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Human Potential Movement (HPM)

Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxviii ] An umbrella term covering a wide range of groups whose beliefs and practices are designed to promote ‘wholeness’, ‘self-awareness’, ‘self-development’ or ‘self-realization’ for the enlightened individual. Some of the groups claim to help the individual discover ‘the God within’, giving rise to the term ‘self-religions’ [4: v ]. While there is some overlap with the N ew ag movement, the HPM is more concerned to look inside the self by using psychotherapy (in its very broadest sense) to develop people's potential. Individuals are ‘guided’ or encouraged to work things out for themselves, rather than being educated by an expert. Among the better-known methods, therapies and techniques are Bioenergetics, Biosynthesis, Co-counselling, Encounter groups, est (Erhard Seminar Training, now known as the Forum), Gestalt therapy, Guided Fantasy, Humanistic Psychology, LRT (Loving Relationship Training), Primal Therapy, Psychodrama, Rebirthing, Psychosynthesis and Transactional Analysis. The Esalen Institute in California is one of the most successful centres of the HPM, but there is no official organization uniting the different approaches, some of which can be very expensive [53: 45–68, 223–40]. Some of the techniques are used by Christian clergy, in prisons and hospitals and for training in a number of socially respectable institutions, with an increasing number of big business ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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