On This Day … 21 June

People (Births)

  • 1880 – Arnold Gesell, American psychologist and paediatrician (d. 1961).
  • 1924 – Jean Laplanche, French psychoanalyst and academic (d. 2012).

Arnold Gesell

Doctor Arnold Lucius Gesell (21 June 1880 to 29 May 1961) was an American clinical psychologist, paediatrician and professor at Yale University known for his research and contributions to the field of child development.

Gesell served as a teacher and high school principal before seeking his psychological doctorate at Clark University, where the university’s president, G. Stanley Hall, had founded a child study movement. Arnold received his PhD from Clark in 1906.

Gessell worked at several educational facilities in New York City and Wisconsin before obtaining a professorship at the Los Angeles State Normal School, now known as The University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA)). There he met fellow teacher Beatrice Chandler who would become his wife. They later had a daughter and a son, Federal District Judge Gerhard Gesell.

Gesell also spent time at schools for the mentally disabled, including the Vineland Training School in New Jersey. Having developed an interest in the causes and treatment of childhood disabilities, Gesell began studying at the University of Wisconsin Medical School to better understand physiology. He later served as an assistant professor at Yale University while continuing to study medicine. He developed the Clinic of Child Development there and received his M.D. in 1915. He was later given a full professorship at Yale.

Gesell also served as the school psychologist for the Connecticut State Board of Education and helped to develop classes to help children with disabilities succeed. This historic appointment made Dr. Gesell the first school psychologist in the US He wrote several books, including The Preschool Child from the Standpoint of Public Hygiene and Education in 1923, The Mental Growth of the Preschool Child in 1925 (which was also published as a film), and An Atlas of Infant Behaviour (chronicling typical milestones for certain ages) in 1934. He co-authored with Frances Ilg two childrearing guides, Infant and Child in the Culture of Today in 1943, and The Child from Five to Ten in 1946.

Gesell made use of the latest technology in his research. He used the newest in video and photography advancements. He also made use of one-way mirrors when observing children, even inventing the Gesell dome, a one-way mirror shaped as a dome, under which children could be observed without being disturbed. In his research he studied many children, including Kamala, the wolf girl. He also did research on young animals, including monkeys.

As a psychologist, Gesell wrote and spoke about the importance of both nature and nurture in child development. He cautioned others not to be quick to attribute mental disabilities to specific causes. He believed that many aspects of human behaviour, such as handedness and temperament were heritable. He explained that children adapted to their parents as well as to one another. He advocated for a nationwide nursery school system in the United States.

Gesell’s popular books spread his ideas beyond academia. His core message, urging parents to “nourish the child’s trustfulness in life”, resonated with child advocates long before Dr. Benjamin Spock became America’s most prominent parental advisor. In The Child from Five to Ten, Gesell wrote, “It is no longer trite to say that children are the one remaining hope of mankind. . . If we could but capture their transparent honesty and sincerities! They still have much to teach us, if we observe closely enough”.

Gesell’s ideas came to be known as Gesell’s Maturational Theory of child development. Based on his theory, he published a series of summaries of child development sequences, called the Gesell Developmental Schedules.

The Gesell Institute of Human Development, named after him, was started by his colleagues from the Clinic of Child Development, Frances Ilg and Louise Bates Ames in 1950, after Gesell retired from the university in 1948. In 2012, the institute was renamed the Gesell Institute of Child Development.

Jean Laplanche

Jean Laplanche (21 June 1924 to 06 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud’s seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.”

From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud’s complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud/Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.

Laplanche attended the École Normale Supérieure in the 1940s, studying philosophy. He was a student of Jean Hyppolite, Gaston Bachelard and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. In 1943, during the Vichy regime, Laplanche joined the French Resistance, and was active in Paris and Bourgogne. In 1946-1947, he visited Harvard University for a year. Instead of joining that university’s philosophy department, he instead studied at the Department of Social Relations, and became interested in psychoanalytic theory. After returning to France, Laplanche began attending lectures and undergoing psychoanalytic treatment under Jacques Lacan. Laplanche, advised by Lacan, began studying medicine, and eventually earned his doctorate and became an analyst himself, joining the International Psychoanalytical Association, of which he remained a member until his death.

What is the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis?

Introduction

The National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP) is an institution established in New York City by Theodore Reik in 1948, in response to the controversy over lay analysis and the question of the training of psychoanalysts in the States.

