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Synthesis is the act of creating something new from multiple existing entities. Synthesis of research, then, is creating a new idea from existing ideas. It is a process developed through time and practice. In this assignment, you will apply the synthesis process to the journal readings from modules 5-7. Keep in mind that Several of Freud’s early colleagues and supporters splintered away from his model for different reasons.
Use the following information to ensure successful completion of the assignment:
- Refer to the annotated bibliography and outline you created in the Module 6 assignment along with any feedback from your instructor.
- Review the journal readings from Modules 5 and 6 of this course. You may wish to create annotations for the readings from Module 7 for use in the synthesis process.
- This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
- Doctoral learners are required to use APA style for their writing assignments. The APA Style Guide is located in the Student Success Center.
- You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Refer to the directions in the Student Success Center.
Locate the annotated bibliography and outline you created in the Module 6 assignment. Using the outline you developed, the information from the annotated bibliography, and the feedback provided by your instructor, write a paper (2,000-2,250 words) that synthesizes all of the articles assigned in the Modules 5-7 of this course. Do that by including the following:
- A statement of common themes addressed in each of the articles.
- A statement of the conclusions that can be drawn when the articles are taken together as a single entity. What is the overall message of the group of articles? Focus specifically on the key aspects of Freudian thought which caused these other theorists to distance themselves from Freud’s views and influence. Consider also the major differences among themselves which caused them to diverge from one another.
Synthesis of Articles-7 Pages due in 13 hours
4. Social Psychological Theories: Adler, Fromm, Homey, and Sullivan T he psychoanalytic theories of personality formulated by Freud and Jung were nurtured by the same positivistic climate that shaped the course of nineteenth century physics and biology. Man was regarded primarily as a complex energy system which maintains itself by means of transactions with the external world. The ultimate purposes of these transactions are individual survival, propagation of the species, and an ongoing evolutionary de- velopment. The various psychological processes that constitute the personality serve these ends. According to the evolutionary doctrine some personalities are better fitted than others to perform these tasks. Consequently, the concept of variation and the distinction between ad- justment and maladjustment conditioned the thinking of the early psy- choanalysts. Even academic psychology was swept into the orbit of Darwinism and became preoccupied with the measurement of indi- vidual differences in abilities and with the adaptive or functional value of psychological processes. At the same time, other intellectual trends which were at variance with a purely biophysical conception of man were beginning to take shape. During the later years of the nineteenth century, sociology and anthropology began to emerge as independent disciplines and their rapid growth during the present century has been phenomenal. While sociologists studied man living in a state of advanced civiliza- tion and found him to be a product of his class and caste, his insti- 114 Social Psychological Theories 115 tutions and folkways, anthropologists ventured into remote areas of the world where they found evidence that human beings are almost infinitely malleable. According to these new social sciences, man is chiefly a product of the society in which he lives. His personality is social rather than biological. Gradually, these burgeoning social and cultural doctrines began to seep into psychology and psychoanalysis and to erode the nativistic and physicalistic foundations of these sciences. A number of followers of Freud who became dissatisfied with his myopia regarding the so- cial conditioners of personality withdrew their allegiance from clas- sical psychoanalysis and began to refashion psychoanalytic theory along lines dictated by the new orientation developed by the social sciences. Among those who provided psychoanalytic theory with the twentieth century look of social psychology are the four people whose ideas form the content of the present chapter—Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, and Harry Stack Sullivan. Of these four, Al- fred Adler may be regarded as the ancestral figure of the “new social psychological look” because as early as 1911 he broke with Freud over the issue of sexuality, and proceeded to develop a theory in which social interest and a striving for superiority became two of its most substantial conceptual pillars. Later, Horney and Fromm took up the cudgels against the strong instinctivist orientation of psychoanalysis and insisted upon the relevance of social psychological variables for personality theory. Finally, Harry Stack Sullivan in his theory of in- terpersonal relations consolidated the position of a personality theory grounded in social processes. Although each of the theories has its own distinctive assumptions and concepts, there are numerous paral- lels among them which have been pointed out by various writers (James, 1947; Ruth Munroe, 1955; and H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, 1956). Our choice of the major figure for this chapter, Harry Stack Sul- livan, is dictated primarily by our belief that he brought his ideas to a higher level of conceptualization and consequently has been a more pervasively influential theorist. Sullivan was considerably more