On This Day … 25 September

People (Births)

  • 1962 – Kalthoum Sarrai, Tunisian-French psychologist and journalist (d. 2010).

People (Deaths)

  • 1958 – John B. Watson, American psychologist and academic (b. 1878).
  • 2005 – Urie Bronfenbrenner, Russian-American psychologist and ecologist (b. 1917).
  • 2005 – M. Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and author (b. 1936).
  • 2013 – Bennet Wong, Canadian psychiatrist and academic, co-founded Haven Institute (b. 1930).

Kalthoum Sarrai

Kalthoum Sarrai كلثوم السراي in Arabic (25 September 1962 to 19 January 2010), best known as Cathy Sarrai, was a Tunisian-born French television presenter, anchorwoman and television personality. She was known to many French and Belgian television viewers for her role in the French version of Super Nanny, which began airing on M6 on 01 February 2005.

Sarrai was born in Tunis, Tunisia, on 25 September 1962, as one of seven children. She moved to France in 1979, where she studied child psychology before pursuing a successful career as a television presenter. Sarrai also authored three books, including an autobiography.

She began appearing on the French version of Super Nanny in 2005. The show, in which she taught parents basic child care and parenting techniques, attracted 3.7 million viewers in Belgium and France, making her a familiar personality on M6.

Kalthoum Sarrai died in Paris on Tuesday 19 January 2010, of cancer at the age of 47. She was buried in Tunis.

John B. Watson

John Broadus Watson (09 January 1878 to 25 September 1958) was an American psychologist who popularised the scientific theory of behaviourism, establishing it as a psychological school. Watson advanced this change in the psychological discipline through his 1913 address at Columbia University, titled Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It. Through his behaviourist approach, Watson conducted research on animal behaviour, child rearing, and advertising, as well as conducting the controversial “Little Albert” experiment and the Kerplunk experiment. He was also the editor of Psychological Review from 1910 to 1915. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Watson as the 17th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner (29 April 1917 to 25 September 2005) was a Russian-born American psychologist who is most known for his ecological systems theory.

His work with the United States government helped in the formation of the Head Start programme in 1965. Bronfenbrenner’s ability research was key in changing the perspective of developmental psychology by calling attention to the large number of environmental and societal influences on child development.

M. Scott Peck

Morgan Scott Peck (22 May 1936 to 25 September 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author who wrote the book The Road Less Travelled, published in 1978.

Peck served in administrative posts in the government during his career as a psychiatrist. He also served in the US Army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His army assignments included stints as chief of psychology at the Army Medical Centre in Okinawa, Japan, and assistant chief of psychiatry and neurology in the office of the surgeon general in Washington, DC. He was the medical director of the New Milford Hospital Mental Health Clinic and a psychiatrist in private practice in New Milford, Connecticut. His first and best-known book, The Road Less Travelled, sold more than 10 million copies.

Peck’s works combined his experiences from his private psychiatric practice with a distinctly religious point of view. In his second book, People of the Lie, he wrote, “After many years of vague identification with Buddhist and Islamic mysticism, I ultimately made a firm Christian commitment – signified by my non-denominational baptism on the ninth of March 1980…” (Peck, 1983/1988, p.11). One of his views was that people who are evil attack others rather than face their own failures.

Bennet Wong

Bennet Randall Wong (16 July 1930 to 25 September 2013), was a Canadian psychiatrist, author and lecturer who co-founded the Haven Institute, a residential experiential learning centre on the west coast of Canada, with Jock McKeen. His writings focused on mental illness, group psychotherapy, humanistic psychology and personal growth.

Individual Career

Wong was clinical director at the Winfield State Hospital in Winfield, Kansas, from 1957-1959. He then practised adolescent psychiatry in Vancouver, B.C., from 1961 until 1975. Wong was an early adopter of the encounter group process. During the late 1960s, he offered media comments on youth, including hosting a national television forum on youth on CBC-TV. He discussed many issues with Canada’s former Minister of Health and Welfare, Judy Lamarsh, and television journalist (and later Canadian senator) Laurier Lapierre. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate of humanistic approaches to dealing with children, adolescents and families. He incorporated the mind-body approaches of Wilhelm Reich into his work, as well as the perspectives of existential therapy. Wong was a member of the Board of Directors of Moffat Communications Ltd. for twenty-five years (1973-1999). He has been noted in Who’s Who in Canada. Wong was appointed as Visiting Professor of Humanistic Psychology at Hua Wei University in Shen Zhen, China, in 2007.

Partnership with Jock McKeen

After working in individual practices in Vancouver, B.C. (McKeen in acupuncture and Wong in adolescent psychiatry), they left private practice in 1975 to conduct residential growth groups at the Cold Mountain Institute on Cortes Island, British Columbia. After the demise of the Cold Mountain Institute in 1980, Wong and McKeen helped to establish the Cortes Centre for Human Development, and conducted seminars organized by this non-profit society until 1983, when they co-founded The Haven Institute. Wong and McKeen challenge the traditional medical model, encouraging physicians to be less objectifying, to develop more self-awareness and adopt a more holistic approach to patient care. Wong and McKeen have taught this integrative approach in Canada, US, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand as well as countries in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Establishment of the Haven Institute

Wong and McKeen founded The Haven Institute in 1983, a residential experiential learning school on Gabriola Island, B.C., and were active in its development until 2004, when ownership was passed to The Haven Foundation. Both men were appointed Emeritus Faculty of The Haven Institute. They were both given honorary doctorates by Vancouver Island University for their work in establishing the Haven Institute.

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