Following the lead established by Sigmund Freud, the NPAP offered training to the three core disciplines of medicine, social work and psychology, as well as to graduates from the humanities.

Brief History

Over the following decades, inevitably dissensions emerged in the organisation, and other non-medical training institutions were set up in the United States.

Current Ideology

The organisation currently sees itself as a vibrant professional association of analysts representing a diversity of theories that comprise contemporary psychoanalytic inquiry. The NPAP’s diverse membership is active in research, publication, legislation, public education, and cultural affairs, thus ensuring a psychoanalytic contribution to the community at large. The NPAP also publishes the highly respected and internationally recognised journal The Psychoanalytic Review, the oldest continuously published psychoanalytic journal in the United States.

Mindful of a legacy reaching directly back to Freud, the Institute today offers comprehensive psychoanalytic training grounded in the classical tradition, expanded by contemporary insights, and designed to prepare candidates for the professional practice of psychoanalysis.

On This Day … 12 June

People (Births)

  • 1912 – Carl Hovland, American psychologist and academic (d. 1961).
  • 1962 – Jordan Peterson, Canadian psychologist, professor and cultural critic.

People (Deaths)

  • 2012 – Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen, Danish-German psychoanalyst and author (b. 1917).

Carl Hovland

Carl Iver Hovland (12 June 1912 to 16 April 1961) was a psychologist working primarily at Yale University and for the US Army during World War II who studied attitude change and persuasion. He first reported the sleeper effect after studying the effects of the Frank Capra’s propaganda film Why We Fight on soldiers in the Army. In later studies on this subject, Hovland collaborated with Irving Janis who would later become famous for his theory of groupthink. Hovland also developed social judgment theory of attitude change. Carl Hovland thought that the ability of someone to resist persuasion by a certain group depended on your degree of belonging to the group.

Contributions to Psychology

Psychological research was Hovland’s intellectual joy. Especially in his early career, his investigations covered many topics. His papers in psychological journals included a study of test reliability, a major review of the literature on apparent movement, as well as his four classical papers on conditioned generalisation from his doctoral dissertation.

Hovland began to emphasize micro-level analysis of propaganda and its effects. Hovland’s army experiments were the beginnings of that micro-level analysis of an individual. Hovland’s “core conceptual variable was attitude”.

Hovland believed that if he was able to recognise the attitude an individual has towards a trigger, he would be able to predict the behaviour and actions of an individual over time. However, there were many studies that argued the contrary and showed that “an attitude toward a person or object does not predict or explain an individual’s overt behavior regarding that person or object”. This revelation of low correlation did not necessarily render findings useless but instead led to further research on how under certain circumstances it was possible to change a person’s behaviour via their attitudes.

While Hovland focused on an individual rather than a group level, he began to take into consideration interpersonal communication in the form of persuasion. Specifically, Hovland was responsible for carrying out a series of studies that contributed to the “cumulative understanding of persuasion behavior that has never since been matched or even rivaled”.

To test and apply his theorisation Hovland worked proposed the SMCR model. The SMCR model consists of four components – source variables, message variables, channel variables, and receiver variables. By manipulating each of these variables, Hovland was able to advance his “message-learning approach to attitude change”. There were problems with his particular approach, however, in that by focusing on a single dimension of the SMCR model, Hovland was unable to do more than isolate a factor rather than study the synergy between the different variables.

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is a Canadian professor of psychology, clinical psychologist, YouTube personality, and author. He began to receive widespread attention in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues, often described as conservative.

Born and raised in Alberta, Peterson obtained bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University. After teaching and research at Harvard University, he returned to Canada in 1998 to join the faculty of psychology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which became the basis for many of his subsequent lectures. The book combined information from psychology, mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and neuroscience to analyse systems of belief and meaning.

In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticising the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce “gender identity and expression” as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics. He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.

Afterwards, Peterson’s lectures and conversations – propagated especially through podcasts and YouTube – gradually gathered millions of views. He put his clinical practice and teaching duties on hold by 2018, when he published his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Promoted with a world tour, it became a bestseller in several countries. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Peterson’s work was obstructed by health problems in the aftermath of a severe benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. In 2021, he published his third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, and returned to active podcasting.

Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen

Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen (née Nielsen; 17 July 1917 to 12 June 2012) or the “Grande Dame of German Psychoanalysis” as she was often referred to as, was a German psychoanalyst who focused mainly on the themes of feminism, female sexuality, and the national psychology of post-war Germany.

