On This Day … 27 September

People (Births)

  • 1913 – Albert Ellis, American psychologist and author (d. 2007).

People (Deaths)

  • 2004 – John E. Mack, American psychiatrist and author (b. 1929).

Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis (27 September 1913 to 24 July 2007) was an American psychologist and psychotherapist who founded Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). He held MA and PhD degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University, and was certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He also founded, and was the President of, the New York City-based Albert Ellis Institute. He is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and an early proponent and developer of cognitive-behavioural therapies.

Based on a 1982 professional survey of US and Canadian psychologists, he was considered the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third). Psychology Today noted that, “No individual—not even Freud himself—has had a greater impact on modern psychotherapy.”

John E. Mack

John Edward Mack (04 October 1929 to 27 September 2004) was an American psychiatrist, writer, and professor and the head of the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In 1977, Mack won the Pulitzer Prize for his book A Prince of Our Disorder on T.E. Lawrence.

As the head of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Mack’s clinical expertise was in child psychology, adolescent psychology, and the psychology of religion. He was also known as a leading researcher on the psychology of teenage suicide and drug addiction, and he later became a researcher in the psychology of alien abduction experiences.

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.

On This Day … 24 September

People (Births)

  • 1901 – Alexandra Adler, Austrian neurologist and psychologist (d.2001).

People (Deaths)

  • 2013 – Boris Karvasarsky, Ukrainian-Russian psychiatrist and author (b. 1931).

Alexandra Adler

Alexandra Adler (24 September 1901 to 04 January 2001) was an Austrian neurologist and the daughter of psychoanalyst Alfred Adler.

She has been described as one of the “leading systematizers and interpreters” of Adlerian psychology. Her sister was Socialist activist Valentine Adler. Alexandra Adler’s husband was Halfdan Gregersen.

In 1943, Adler studied survivors of the Coconut Grove nightclub fire of 1942. The study found that 50% of the survivors still experienced trauma and disturbances a year after the accident. These symptoms included changes in personality such as lack of sleep, anxiety, guilt and fears of the event. It was also studied that survivors were only recognising parts of what happened. It would theorized that it was due to the stress or a possible lesion in the brain due to carbon monoxide exposure. Adler became one of the first neurologists to create a detailed documentation of what is known as post traumatic stress disorder.

In the 1950s and throughout the 60’s, Adler continued her father’s work of Adlerian psychology for possible treatments for schizophrenia, neuroses, and personality disorders. She believed this could be done through modern drug treatment, group therapy, and the existentialist and religious psychotherapies.

Boris Karvasarsky

Boris Dmitrievich Karvasarsky (Russian: Борис Дмитриевич Карвасарский; 03 February 1931 to 24 September 2013) was a Russian psychiatrist, a disciple of V. N. Myasishchev.

Education

Karvasarsky was born in Derazhnia, Ukraine, on 03 February 1931. In 1954 he graduated from S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy. Then he completed postgraduate courses in the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute and was awarded the Degree of Candidate of Science in 1961. He attained his M.D. degree at the age of 37 (in 1968).

Scientific Work

Karvasarsky headed the Department of Neuroses and Psychotherapy in the Bekhterev Research Institute from 1961 until his death. During the period of 1982 until 1993 he also held the chair of Child-Adolescent Psychotherapy in Leningrad Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education. In 1986, he became Head of the Republican Centre for Scientific and Methodic Coordination in Psychotherapy.

The objectives of the centre include annual analysis of the state of psychotherapeutic services in Russia and ongoing education of the specialists rendering psychotherapeutic treatment to the population.

He worked as editorial board member of several journals including The Bekhterev Review of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology and the Bulletin of Psychotherapy. He was president of the Russian Psychotherapeutic Association until his death. He has also been chief psychotherapist of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation for about 20 years.

Proceeding from V. Myasishchev’s ideas and his conception of pathogenetic psychotherapy, Karvasarsky elaborated personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. After making a special study of this psychotherapeutic approach, some research workers concluded it to be nothing but “Soviet psychoanalysis.” Its proponents, however, challenge such a characterisation. When treating neuroses, associates of the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute mainly make use of personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. The method has not been extensively used in other regions of today’s Russia, but has been shown capable of yielding satisfactory results in patients with different mental disorders related to borderline psychiatry.

