Near his life's end he recorded [audio] these words:"I started my professional activity trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. I discovered s Near his life's end he recorded [audio] these words:"I started my professional activity trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious. People did not believe in my facts and thought my theories unsavory. In the end I succeeded, but the struggle is not yet over". ----------------------
It had its 1st edition in 1920 and the book was aimed at laypeople.
In its preface, Stanley Hall noticed that Psychoanalysis was not much of a topic for the APA (American Psychological Association), though in other fields (biography,education,literature,history...) it had gained widespread interest.
I would divide the topics approached, in these 28 lectures, in three main areas: (1) the psychology of Errors; (2) the Dream ; (3) the Neurosis.
On the first topic, Freud (pretending the audience is like the ignorant, neurotic patient) approaches with very simple terms some phenomena common to any terrestrial human being: slips of tongue, forgetting (of names ,included),loosing and mislaying objects.All these, have a hidden meaning.
Of special relevance are words themselves and these paradigmatic lines of Freud: "...words were originally magic...with words one can make others blessed" (or otherwise). In the unveiling of meaning, Freud warns about projection, and cautions the un-familiarized mind: "first study oneself". Three lectures are dedicated to those above mentioned "errors".
Much is to be dedicated to the Dream topic, 12 lectures to be precise. It's a broad, exemplified part,that takes the reader into this ever-puzzling area: dreams, which are often "blurred,senseless,absurd" ....but some have meaning.
Psychoanalysis is a good framework for interpretation. Like symptoms in the (neurotic) disease, (so) dreams have meaning; there's the "manifest content" and "the LATENT dream thought". You'll always be after the latter.
Finally, some lectures have been addressed to psychopathology, namely, the General Theory of Neurosis. "Libido-driven" explanations of neurosis and technical issues make part of the remaining lectures.
I watched her interview, in the Deutshe Welle program “Talking Germany”. I’ve found her recent experience (as a professional of"I WAS THIS PERSON" ....
I watched her interview, in the Deutshe Welle program “Talking Germany”. I’ve found her recent experience (as a professional of palliative care) confronting death relevant to any psychologist; or lay person, for, someday, we all shall die. Ahead are some points I took from the interview.
(Christiane is a collector of collages by Kurt Schwitter)
(1) Christiane had a prior professional experience as a manager in media companies; she worked for MTV, and her appraisal was that “she played a role”. The commercial side was something “trivial”.
(2) Marking, as life experiences, she highlighted two; (a) when she was young her 3-year-old brother died of an accident; yet, her mother managed to transform PAIN into another “perspective”. (b) Christiane herself had an “avalanche” accident, and went through a NDE (near-death-experience).
(3) So, she enrolled in a 1,5 year course (of palliative care); and now her life implies visiting hospices and talking to people that are close to death.
(4) The author spoke of several great lessons, I would say; like 70% of people would like to have in their hands the option/right to die. It is important for the general public, to be aware on “how to say goodbye, properly”. Christiane had to write down her obituary (as part of the course), and that wasn’t easy. Thinking about this makes one to identify “what’s really important” in life; it’s eye-opening.
(5) On listening skills (which are not easy: because you shouldn’t “judge”), she spoke of the “silence” as well. Listening helps people “overcome their fears”.
(6) What people regret? –“not being themselves”; "being led by parents” and not having their “own lives”; “not being honest”. Not having the chance to say goodbye to loved ones.
(7) People get frightened as death approaches? . The author said: “not many”.
(8) Interestingly enough, in 2006, Christiane managed to get a way to the USA, via an Eisenhower fellowship. She had the chance to talk to Steve Jobs. What did they speak about? ---death.
(9) I liked the expression: there’s “no pill for loneliness”.
Some years ago I read some of Lozanov’s writings on Suggestopedy (use of the right-hemisphere [brain’s] potentialities and the
Some years ago I read some of Lozanov’s writings on Suggestopedy (use of the right-hemisphere [brain’s] potentialities and the unconscious in facilitating the learning of foreign languages). Now I’ve seen a tape Chris recorded in China, for students attending. It’s surely another important contribution to the field of Psychology of Learning.
His own experience seems enough-validating; his mode of thinking about some pertinent questions (how to learn any language in 6 months? How to speed up learning? How to quickly learn a new language? How adults do it?) may, ultimately, legitimize the assertion: school is not needed.
As for his biography he said that at the age of 11 he wrote a letter to the (then) USSR experts to know more about Hypnopedia; but he concluded it didn’t work. Then he became passionate about Psychology, and by 1981 he had set himself to learn Chinese (MANDARIN) in 2 years. It turned out he became fluent in 6 months; he recalls the train-talk with Chinese people while he knew almost nothing, the willingness to interpret gestures…and the person who introduced him to the language while he had a long train travel.
Chris developed a set of principles, but the basic ones start with these lines: you should contact with those who already “did it” (learned the language), be exposed to situations, and thereafter identify principles and APPLY THEM.
His set of recommendations is summarized in 7 actions and 5 principles. But you must dispel two myths; one, that you must be talented; and, two, immersion per se will do the trick;really,immersion, it’s not enough.
I won’t develop in minutia those recommendations; they’re just a set of right combining principles of 4 major categories like: attention, relevance, meaning and memory.
