Rankings aren’t flawless, definite,most of the time. I am speaking about one: “the most influential psychologists”, …in my view, it all depends on his...moreRankings aren’t flawless, definite,most of the time. I am speaking about one: “the most influential psychologists”, …in my view, it all depends on history, on knowledge, and… updating.
In the case of W. James, he’s been placed in the 6th position; well below B.F Skinner (those conditioned pigeons spying on WWII,who doesn't recall?) …and Jean Piaget (mostly famous for his precocious studies on zoology and his own children's cognitive development...). In my mind he’s not that far from them.
At once, he’s a man of science, a philosopher and metaphysics-man, an artist. And these letters trace in a very intimate way the evolution of these roles. He’s well known for these concepts of “stream of consciousness”, Pragmatism, radical empiricism, and the description of our inner architecture: the “I” and the “me”.
“My system is Tychistic, pluralistic…a philosophy of pure experience”. James rejected monism; he was influenced by Renouvier.
He was born American (1842), but he became a truly transatlantic academician. The US owes a lot to his infancy and teen-years training. On the metal, the endurance and flowering of the genius-scientist side: Europe gets her due share.
Of his childhood I retain this extraordinary talent: he was always drawing, witnessed his brother Henry. He had the artistic insight.
But “influential” contains also “being influenced”. At home, surely his father’s figure; a Swedenborg admirer. Abroad, while in Brazil (Thayer expedition) , that remarkable figure called Agassiz, the Swiss zoologist, who taught him: “go to nature, see for yourself”. The importance of facts; the scientific attitude. Much later, W. James would be the champion of Pragmatism, his own philosophy: “in the beginning was the deed”.
In his letters the first reference to the word Psychology dates to the year 1878; he was corresponding with Josiah Royce, in Cambridge. The case is that James had started with medicine studies, Physiology to be more precise; psychology came later.
He studied in Germany (“the language is infernal!”); and met sometimes his brother (writer Henry James) in the UK. By the year 1882, they had this kind of dialogue: “it’s a poor old Europe”…England viewed as inferior. He had had“refreshment” in Italy and met with Charles Renouvier in Avignon. German language was mastered.
There was a time when his wife was with his two boys in Cambridge. He left to Europe; this was a famous tour. From London,… Nuremberg-Rhine, Vienna, Prague, Paris. He visited several German universities; in Leipzig, met with W. Wundt (the first person to call himself a psychologist) but was not that much impressed. Nevertheless, he was in awe with the German civilization; he called it “great”; he admired the German motto: “dienst”, “dienst” first. It was by this time that his father died in the US; his letter reads like this” all my great intellectual life I derive from you…good night sacred old father”. He pursued his trip: Belgium; then UK to meet Francis Galton; and finally home.
He lectured for many years at Harvard.
In 1889 he attended Paris “Psychological congress”. By 1890 he had published 2 volumes of the “Principles of Psychology”.
He had the courage to participate in psychic séances and investigate the paranormal phenomenon, with a very scientific attitude; he made the US Census of hallucinations; which recorded experiences of “voice” or “touch” or “sight” without material presence; the analysis led him to conclude, out of 7,000 cases, that chance were surpassed in over 400 times.
From his letters to his bank manager, you may derive the idea that he was poor (financially) and a bad assets manager.
“I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life”.
W. James liked to quote Faust:“Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie,/Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum“.* ...
While in Europe, in Switzerland he felt so ill that he rushed to UK to see specialists. He was now a renown man, and had been invited for a conference by the Association of Saint Croix; he declined (“I am quite ill”…”my health gets worse”) and T. Flournoy took his place. Flournoy said about James: “he was an artist”.