Contributions to Psychology

From the 1960s, alongside the protagonists of the Frankfurt School, the Mitscherlichs played an important part in post-war Germany’s intellectual debates, employing psychoanalytic thought for explaining the causes behind Nazi Germany and its aftermath in German society to the present day. The first major book they wrote together was Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern. Grundlagen kollektiven Verhaltens (The Inability to Mourn: Principles of Collective Behaviour), first published in 1967, discussing why the Holocaust, the war crimes, and the sentiment of guilt on the offender’s part were not dealt with adequately in post-war German society.

Subsequently, Margarete Mitscherlich’s interest in feminist positions grew, as she became friends with German feminist journalist Alice Schwarzer, contributing to her magazine EMMA. In the first issue of the journal in November 1977, she confessed: “Ich bin Feministin” (“I am a feminist”). At the time, she also took an active part in legal actions against anti-women depictions in popular German media. Her book Die friedfertige Frau. Eine psychoanalytische Untersuchung zur Aggression der Geschlechter (The peaceable sex: On aggression in women and men), first published in 1987, is Mitscherlich’s most successful book to date, dealing with the roles women play in politics. Specifically, she discussed specific psychological cases pertaining to the potential for human aggression, the socialization of women, narcissism, loneliness, parenthood, and anti-Semitism within her writing. In the follow-up Die Zukunft ist weiblich (The future is feminine, 1987) Mitscherlich pleaded for values to become more feminine, even men’s values. She is notable for the highly politicised nature of her work when many of her peers considered neutrality an essential element of psychoanalysis.

Until well into her nineties, Mitscherlich worked as a psychoanalyst, advising younger colleagues and commenting political developments in the press. In her latest book, published in 2010, aged 93, Die Radikalität des Alters. Einsichten einer Psychoanalytikerin (The Radicality of Age. Insights of a Psychoanalyst) she reflects upon her own experience of ageing. She famously claimed that Germans cannot mourn.

Mitscherlich was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001. She received the Ehrenplakette der Stadt Frankfurt am Main in 1990 and the Tony-Sender-Preis der Stadt Frankfurt am Main in 2005.

Mitscherlich has a son who was born in 1949, a lawyer and executive manager. She lived in the Frankfurt Westend until her death. She died, aged 94, in Frankfurt.

What is Child Psychoanalysis?

Introduction

Child psychoanalysis is a sub-field of psychoanalysis which was founded by Anna Freud.

Freud used the work of her father Sigmund Freud with certain modifications directed towards the needs of children. Since its inception, child psychoanalysis has grown into a well-known therapeutic technique for children and adolescents.

Brief History

For many years, the work of Sigmund Freud was considered revolutionary in his creation of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and his theories regarding childhood experiences affecting a person later in life. His legacy was continued by his daughter Anna Freud in her pursuit of psychotherapy and her fathers theories as applied to children and adolescents.

In 1941, Anna help found the Hampstead Nursery in London and there she treated children for several years until it was shut down in 1945. Anna, with the help of Kate Friedlaender, soon opened the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic to continue her work and to continue sheltering homeless children. Anna was the director of the clinic from 1952 until her death in 1982. The clinic was renamed the Anna Freud Centre following her death as a memorial for the care and support she provided to hundreds of children over the decades.

Much of Anna’s published papers and books reference her work at the Hampstead Nursery and Clinic. Some of her more famous books are “The Ego and Defense Mechanisms”, which explored what defence mechanisms are and how they are used by adolescents, and “Normality and Pathology in Childhood” (1965), which directly summarizes her work at the Hampstead Clinic and other facilities. In fact, it was her work at the Nursery and the Clinic which allowed Anna to perfect her techniques and establish a therapy specifically designed for improving child and adolescent mental health.

Techniques

Anna’s first task in developing a successful therapy for children was to take Sigmund’s original theory regarding the psycho-social stages of development and create a timeline by which to grade normal growth and development. Using this line, a therapist would be able to observe a child and know whether they were progressing as other children or not. If a certain aspect of development lagged, such as personal hygiene or eating habits, the therapist could then assume that some trauma had occurred and could then address it directly through therapy.

