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 … 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 … 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 … 15 September

People (Deaths)

Jurg Schubiger

Jürg Schubiger (14 October 1936 to 15 September 2014) was a Swiss psychotherapist and writer of children’s books. He won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Award) in 1996 for Als die Welt noch jung war.

For his “lasting contribution” as a children’s writer Schubiger received the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2008. The award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

On This Day … 12 September

People (Births)

  • 1914 – Rais Amrohvi, Pakistani psychoanalyst, poet, and scholar (d. 1988).
  • 1922 – Mark Rosenzweig, American psychologist and academic (d. 2009).

People (Deaths)

  • 1986 – Charlotte Wolff, German-English psychotherapist and physician (b. 1897).

Rais Amrohvi

Rais Amrohvi (Urdu: رئیس امروہوی‎), whose real name was Syed Muhammad Mehdi (1914-1988) 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.

Mark Rosenzweig

Mark Richard Rosenzweig (12 September 1922 to 20 July 2009) was an American research psychologist whose research on neuroplasticity in animals indicated that the adult brain remains capable of anatomical remodelling and reorganisation based on life experiences, overturning the conventional wisdom that the brain reached full maturity in childhood.

Charlotte Wolff

Charlotte Wolff (30 September 1897 to 12 September 1986) was a German-British physician who worked as a psychotherapist and wrote on sexology and hand analysis. Her writings on lesbianism and bisexuality were influential early works in the field.

On This Day … 10 September

People (Deaths)

  • 1988 – Virginia Satir, American psychotherapist and author (b. 1916).
  • 2015 – Norman Farberow, American psychologist and academic (b. 1918).

Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir (26 June 1916 to 10 September 1988) was an influential American author and psychotherapist, recognised for her approach to family therapy. Her pioneering work in the field of family reconstruction therapy honoured her with the title “Mother of Family Therapy”. Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.

She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model developed through clinical studies. Change management and organisational gurus of the 1990s and 2000s embrace this model to define how change impacts organisations.

Norman Farberow

Norman Louis Farberow (12 February 1918 to 10 September 2015) was an American psychologist, and one of the founding fathers of modern suicidology.

He was among the three founders in 1958 of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Centre, which became a base of research into the causes and prevention of suicide.

On This Day … 02 September

People (Births)

  • 1901 – Andreas Embirikos, Greek psychoanalyst and poet (d. 1975).

People (Deaths)

  • 1997 – Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1905).

Andreas Embirikos

Andreas Embirikos (02 September 1901 to 03 August 1975) was a Greek surrealist poet and one of the first Greek psychoanalysts.

While he was still a teenager his parents divorced; he started studying at the School of Philosophy of the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, but he decided to move to Lausanne to stay with his mother without graduating from the university.

The following years Embirikos studied a variety of subjects both in France and in the United Kingdom where he studied at King’s College London; however it was in Paris where he decided to study psychanalysis together with René Laforgue and joined the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Viktor Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 to 02 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor.

He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy which describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Logotherapy is part of existential and humanistic psychology theories.

Logotherapy was recognized as the third school of Viennese Psychotherapy. The first school by Sigmund Freud, and the second school by Alfred Adler.

Frankl published 39 books. The autobiographical Man’s Search for Meaning, a best-selling book, is based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps.

On This Day … 21 August

People (Births)

  • 1921 – Reuven Feuerstein, Romanian-Israeli psychologist and academic (d. 2014).

People (Deaths)

Reuven Feuerstein

Reuven Feuerstein (21 August 1921 to 29 April 2014) was an Israeli clinical, developmental, and cognitive psychologist, known for his theory of intelligence which states “it is not ‘fixed’, but rather modifiable”. Feuerstein is recognised for his work in developing the theories and applied systems of structural cognitive modifiability, mediated learning experience, cognitive map, deficient cognitive functions, learning propensity assessment device, instrumental enrichment programmes, and shaping modifying environments. These interlocked practices provide educators with the skills and tools to systematically develop students’ cognitive functions and operations to build meta-cognition.

Feuerstein was the founder and director of the International Centre for the Enhancement of Learning Potential (ICELP) in Jerusalem, Israel. For more than 50 years, Feuerstein’s theories and applied systems have been implemented in both clinical and classroom settings internationally, with more than 80 countries applying his work. Feuerstein’s theory on the malleability of intelligence has led to more than 2,000 scientific research studies and countless case studies with various learning populations.

Helen Bamber

Helen Rae Bamber OBE, née Helen Balmuth (01 May 1925 to 21 August 2014), was a British psychotherapist and human rights activist. She worked with Holocaust survivors in Germany after the concentration camps were liberated in 1945. In 1947, she returned to Britain and continued her work, helping to establish Amnesty International and later co-founding the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. In 2005, she created the Helen Bamber Foundation to help survivors of human rights violations.