I would highlight (on “principles”) : use relevant tools, use language to communicate, seek some understanding (not the whole thing ongoing when immersed) and accept the fact that there’s “unconscious absorption” happening too.
Learning a language requires training/practice: exercise (sometimes “painfully”) your face muscles; “physiological training”.
Certain psychophysiological states favor learning, some don’t. Being happy, relaxed and in an alpha-brain state is good; conversely, sadness, depression and upset-states are not good.
As for “actions”, some ahead. (1) Listen a lot; (2) get the meaning, before words (3) start mixing/combining (verb X noun X adjective)…
MY musings:"evil" and "sin" and "resurrection" ...and many other expressions …. are expressions of the religious domain; just like “gene” and “mitochoMY musings:"evil" and "sin" and "resurrection" ...and many other expressions …. are expressions of the religious domain; just like “gene” and “mitochondria” and “psychosis” …are of the science domain….Science separated from Religion."
One who had read, or known about, “The road less traveled” would argue with Peck: so, discipline is not enough to solve all problems.
Evil itself is a human problem, according to Peck. [And that’s a bit new] Science should address this problem; the evil problem.
“Evil,the ultimate disease”.
In an interview I watched, Peck was confronted with these questions: isn’t “evil” a moral issue? Why taking “evil” as a diagnostic category just like the other medical aberrations/diseases? Why is evil a specific disease?
Peck replied with the distinction made by Jew theologian Martín Buber: there are those “sliding” (into evil) and those who “have slid”. The latter ones “no longer come back”.
He gave the example of a case he had: the man who had made a pact with the devil.
There are evil people.
More interestingly, Peck at a certain point of his life was investigating about this “evil” definition.He asked several members of his family and the definition provided by his (then) 8 year old son Chris, sort of pleased him the most. Chris told father that evil is “live” spelt backwards. Which made father think: [son was right and] “Evil is a force against life”; but he thought also: if we kill it, “we become contaminated”, we become “killers”.
He recalled the words of Jesus on Satan: you’re a killer, a murderer; while Jesus said of himself: I came that they have life and that more abundantly.
In that interview Peck gave numbers: only 2 to 3 % of population would fall on that category: the insane that “no longer come back”.
“Evil interferes with growth …we got to know what our enemy is”; the danger within us.
Peck has, nonetheless, hope in healing human evil. He’s optimistic because the human race has been “improving”. ...more
The road less traveled; for some, a milestone. I’ve read some lines about Peck and listened to an interview he gave. I’ll try to summarize his main poThe road less traveled; for some, a milestone. I’ve read some lines about Peck and listened to an interview he gave. I’ll try to summarize his main points, on his (new) psychology.
To Peck, life is composed of a series of problems, which per se involve some degree of pain; it’s painful to solve them. If we solve them, we progress/grow; if not, we get ill; neurotic for example. Teens may become rebellious, drop out of school.
That’s one basic premise for Peck: life is hard, and we should accept that, as a condition for normalcy. Either we face the “legitimate suffering” or we find substitutes, like fantasies, to escape from the pain.
Instead, problems should be welcome, according to Peck.
How do you solve those problems? How do you deal with pain?
Peck is a bit (too much?) peremptory: with discipline we solve those problems; and with TOTAL DISCIPLINE WE CAN SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS. Peck implies, in a more elaborate fashion, that the necessary conditions for change/growth are: (1) delay of gratification (2) responsibility (3) dedication to truth and (4) balancing.
Once he met a financial analyst who had difficulties on the 1st condition; a procrastination problem.She would start work, the first hour, addressing easy problems, gratifying ones, and the next 6 hours with “abject-type” problems. A switch of scheduling solved her procrastination.
Many teenagers have problems in school, because they were not taught how to schedule pain and pleasure; parents’ fault. ...more
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 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 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”.
WJ 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....more
Trauma has been a topic of Psychology for centuries. Understanding and bringing some sort of comfort/meaning to those who underwent trauma experienceTrauma 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 (defense mechanisms) to cope/resist ….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 worldwide record of interventions in trauma situations; 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... . ...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 compeAspirin 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.
-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. _______________
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. ...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 psycho
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 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 “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. Dec 6,2011.
UPDATE The largest world-study on NDE has been published; next, some of the conclusions:
"-The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences.
- In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events.
- A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.
- Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. Future studies should focus on cardiac arrest, which is biologically synonymous with death, rather than ill-defined medical states sometimes referred to as ‘near-death’.
-The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice".
Question n % (1) Did you have the impression that everything happened faster or slower than usual? 27 27 (2) Were your thoughts speeded up? 7 7 (3) Did scenes from your past come back to you? 5 5 (4) Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? 6 6 (5) Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? 22 22 (6) Did you have a feeling of joy? 9 9 (7) Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? 5 5 (8) Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? 7 7 (9) Were your senses more vivid than usual? 13 13 (10) Did you seem to be aware of things going on that normally should have been out of sight from your actual point of view as if by extrasensory perception? 7 7 (11) Did scenes from the future come to you? 0 0 (12) Did you feel separated from your body? 13 13 (13) Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? 7 7 (14) Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? 8 8 (15) Did you see deceased or religious spirits? 3 3 (16) Did you come to a border or point of no return? 8 8
n = 101. Mean Greyson score ± SD = 2.02 ± 3.71. Score range = 0–22....more