Once a child was in therapy, techniques had to continue to change. Foremost, Anna knew that she could not expect to create situations of transference with the children as her father had done with his adult patients. The parents of a child in psychotherapy are typically still very active in their lives. Even when children were being housed at the Clinic, Anna encouraged mothers to visit frequently to ensure a stable attachment was formed between parent and child. In fact, one of the most important features of child psychotherapy is the active role parents play in their child’s therapy, knowing exactly what the therapist is doing, and their lives outside of therapy by helping the child implement the techniques taught by the therapist. So, to avoid becoming a replacement parent and avoid having the child view her as an authoritative adult, Anna did her best to take on the role of a caring and understanding adult figure. To this day, child psychotherapists aim to be viewed by the patient as a person analogous to a teacher.

The goal of any psychotherapist is for the patient to find comfort in their stable presence and eventually have no issue with speaking whatever comes to their mind. With children, this involves a high frequency of visits with the child, possibly even daily sessions. Anna also saw child’s play as their way of adapting to reality and confronting problems they faced in their real lives. For this reason, therapy sessions are intended to suspend the rules of reality and allow the child to play and speak whatever they want. This play allows therapists to see where the child’s traumas lie and help the child overcome these traumas. However, Anna also realised that children’s play does not reveal some unconscious revelation. Children, unlike adults, have not yet repressed events or learned how to cover up their true emotions. Often, in therapy what a child says is what a child means. This differed greatly from the original practices of psychotherapy that often had to decode meaning out of the patient’s words.

Newest Developments

In recent years there has been a shift in analytic technique for severely disturbed or traumatised children from a conflict- and insight-oriented approach to a focused, mentalisation-oriented therapy. Furthermore, the importance of parent work in the context of child psychoanalysis has been emphasized. Short-term psychoanalytic therapy which combines focus oriented techniques in the psychoanalytic work with the child with focused parent work has been shown to be effective especially in children with anxiety disorders and depressive comorbidity.

On This Day … 31 May

People (Deaths)

  • 1996 – Timothy Leary, American psychologist and author (b. 1920).
  • 2011 – Hans Keilson, German-Dutch psychoanalyst and author (b. 1909).

Timothy Leary

Timothy Francis Leary (22 October 1920 to 31 May 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for his strong advocacy of psychedelic drugs. Evaluations of Leary are polarized, ranging from bold oracle to publicity hound. He was “a hero of American consciousness”, according to Allen Ginsberg, and Tom Robbins called him a “brave neuronaut”.

As a clinical psychologist at Harvard University, Leary worked on the Harvard Psilocybin Project from 1960 to 1962 (LSD and psilocybin were still legal in the United States at the time), resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. The scientific legitimacy and ethics of his research were questioned by other Harvard faculty because he took psychedelics along with research subjects and pressured students to join in. However, the claims that Leary pressured unwilling students are refuted by at least one of Leary’s students, Robert Thurman. Leary and his colleague, Richard Alpert (who later became known as Ram Dass), were fired from Harvard University in May 1963. Most people first heard of psychedelics after the Harvard scandal.

Leary believed that LSD showed potential for therapeutic use in psychiatry. He used LSD himself and developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal truth through LSD. After leaving Harvard, he continued to publicly promote the use of psychedelic drugs and became a well-known figure of the counterculture of the 1960s. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy, such as “turn on, tune in, drop out”, “set and setting”, and “think for yourself and question authority”. He also wrote and spoke frequently about transhumanist concepts of space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension (SMI²LE). Leary developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977) and gave lectures, occasionally billing himself as a “performing philosopher”.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he was arrested often enough to see the inside of 36 prisons worldwide. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as “the most dangerous man in America”.

Hans Keilson

Hans Alex Keilson (12 December 1909 to 31 May 2011) was a German-Dutch novelist, poet, psychoanalyst and child psychologist. He was best known for his novels set during the Second World War, during which he was an active member of the Dutch resistance.

Keilson, having worked with traumatised orphans, mainly wrote about traumas induced by the war. His first novel was published in 1934, but most of his works were published after the war. In 2010, The New York Times ‘s Francine Prose described Keilson as “one of the world’s greatest writers”, notably honouring Keilson’s achievements in the year in which he turned 101 years old.

What is Relational Psychoanalysis?

Introduction

Relational psychoanalysis is a school of psychoanalysis in the United States that emphasizes the role of real and imagined relationships with others in mental disorder and psychotherapy. ‘Relational psychoanalysis is a relatively new and evolving school of psychoanalytic thought considered by its founders to represent a “paradigm shift” in psychoanalysis’.