On This Day .. 23 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1939 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1856).

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 06 May 1856 to 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1881 at the University of Vienna. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902. Freud lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practice there in 1886. In 1938, Freud left Austria to escape Nazi persecution. He died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939.

In founding psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis, Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego. Freud postulated the existence of libido, sexualised energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression, and neurotic guilt. In his later works, Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.

Though in overall decline as a diagnostic and clinical practice, psychoanalysis remains influential within psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, and across the humanities. It thus continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate concerning its therapeutic efficacy, its scientific status, and whether it advances or hinders the feminist cause. Nonetheless, Freud’s work has suffused contemporary Western thought and popular culture. W.H. Auden’s 1940 poetic tribute to Freud describes him as having created “a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives”.

On This Day … 22 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1988 – Rais Amrohvi, Pakistani psychoanalyst, scholar, and poet (b. 1914).
  • 2012 – Jan Hendrik van den Berg, Dutch psychiatrist and academic (b. 1914).

Rais Amrohvi

Rais Amrohvi (Urdu: رئیس امروہوی‎), whose real name was Syed Muhammad Mehdi (12 September 1914 to 22 September 1988) was a Pakistani scholar, Urdu poet and psychoanalyst and elder brother of Jaun Elia. He was known for his style of qatanigari (quatrain writing). He wrote quatrains for Pakistani newspaper Jang for several decade. He promoted the Urdu language and supported the Urdu-speaking people of Pakistan. His family is regarded as family of poets.

The Sindh Assembly passed The Sind Teaching, Promotion and Use of Sindhi Language Bill, 1972 that created conflict and language violence in the regime of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he wrote his famous poem Urdu ka janaza hai zara dhoom say niklay (It is the funeral of Urdu, carry it out with fanfare). He also intended to translate the Bhagavad Gita into standard Urdu.

Jan Hendrik van den Berg

Jan Hendrik van den Berg (11 June 1914 to 22 September 2012) was a Dutch psychiatrist notable for his work in phenomenological psychotherapy (cf. phenomenology) and metabletics, or “psychology of historical change.” He is the author of numerous articles and books, including A different existence and The changing nature of man.

Between 1933 and 1936, he earned diplomas in primary school and high school education, the latter with a focus on mathematics. He also published papers on entomology. He then entered medical school at Utrecht University specialising in psychiatry and neurology. He completed his doctoral dissertation in 1946. One year later, after studying in both France and Switzerland, Dr. Van den Berg was appointed to Head of Department at the psychiatry clinic at Utrecht. At Utrecht, he lectured in psychopathology in the medical school and was also appointed to Professor of Pastoral Psychology in the theology department. In 1954, Dr. van den Berg took a position of Professor of Psychology at Leiden University. Since 1967, he has been a visiting professor at many universities and conducted lecture tours internationally.

Having lived most of his later life in a monumental house at the market in the historical centre of Woudrichem, he died in nearby Gorinchem.

On This Day … 21 September

People (Births)

  • 1946 – Mart Siimann, Estonian psychologist and politician, 12th Prime Minister of Estonia.

Mart Siimann

Mart Siimann (born 21 September 1946) was the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1997 to 1999, representing the liberal/centrist Estonian Coalition Party. He was the president of the Estonian Olympic Committee from 2001 to 2012.

Born at Kilingi-Nõmme, Siimann studied at the University of Tartu from 1965 to 1971. In 1971, he graduated as a philologist-psychologist. From 1989 to 1992, he was the director of the Estonian Television and from 1992 to 1995, Managing Director of Advertising Television Co. He was a member of the Estonian Parliament from 1995 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2003, elected as a Coalition Party member (but since 2001 served as the chairman of the centre-left/social democratic association “Mõistuse ja Südamega” (“With Reason and Heart”)).

On This Day … 20 September

People (Births)

  • 1847 – Susanna Rubinstein, Austrian psychologist (d. 1914).