He died at 68. He didn’t reject the reality of evil, believed in man’s liberty …and the collaboration of God. --------- *Grey, dear friend, is all theory, And green the golden tree of life.(less)
Trauma has been a topic of Psychology for centuries. Understanding and bringing some sort of comfort/meaning to those who underwent trauma experiences...moreTrauma has been a topic of Psychology for centuries. Understanding and bringing some sort of comfort/meaning to those who underwent trauma experiences may have different approaches. Traditional Psychoanalysis conceptualized trauma as an instance when the ego had not the power to cope/resist (defense mechanisms) ….and a sort of invasion of the psyche apparatus would ensue.
My knowledge of Narrative Psychology is very small. Yet, when watching this tape (Workshop,April, 2007; New York; by Michael White) it surely turned me curious, made me search for more, trying to understand this peculiar way of Trauma-approach.
MW has a record of intervention in trauma-situations worldwide; in Israel-Palestine; in Caledonia (land issues) and African children.
From his extensive experience he’s been deriving several assumptions I will refer next: (1) People have meaning-making skills. (2) They’re always telling stories; main ones and subordinate ones. “Life is not a simple story”. (3) Some of these stories are “identity”-related: “I am a failure”; “I am incompetent”; as sort of conclusions they (people) make about themselves. He compares these life narratives to a “landscape of action”, the therapist perceives. The task of the therapist is to “provide context” and take a “de-centered position”. Some people feel in some point of their lives “emptiness”, especially border-line personalities. (4) Life is full of rich experiences but people are selective; only a very small piece of these experiences gets meaning, is significant. Mostly, we’re only conscious of some part of this richness. (5) From an academic point of view MW was very much influenced by William James (American psychologist) views of “the stream of consciousness” and “self” description. From a developmental viewpoint he had the contribution of Russian psychologist L.Vygostsky, who explained the “origins of self”. (6) How to change? How to bring meaning to life? How to overcome crisis…? Apparently, it’s a question of “narrative authorship”.
- That’s why I need to read this book.Then I'll tell you another story... . (less)
Aspirin aside,I have always been suspicious about all types of pills and medication for treating psychological problems. And this book has got a compe...more
Aspirin aside,I have always been suspicious about all types of pills and medication for treating psychological problems. And this book has got a compelling aspect: it deals with using anti-psychotic medication in children;drugs that usually are prescribed to adults.
In an interview* I've listened to,the author,psychologist Sharna Olfman, a mother of two teens, noticed that when they were at kindergarten,some children around were already being prescribed the drugs at stake,as early as 4 years old.Her theory states that these medicated children are being put under "inappropriate academic pressure" (namely on writing and reading skills acquisition);some cannot cope with it, and manifest behaviors,considered as symptoms.
Sharna discusses one very common condition (I can tell that from my own experience as a psychologist): the attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD**).She raises many doubts on the condition itself and the criteria used for diagnosing it; unlike diabetes,for example, there's no blood test,or any brain (or biochemical) marker to diagnose ADHD; so she's very critical on those "generic symptoms" used as criteria.There's not a "lot of science behind them". Sharna speaks of "drugging emotions,into silence"; labelling children with ADHD we are turning chidren's emotions into symptomatology; therefore, if we see the child on a sad state: she's depressed; if elated,than maniac...and so on. Consequently, maybe this is "a bipolar disorder".
Interestingly, in the book, Sharna refers that in the newest 2012 revision of the DSM,the American Psychiatric Association decided not to include the "pediatric bipolar disorder" designation, admitting, clearly, that the label has been "far too casually applied". Sharna writes about "a psychiatric community culpability".
Also in the book I read this tragic example of the Zyprexa medication,marketed for adults but now being used in children. Out of a sample of 2,500 (who received Olanzapine in clinical trials) 20 died;12 killed themselves.
-So, what's wrong about chidren's behaviors/emotions? Sharna refers some compelling reason: emotional suffering derived from coping with environmental difficulties/challenges,...or abuse.
Solution? -Parents involvement in family therapy; and psychotherapy.Behaviors have meaning.
Back to the interview, Sharna said "anyone with a stimulant can focus"(attention);like when you take caffeine (in coffee).So there's no "underlying biochemical unbalance" in these children.