Relational psychoanalysis began in the 1980s as an attempt to integrate interpersonal psychoanalysis’s emphasis on the detailed exploration of interpersonal interactions with British object relations theory’s ideas about the psychological importance of internalised relationships with other people. Relationalists argue that personality emerges from the matrix of early formative relationships with parents and other figures. Philosophically, relational psychoanalysis is closely allied with social constructionism.

Drives versus Relationships

An important difference between relational theory and traditional psychoanalytic thought is in its theory of motivation, which would ‘assign primary importance to real interpersonal relations, rather than to instinctual drives’. Freudian theory, with a few exceptions, proposes that human beings are motivated by sexual and aggressive drives. These drives are biologically rooted and innate. They are ultimately not shaped by experience.

Relationalists, on the other hand, argue that the primary motivation of the psyche is to be in relationships with others. As a consequence early relationships, usually with primary caregivers, shape one’s expectations about the way in which one’s needs are met. Therefore, desires and urges cannot be separated from the relational contexts in which they arise; motivation is then seen as being determined by the systemic interaction of a person and his or her relational world. Individuals attempt to re-create these early learned relationships in ongoing relationships that may have little or nothing to do with those early relationships. This re-creation of relational patterns serves to satisfy the individuals’ needs in a way that conforms with what they learned as infants. This re-creation is called an enactment.

Techniques

When treating patients, relational psychoanalysts stress a mixture of waiting and authentic spontaneity. Some relationally oriented psychoanalysts eschew the traditional Freudian emphasis on interpretation and free association, instead emphasising the importance of creating a lively, genuine relationship with the patient. However, many others place a great deal of importance on the Winnicottian concept of “holding” and are far more restrained in their approach, generally giving weight to well formulated interpretations made at what seems to be the proper time. Overall, relational analysts feel that psychotherapy works best when the therapist focuses on establishing a healing relationship with the patient, in addition to focusing on facilitating insight. They believe that in doing so, therapists break patients out of the repetitive patterns of relating to others that they believe maintain psychopathology. Noteworthy too is ‘the emphasis relational psychoanalysis places on the mutual construction of meaning in the analytic relationship’.

Authors

Stephen A. Mitchell has been described as the “most influential relational psychoanalyst”. His 1983 book, co-written with Jay Greenberg and called Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory is considered to be the first major work of relational psychoanalysis. Prior work especially by Sabina Spielrein in the 1910s to 1930s is often cited, particularly by Adrienne Harris and others who connect feminism with the field, but as part of the prior Freud/Jung/Spielrein tradition.

Other important relational authors include Neil Altman, Lewis Aron, Hugo Bleichmar, Philip Bromberg, Nancy Chodorow, Susan Coates, Jody Davies, Emmanuel Ghent, Adrienne Harris, Irwin Hirsch, Irwin Z. Hoffman, Karen Maroda, Stuart Pizer, Owen Renik, Ramón Riera, Daniel Schechter, Joyce Slochower, Martha Stark, Ruth Stein, Donnel Stern, Robert Stolorow, Jeremy D. Safran and Jessica Benjamin – the latter pursuing the ‘goal of creating a genuinely feminist and philosophically informed relational psychoanalysis’. A significant historian and philosophical contributor is Philip Cushman.

Criticisms

Psychoanalyst and philosopher Jon Mills has offered a number of substantial criticisms of the relational movement. Mills evidently thinks this “paradigm shift” to relational psychoanalysis is not exclusively due to theoretical differences with classical psychoanalysis but also arises from a certain group mentality and set of interests: “Relational psychoanalysis is an American phenomenon, with a politically powerful and advantageous group of members advocating for conceptual and technical reform” from a professional psychologist group perspective: “most identified relational analysts are psychologists, as are the founding professionals associated with initiating the relational movement”.

From a theoretical perspective, Mills appears to doubt that relational psychoanalysis is as radically new as it is touted to be. In its emphasis on the developmental importance of other people, according to Mills, “relational theory is merely stating the obvious” – picking up on “a point that Freud made explicit throughout his theoretical corpus, which becomes further emphasized more significantly by early object relations therapists through to contemporary self psychologists.” Mills also criticizes the diminishing or even the loss of the significance of the unconscious in relational psychoanalysis, a point he brings up in various parts of his book Conundrums.