Susanna Rubinstein

Susanna or Susanne Rubinstein (20 September 1847 to 29 March 1914) was an Austrian psychologist and the first woman to earn a doctorate from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Rubinstein was born in Czernowitz (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Chernivtsi, Ukraine) into the Jewish family of the banker and parliamentarian Isak Rubinstein (c. 1804-1878). Her mother died when she was young.

She and her three siblings were greatly encouraged to pursue their education, even though this was a time when girls were often denied that opportunity. A high school for girls was eventually opened in Czernowitz in1898 and a girls’ grammar school was established only during the years just before the First World War.

At first, her father arranged for Rubinstein to take private lessons but, when it came time to finish high school, she was unable to take the necessary examinations from tutors, so she did so before an academic committee from a boys’ high school.

Rubinstein went on to study psychology and German literature at the University of Prague, in the spring of 1870, and then at the Leipzig University three years later. After being denied admission to the doctoral programme in Basel, Switzerland, she enrolled at the University of Bern and there she gained a Ph.D. in 1874 in psychology and German literature. By doing so, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate in Bern. Her thesis was “Uber die sensoriellen und sensitiven Sinne” (“About the sensory and sensitive senses”).

With the completion of her doctorate, Rubinstein spent a year in Germany visiting Leipzig, Heidelberg and Munich.

Her 1878 work “Psychologisch-Asthetische Essays” (“Psychological-Aesthetic Essays”) has been described as “a major contribution to the study of human emotions”. It was reprinted in 2012.

Susanna Rubinstein died 29 March 1914 in Würzburg, Germany.

On This Day … 19 September

People (Births)

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips (born 19 September 1954) is a British psychotherapist and essayist.

Since 2003 he has been the general editor of the new Penguin Modern Classics translations of Sigmund Freud. He is also a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.

Joan Acocella, writing in The New Yorker, described Phillips as “Britain’s foremost psychoanalytic writer”, an opinion echoed by historian Élisabeth Roudinesco in Le Monde.

On This Day … 18 September

People (Births)

  • 1888 – Toni Wolff, Swiss psychologist and author (d. 1953).
  • 1954 – Steven Pinker, Canadian-American psychologist, linguist, and author.

Toni Wolff

Toni Anna Wolff (18 September 1888 to 21 March 1953) was a Swiss Jungian analyst and a close collaborator of Carl Jung.

During her analytic career Wolff published relatively little under her own name, but she helped Jung identify, define, and name some of his best-known concepts, including anima, animus, and persona, as well as the theory of the psychological types.

Her best-known paper is an essay on four “types” or aspects of the feminine psyche: the Amazon, the Mother, the Hetaira, and the Medial (or mediumistic) Woman.

Steven Pinker

Steven Arthur Pinker (born 18 September 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and his academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemism, innuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

Pinker is also the author of eight books for general audiences. The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research, arguing that language is an innate behaviour shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. Pinker’s The Sense of Style (2014), is a general language-oriented style guide.

Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) argues that violence in human societies has generally steadily declined over time, and identifies six major trends and five historical forces of this decline. Enlightenment Now (2018) uses social science data to show a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

In 2004, Pinker was named in Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today” and in the years 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011 in Foreign Policy’s list of “Top 100 Global Thinkers”. Pinker was also included in Prospect Magazine’s top 10 “World Thinkers” in 2013. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. Pinker was the chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary from 2008 to 2018.

On This Day … 16 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1980 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (b. 1896).

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget (09 August 1896 to 16 September 1980) was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology”.

Piaget placed great importance on the education of children. As the Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that “only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.” His theory of child development is studied in pre-service education programs. Educators continue to incorporate constructivist-based strategies.

Piaget created the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 while on the faculty of the University of Geneva and directed the Centre until his death in 1980. The number of collaborations that its founding made possible, and their impact, ultimately led to the Centre being referred to in the scholarly literature as “Piaget’s factory”.

According to Ernst von Glasersfeld, Jean Piaget was “the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing.” However, his ideas did not become widely popularised until the 1960s. This then led to the emergence of the study of development as a major sub-discipline in psychology. By the end of the 20th century, Piaget was second only to B.F. Skinner as the most cited psychologist of that era.