Sharna warns about the risks of labelling children; for teachers,it may be this the usual way: knowing the child has ADHD,...a kind of deficit,a kind of brain disorder,this very fact "lowers expectations" about the ability of the child to learn.
The book offers a thorough historical perspective on the use of medication for children with psychological problems. _______________
**from Wiki: Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric and a neurobehavioral disorder. It is characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), symptoms emerge before seven years of age. (less)
Robert A. Johnson is a Jungian analyst. His book answers positively to the questions: can old myths describe today's man/woman behavior... and psycho...more
Robert A. Johnson is a Jungian analyst. His book answers positively to the questions: can old myths describe today's man/woman behavior... and psychological development?...and help in psychological healing?
The main myth he's referring to is the quest of Parsifal for the Holy Grail. But also the Wounded Fisher King (applying to man,or the masculine side) and the Handless Maiden (applying to woman,or the feminine side)...and other myths.
Interestingly,even in Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) the myth appears: the ring (of power) is restated to where it should, and withdrawn from those who would use it to destroy the world.
Plato,century IV, BC, in his Republic, spoke of a “trip in the darkness accompanied by guides”. Dutch painter J. Bosch made the famous painting “Ascens...morePlato,century IV, BC, in his Republic, spoke of a “trip in the darkness accompanied by guides”. Dutch painter J. Bosch made the famous painting “Ascension to heaven" in the 15th century. In 1892, the Swiss geologist Heim published his account on near-death-experience: “a sudden revision of the past…time is much expanded”. In the 1980’s, there were “reports of negative experiences of near death, involving “demons and zombie-like creatures, tortures….or due to an excess of carbon in the blood”.
Expert Sam Parnia writes that both in Religion and Culture there are common aspects when dealing with the near-death experience; it’s (1) an extracorporeal experience; (2) may imply contact with ancestors or diseased ones, (3) with light and peace experiences and (4) there are distinct frontiers between the dead and the living ones. Very interesting the psychologist Kenneth Ring index and the Greyson scale of NDE.
Apparently, a new tool for happiness seekers; and those who want dreams come true,via "reality-control technology".
Zeland studied Quantum-Physics.One...moreApparently, a new tool for happiness seekers; and those who want dreams come true,via "reality-control technology".
Zeland studied Quantum-Physics.One day he had a dream and a character he names the Observer made it possible for the author to have access to ancient Knowledge.
Some of Zeland's concepts look revolutionary, like "pendulums" which he defines as superstructures existing in the subtle world that determine people's behavior. A group of people thinking in the same direction creates a pendulum.
Zeland technology is directed at removing the influence of these parasitic plants-like structures; allowing individuals to be free, not falling into traps of thought-energy, learning how to say "no" when necessary, or to ignore certain pendulums...or even to find "your own" pendulums.
Vadim is targeting psychological problems and complexes; but some of his ideas/problems have already been approached by psychologists and psychiatrists (namely the work of Albert Ellis:rational-emotive therapy). Creative, though,the Russian writer.(less)
This is a classic; good for those who still believe in Psychoanalysis. Dolto outlines basic Psychoanalytic theory (childhood's) and then proceeds to c...moreThis is a classic; good for those who still believe in Psychoanalysis. Dolto outlines basic Psychoanalytic theory (childhood's) and then proceeds to clinical cases description and analysis of intervention; the use of children drawings as a diagnostic tool is well and suggestively documented. This is a good introductory course on the theme. (less)
Though a very special view (Epicurist) of the ageing process and the challenges man and woman face throughout, death included, it's a very important...more
Though a very special view (Epicurist) of the ageing process and the challenges man and woman face throughout, death included, it's a very important book for any psychotherapist,regardless of the philosophical or psychotherapy school espoused. Yalom cites plenty of clinical cases, including his personal record: as child (his view on Religion), as therapist (his masters,...W.H. Bion, namely) and himself (as father,husband...)... ageing.