Psychoanalyst and historian Henry Zvi Lothane has also criticised some of the central ideas of relational psychoanalysis, from both historical and psychoanalytic perspectives. Historically, Lothane believes relational theorists overstate the non-relational aspects of Freud as ignore its relational aspects. Lothane maintains that, though Freud’s theory of disorder is “monadic,” i.e. focused more or less exclusively on the individual, Freud’s psychoanalytic method and theory of clinical practice is consistently dyadic or relational. From a theoretical perspective, Lothane has criticised the term “relational” in favour of Harry Stack Sullivan’s term “interpersonal”. Lothane developed his concepts of “reciprocal free association” as well as “dramatology” as ways of understanding the interpersonal or relational dimension of psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalyst and philosopher Aner Govrin examines the heavy price psychoanalysis paid for adopting postmodernism as their preferred epistemology. He posits that only analysts who thought they “know the truth,” created classical, interpersonal, self-psychology, ego psychology, Kleinian, Bionian, Fairbairnian, Winiccottian and other schools of thought. While the relational tradition had made extraordinary and positive contributions to psychoanalysis, and its postmodern epistemology is indeed moderate, as a political movement the American relational tradition had unwanted psychological and sociological effects on psychoanalysis. This led to a severe decline in the positive image of knowledge that is crucial for the building of new theories. Led by the relational movement, but influenced by a much broader movement in western philosophy and culture, this impact has greatly influenced international psychoanalysis. It has led not only to the disparagement of the school era but also to the devaluation of any attempt to know the truth.

Adopting a more sympathetic line of criticism, Robin S. Brown suggests that while relational thinking has done much to challenge psychoanalytic dogmatism, excessively emphasizing the formative role of social relations can culminate in its own form of authoritarianism. Brown contends that the relational shift has insufficiently addressed the role of first principles, and that this tendency might be challenged by engaging analytical psychology.

On This Day … 24 May

People (Births)

  • 1878 – Lillian Moller Gilbreth, American psychologist and engineer (d. 1972).

People (Deaths)

  • 2012 – Jacqueline Harpman, Belgian psychoanalyst and author (b. 1929).

Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth (24 May 1878 to 02 January 1972) was an American psychologist, industrial engineer, consultant, and educator who was an early pioneer in applying psychology to time-and-motion studies.

She was described in the 1940s as “a genius in the art of living.” Gilbreth, one of the first female engineers to earn a Ph.D., is considered to be the first industrial/organisational psychologist.

She and her husband, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering, especially in the areas of motion study and human factors. Cheaper by the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by two of their children (Ernestine and Frank Jr.) tell the story of their family life and describe how time-and-motion studies were applied to the organisation and daily activities of their large family. Both books were later made into feature films.

Jacqueline Harpman

Jacqueline Harpman (05 July 1929 to 24 May 2012) was a Belgian writer who wrote in French.

She was born on 05 July 1929, in Brussels, Belgium, and was later well known for her books written in French. She also worked as a psychoanalyst and lived in Etterbeek, Brussels. She died on 24 May 2012, in Brussels, Belgium, after having been severely ill for a long time. She was 82.

What is the American Psychoanalytic Association?

Introduction

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) is an association of psychoanalysts in the United States. APsaA serves as a scientific and professional organisation with a focus on education, research, and membership development.

Brief History

The American Psychoanalytic Association was founded in 1911 by Welsh neurologist and psychoanalyst Ernest Jones, with the support of Sigmund Freud. Other founders of the organisation are Adolf Meyer (psychiatrist), James Jackson Putnam, G. Lane Taneyhill, John T. MacCurdy, Trigant Burrow, and G. Alexander Young.

The APsaA is the second oldest American psychoanalytic organisation, after the New York Psychoanalytic Society which was founded a few months before by Abraham Arden Brill.

In 1991 the APsaA issued a statement allowing training of gay psychoanalysts. In 1992 the APsaA prohibited discrimination against gay people when selecting teaching faculty. In 2019 the APsaA apologised for having treated homosexuality as a mental illness.

Membership

APsaA has over 3,000 members, including 33 accredited training institutes and 38 affiliate societies. At the association’s biannual meetings held in February and June, members convene to exchange ideas, present research, and discuss training and membership issues.

On This Day … 12 May

People (Deaths)

Erik Erikson

Erik Homburger Erikson (born Erik Salomonsen; 15 June 1902 to 12 May 1994) was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings.

He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis.

His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist.