Throughout her life, Bamber worked with those who were the most marginalised: Holocaust survivors, asylum-seekers, refugees, victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland, trafficked men, women and children, survivors of genocide, torture, rape, female genital mutilation, British former Far East prisoners of war, former hostages and other people who suffered torture abroad. She worked in many countries including Gaza, Kosovo, Uganda, Turkey and Northern Ireland.

What is Acting Out?

Introduction

In the psychology of defence mechanisms and self-control, acting out is the performance of an action considered bad or anti-social. In general usage, the action performed is destructive to self or to others.

The term is used in this way in sexual addiction treatment, psychotherapy, criminology and parenting. In contrast, the opposite attitude or behaviour of bearing and managing the impulse to perform one’s impulse is called acting in.

The performed action may follow impulses of an addiction (e.g. drinking, drug taking or shoplifting). It may also be a means designed (often unconsciously or semi-consciously) to garner attention (e.g. throwing a tantrum or behaving promiscuously). Acting out may inhibit the development of more constructive responses to the feelings in question.

In Analysis

Sigmund Freud considered that patients in analysis tended to act out their conflicts in preference to remembering them – repetition compulsion. The analytic task was then to help “the patient who does not remember anything of what he has forgotten and repressed, but acts it out” to replace present activity by past memory.

Otto Fenichel added that acting out in an analytic setting potentially offered valuable insights to the therapist; but was nonetheless a psychological resistance in as much as it deals only with the present at the expense of concealing the underlying influence of the past. Lacan also spoke of “the corrective value of acting out”, though others qualified this with the proviso that such acting out must be limited in the extent of its destructive/self-destructiveness.

Annie Reich pointed out that the analyst may use the patient by acting out in an indirect countertransference, for example to win the approval of a supervisor.

Interpretations

The interpretation of a person’s acting out and an observer’s response varies considerably, with context and subject usually setting audience expectations.

In Parenting

Early years, temper tantrums can be understood as episodes of acting out. As young children will not have developed the means to communicate their feelings of distress, tantrums prove an effective and achievable method of alerting parents to their needs and requesting attention.

As children develop they often learn to replace these attention-gathering strategies with more socially acceptable and constructive communications. In adolescent years, acting out in the form of rebellious behaviours such as smoking, shoplifting and drug use can be understood as “a cry for help.” Such pre-delinquent behaviour may be a search for containment from parents or other parental figures. The young person may seem to be disruptive – and may well be disruptive – but this behaviour is often underpinned by an inability to regulate emotions in some other way.

In Addiction

In behavioural or substance addiction, acting out can give the addict the illusion of being in control. Many people who suffer with addiction, either refuse to admit they struggle with it, or some do not even realise they have an addiction. For most people, when their addiction is addressed, they become defensive and act out. This can be a result of multiple emotions including shame, fear of judgement, or anger. It is important to be patient and understanding towards those who suffer with addiction, and to realise that most people want to break free from the symptoms and baggage that come with addiction, but do not know how or where to start. Thankfully, there are many preventative measures and programs than can help those who personally struggle with addiction, or for those who have a friend or family member that suffers with addiction.

In Criminology

Criminologists debate whether juvenile delinquency is a form of acting out, or rather reflects wider conflicts involved in the process of socialisation. Deviant behaviour is commonly associated with crime and social deviance. Many of those who are involved in crime, usually grew up in broken homes, or had no authority figure in their life. For some, a life of crime is all they have ever known. This could be a reason as to why there is a debate over whether or not juvenile delinquency is a form of acting out.

Alternatives

Acting out painful feelings may be contrasted with expressing them in ways more helpful to the sufferer, e.g. by talking out, expressive therapy, psychodrama or mindful awareness of the feelings. Developing the ability to express one’s conflicts safely and constructively is an important part of impulse control, personal development and self-care.

Book: An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Book Title:

An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.

Author(s): John McLeod.

Year: 2019.

Edition: Sixth (6th).

Publisher: Open University Press.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

John McLeod’s bestseller provides a comprehensive, research-informed overview of the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy. This new edition has been expanded to cover emerging aspects of contemporary practice, such as debates around neuroscience and integration; third-wave cognitive–behavioural therapies such as ACT, mindfulness and FAP; the experience of being a client; motivational interviewing; interpersonal psychotherapy; social dimensions of therapy; leaving therapy; gender and sexuality; spirituality; and key counselling and therapeutic skills and techniques.

This sixth edition has been fully updated and revised throughout and is separated into a four-part structure for easy navigation.