such an exploration. Even when such an exploration is undertaken, it is done with the goal of relieving the client of the symptoms that they are dealing with in the present.

Through the above discussion, it can be noted how CHCP incorporates the basic tenets of Humanistic Approach within its framework. However, Humanistic approach also has some limitations. But, the CHCP framework is designed in such a manner that it overcomes these limitations as well. Let us see how this happens.

Limitations of Humanistic Approach and How CHCP overcomes these Limitations

The Humanistic Approach, while valuable in fostering personal growth and self-awareness, does come with certain limitations. However, the Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching and Psychotherapy (CHCP) framework is specifically designed to address and overcome these challenges. Let us explore how CHCP addresses each of these limitations, ensuring a comprehensive and empowering therapeutic experience for clients.

1. Lack of Structure

The humanistic approach is often criticized for its relatively unstructured nature, which can lead to a lack of clear guidelines for therapeutic interventions. The unstructured and non-directive approach of Humanistic Approach when dealing with specific issues or goals often makes the process time-intensive and prone to attrition and drop out by clients.

How CHCP overcomes this Limitation

CHCP incorporates the SOFTSEA framework which is highly structured while still being client- centered. It gives a natural flow to the therapeutic session and covers every aspect of the therapeutic/coaching process.

SOFTSEA stands for-

  1. Situation- wherein client describes the present challenge that they are currently The specific format used here helps the coach/therapist identify the specific emotion/mental state, the thought and/or behaviour and the particular trigger points when their issues manifest.
  2. Outcome- client describes the particular outcome(s) that they are looking for through the sessions. This sets the goals of the therapy/coaching.
  3. Future- client elaborates on the desired outcome(s) in detail covering every aspect of their In essence, this step captures the “Ideal Self” of the client and helps in elaboration of the therapy/coaching goals.
  4. Task List/Trigger List- for a coaching case, the client gives a list of tasks that they need to accomplish to in order to make their future a reality for them. For a Therapy case, the client gives a list of triggers that elicits the problem behaviour/ emotion/ thought. The coach/ therapist works with the client to help them accomplish each of these tasks/ associate more adaptive thought/ emotion/ behaviour with the given
  5. Suggestion- Here the client identifies one highly empowering thought or suggestion that, once accepted by the client, will empower them to take the desired actions with intrinsic motivation.
  6. Evaluation- Weekly, the coach/therapist and the client co-evaluates the progress made. If any challenges are faced, the concerned session is dedicated in helping the client deal with the
  7. Assignment- At the end of every session, the client identifies 3 things that they to do from their task This becomes homework for the client.

Notice how SOFTSEA framework lends structure to the sessions while keeping the client at the center of the process.

2. Ignores the Unconscious

The humanistic approach to therapy places significant emphasis on conscious thoughts, emotions, and experiences while relatively overlooking the role of the unconscious mind. Ignoring the unconscious can limit the therapist’s understanding of underlying issues, leaving certain unresolved patterns unexplored.

By neglecting the unconscious, the humanistic approach may overlook certain positive intentions or secondary benefits that the client may be unconsciously deriving from engaging in the problematic patterns of thoughts, emotions and actions.

How CHCP overcomes this Limitation

CHCH approach accommodates for the potential role of unconscious in both- sustaining problematic behaviours, as well as its role in potentially overcoming the challenges.

Tools like n-step Reframing, Inner Child, Regression, etc. help in dealing with clients’ unconscious motivations (or positive motivations) and unconscious triggers of their current challenges.

For example, a client may be experiencing stage fright because of a past unconscious memory of being ridiculed by a stranger. So by causing the fright, the unconscious may be trying to protect the client from humiliation of a possible ridicule by the audience. Through the above mentioned processes, CHCP helps in overcoming such unconscious factors.

Moreover, in the CHCP approach, it is believed that the role of the unconscious is not only negative, but it can also play a positive role of helping the client heal and achieve their goals. The unconscious is thought to be a part of us that is very intelligent and resourceful.

That implies that the unconscious might be holding some insights and wisdom that the client can use for their healing and progress. Tools like Insight Metaphor, Inner Advisor help in uncovering such insights and wisdom.

Unconscious being a Driver implies that the unconscious helps us drive the required changes for our healing and progress. By integrating hypnosis in the change processes, CHCP uses the power of the unconscious to drive the transformation.

3. Limited Applicability to Specific Mental Disorders

While this approach has provided valuable insights into understanding the human experience, it is essential to recognize that its applicability may be somewhat limited when it comes to addressing severe mental disorders. Treatment of specific Disorders often requires assistance from other therapeutic modalities, apart from Humanistic approach, for comprehensive resolution of the challenges.

How CHCP overcomes this Limitation

Being an eclectic approach, CHCP borrows tools and techniques from other therapeutic modalities to overcome this limitation of the Humanistic approach. For example, CHCP has a specific technique called “Fast Phobia cure” which helps the therapist in resolving phobia in just one session! Similarly, CHCP offers tools and techniques for other syndromes including psychosomatic pains and aches, obsessions and compulsions, etc, apart from anxiety and depression.

4. Time-Intensive

The change-journey that the Humanistic Approach offers is characterized by its inherently time-intensive nature, standing in contrast to more structured and time-bound approaches. The duration of purely humanistic approach-based therapies can vary widely depending on factors such as the client’s needs, goals, progress, and the therapist’s approach.

Since humanistic therapies, like Person-Centered Therapy, emphasize personal growth and self-exploration, they often involve an open-ended approach that allows clients to explore their feelings, thoughts, and experiences at their own pace.

As a result, the duration of such therapies may extend over several months to a year or more. This often leads to attrition (fatigue) on part of clients. Thus, it risks higher drop outs.

How CHCP overcomes this Limitation

Being structured and methodical in its approach, CHCP offers short-duration coaching/therapy solutions for most challenges. Most cases conclude within 8 ± 2 sessions. And the client often begins to notice results after the 3rd or 4th session itself. This leads to higher motivation for coaching/therapy compliance, low attrition and low drop outs.

CHCP: Amalgamation of the Approaches

In this article, we examined how CHCP draws from the best that the Humanistic Approach has to offer and overcomes its weaknesses by supplementing it from other modalities as well. This eclectic orientation of CHCP makes it one of the most comprehensive therapeutic and coaching tool kits today.

Thousands of coaches and practitioners have shown their trust in CHCP. You may refer to the case studies to read and observe the power of CHCP in action. So when are you beginning your CHCP journey?