Despite lacking a bachelor’s degree, Erikson served as a professor at prominent institutions, including Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, and Yale. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Erikson as the 12th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Psychoanalytic Experience and Training

When Erikson was twenty-five, his friend Peter Blos invited him to Vienna to tutor art at the small Burlingham-Rosenfeld School for children whose affluent parents were undergoing psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud. Anna noticed Erikson’s sensitivity to children at the school and encouraged him to study psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute, where prominent analysts August Aichhorn, Heinz Hartmann, and Paul Federn were among those who supervised his theoretical studies. He specialised in child analysis and underwent a training analysis with Anna Freud. Helene Deutsch and Edward Bibring supervised his initial treatment of an adult. Simultaneously he studied the Montessori method of education, which focused on child development and sexual stages. In 1933 he received his diploma from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. This and his Montessori diploma were to be Erikson’s only earned academic credentials for his life’s work.

On This Day … 09 May

People (Births)

  • 1893 – William Moulton Marston, American psychologist and author (d. 1947).

People (Deaths)

  • 2012 – Bertram Cohler, American psychologist, psychoanalyst, and academic (b. 1938).

William Moulton Marston

William Moulton Marston (09 May 1893 to 02 May 1947), also known by the pen name Charles Moulton, was an American psychologist who, with his wife Elizabeth Holloway, invented an early prototype of the lie detector. He was also known as a self-help author and comic book writer who created the character Wonder Woman.

Two women, his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and their polyamorous life partner, Olive Byrne, greatly influenced Wonder Woman’s creation.

He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.

Psychologist and Inventor

Marston was the creator of the systolic blood pressure test, which became one component of the modern polygraph invented by John Augustus Larson in Berkeley, California. Marston’s wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, suggested a connection between emotion and blood pressure to William, observing that, “[w]hen she got mad or excited, her blood pressure seemed to climb”.

Although Elizabeth is not listed as Marston’s collaborator in his early work, Lamb, Matte (1996), and others refer directly and indirectly to Elizabeth’s own work on her husband’s research. She also appears in a picture taken in his laboratory in the 1920s (reproduced by Marston, 1938).

Marston set out to commercialise Larson’s invention of the polygraph, when he subsequently embarked on a career in entertainment and comic book writing and appeared as a salesman in ads for Gillette Razors, using a polygraph motif. From his psychological work, Marston became convinced that women were more honest than men in certain situations and could work faster and more accurately. During his lifetime, Marston championed the latent abilities and causes of the women of his day.

Marston was also a writer of essays in popular psychology. And he published a 1928 book Emotions of Normal People, a defence of many sexual taboos, using much of Byrne’s original research she had done for her doctorate. He dedicated the work to her, Holloway, his mother, his aunt, and Huntley. It received almost no attention from the rest of the academic community other than a review, written by Byrne herself, under her alternative name Olive Richard in The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology.

Emotions of Normal People also elaborated on the DISC Theory. Marston viewed people behaving along two axes, with their attention being either passive or active, depending on the individual’s perception of his or her environment as either favourable or antagonistic. By placing the axes at right angles, four quadrants form, with each describing a behavioural pattern:

  • Dominance produces activity in an antagonistic environment.
  • Inducement produces activity in a favourable environment.
  • Submission produces passivity in a favourable environment.
  • Compliance produces passivity in an antagonistic environment.

Marston posited that there is a masculine notion of freedom that is inherently anarchic and violent and an opposing feminine notion based on “Love Allure” that leads to an ideal state of submission to loving authority.

Bertram Cohler

Bertram Joseph Cohler (03 December 1938 to 09 May 2012) was an American psychologist, psychoanalyst, and educator primarily associated with the University of Chicago, the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, and Harvard University. He advocated a life course approach to understanding human experience and subjectivity, drawing on insights from psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, personology, psychological anthropology, narrative studies, and the interdisciplinary field of human development.

Cohler authored or co-authored over 200 articles and books. He contributed to numerous scholarly fields, including the study of adversity, resilience and coping; mental illness and treatment; family and social relations in normal development and mental illness; and the study of personal narrative in social and historical context. He made particular contributions to the study of sexual identity over the life course, to the psychoanalytic understanding of homosexuality, and to the study of personal narratives of Holocaust survivors.

Other than his graduate study at Harvard, Cohler spent his career at the University of Chicago and affiliated institutions, where he was repeatedly recognized as an educator and a builder of bridges across disciplines.

He was treated for oesophageal cancer in 2011, but became ill from a related pneumonia and died on 09 May 2012 not far from his home in Hyde Park, Chicago.