The Mystery of Personality: A History of Psychodynamic Theories

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Springer Science & Business Media, 7 lug 2009 - 405 pagine

In The Mystery of Personality: A History of Psychodynamic Theories, acclaimed professor and historian Eugene Taylor synthesizes the field’s first century and a half into a rich, highly readable account. Taylor situates the dynamic school in its catalytic place in history, re-evaluating misunderstood figures and events, re-creating the heady milieu of discovery as the concept of "mental science" dawns across Europe, revisiting the widening rift between clinical and experimental study (or the couch and the lab) as early psychology matured into legitimate science.

Gradual but vital evolutions form the heart of this chronicle: the ebb and flow of analytic theory and practice, the shift from doctor-centered to client-centered therapy, the movement from exclusionary to multidisciplinary, the evolving role of the therapist. And as can be expected from the author, there is special emphasis on the sublime in psychology: the philosophy/psychology fusion of the New England transcendentalists, the battle between spiritualism and science in 1880s America, and early versions of today’s spiritually-attuned therapies. Pivotal concepts and key individuals covered are:

  • Charcot, Janet, and the origins of dynamic personality theory in the so-called French, Swiss, English, and American psychotherapeutic axis.
  • Person and personality: William James’s "radical empiricism"
  • The rise of psychoanalysis: Freud, the Freudians, and the Neo-Freudians
  • Adler and Jung, who were never "students" of Freud: Toward, within, and beyond the self
  • Murray, Allport, and Lewin at Harvard in the 30s
  • Culture and personality, pastoral counseling, and Gestalt Psychology in New York in the ‘40s and ‘50s
  • An Existential-humanistic and Transpersonally oriented depth psychology in the 60s
  • The current era: "science confronts itself", as neuroscience enters the picture.

Students of psychology and its history will find in this inspiring narrative both possibilities for further study and a new appreciation of their own work. The Mystery of Personality: A History of Psychodynamic Theories is a stimulating course conducted by a master teacher.


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Personality Consciousness and Psychotherapeutics
2 Charcots Axis
4 The Freudians
5 The NeoFreudians
6 Jung and Complex Psychology
7 Adlers Menschenkenntnis
8 Psychodynamics Gestalt Psychology and Personality Theory at Harvard
9 Anthropologists Gestaltists Jungians and the Pastoral Theologians of New York
10 An ExistentialHumanistic and Transpersonally Oriented Depth Psychology
11 Neuroscience and the Future of the Self
12 Epilogue

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Informazioni sull'autore (2009)

Eugene Taylor holds the AB and MA in general experimental psychology and Asian studies from Southern Methodist University and the PhD in the history and philosophy of psychology from the University Professors Program at Boston University. He was a 1983 Lowell Lecturer for the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Boston Medical Library; the 1984 William James Lecturer on The Varieties of Religious Experience at Harvard Divinity School; and the 1986 Gardner Murphy Memorial Lecture for the American Society for Psychical Research. And for the past 18 years has given the annual Wilfred Gould Rice Lecture on Psychology and Religion for the Swedenborg Society at Harvard. He is a co-author with Benjamin White and Richard Wolfe of Stanley Cobb: Builder of the Modern Neurosciences (1984); and author of William James on Exceptional Mental States (1983); William James on Consciousness Beyond the Margin (1996) with Robert Wozniak (eds) Pure Experience: The Response to William James(1996); and forthcoming, William James and the Spiritual Roots of American Pragmatism His primary academic affiliation is at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, a graduate program in distance learning for mid-career adults, where he is a member of the Executive Faculty. He is also a Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and functions as the Historian in Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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