inde- pendent of prevailing psychoanalytic doctrines; although he earlier used the Freudian framework, in his later work he developed a theo- retical system which deviated markedly from the Freudian one. He was profoundly influenced by anthropology and social psychology. Both Horney and Fromm, on the other hand, kept well within the province of psychoanalysis in their thinking; Adler, although a sepa- ratist from the Freudian school, continued to show the impact of his 116 Theories of Personality early association with Freud throughout his life. Homey and Fromm are usually referred to as revisionists or neo-Freudians. Neither of them engaged in developing a new theory of personality; rather they regarded themselves as renovators and elaboraters of an old theory. Sullivan was much more of an innovator. He was a highly original thinker who attracted a large group of devoted disciples and devel- oped what is sometimes called a new school of psychiatry. ALFRED ADLER Alfred Adler was born in Vienna in 1870 of a middle-class family and died in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1937 while on a lecture tour. He received a medical degree in 1895 from the University of Vienna. At first he specialized in ophthalmology and then, after a period of prac- tice in general medicine, he became a psychiatrist. He was one of the charter members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and later its president. However, Adler soon began to develop ideas which were at variance with those of Freud and others in the Vienna So- ciety, and when these differences became acute he was asked to pre- sent his views to the society. This he did in 1911 and as a conse- quence of the vehement criticism and denunciation of Adler’s posi- tion by other members of the society, Adler resigned as president and a few months later terminated his connection with Freudian psycho- analysis (Colby, 1951; Jones, 1955; H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, 1956). He then formed his own group, which came to be known as In- dividual Psychology and which attracted followers throughout the world. During the First World War, Adler served as a physician in the Austrian army and after the war he became interested in child guidance and established the first guidance clinics in connection with the Viennese school system. He also inspired the establishment of an experimental school in Vienna which applied his theories of edu- cation. In 1935 Adler settled in the United States where he continued his practice as a psychiatrist and served as Professor of Medical Psy- chology at the Long Island College of Medicine. Adler was a pro- lific writer and published a hundred books and articles during his lifetime. The practice and theory of individual psychology (1927) is probably the best introduction to Adler’s theory of personality- Shorter digests of Adler’s views appear in the Psychologies of 1930 (1930) and in the International Journal of Individual Psychology (1935). Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher recently edited and anno- Social Psychological Theories 117 tated an extensive selection of passages from Adler’s writings (1956) which is the best single source of information about Adler’s Indi- vidual Psychology. Phyllis Bottome has written a book-length biog- raphy of Adler (1939). Adler’s ideas are promulgated in the United States by the American Society of Individual Psychology with branches in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and through its journal, The American Journal of Individual Psychology. In sharp contrast to Freud’s major assumption that man’s behavior is motivated by inborn instincts and Jung’s principal axiom that man’s conduct is governed by inborn archetypes, Adler assumed that man is motivated primarily by social urges. Man is, according to Adler, inherently a social being. He relates himself to other people, en- gages in co-operative social activities, places social welfare above sel- fish interest, and acquires a style of life which is predominantly so- cial in orientation. Adler did not say that man becomes socialized merely by being exposed to social processes; social interest is inborn although the specific types of relationships with people and social in- stitutions which develop are determined by the nature of the society into which a person is born. In one sense, then, Adler is just as bio- logical in his viewpoint as are Freud and Jung. All three assume that man has an inherent nature which shapes his personality. Freud emphasized sex, Jung emphasized primordial thought patterns, and Adler stressed social interest. This emphasis upon the social deter- minants of behavior which had been overlooked or minimized by Freud and Jung is probably Adler’s greatest contribution to psycho- logical theory. It turned the attention of psychologists to the impor- tance of social variables and helped to develop the field of social psy- chology at a time when social psychology needed encouragement and support, especially from the ranks of psychoanalysis. Adler’s second major contribution to personality theory is his con- cept of the creative self. Unlike Freud’s ego which consists of a group of psychological processes serving the ends of inborn instincts, Alder’s self is a highly personalized, subjective system which inter- prets and makes meaningful the experiences of the organism. More- over, it searches for experiences which will aid in fulfilling the per- son’s unique style of life; if these experiences are not to be found in the world the self tries to create them. This concept of a creative self was new to psychoanalytic theory and it helped to compensate for the extreme “objectivism” of classical psychoanalysis, which relied almost entirely upon biological needs and external stimuli to account for the dynamics of personality. As we shall see in other chapters, 118 Theories of Personality the concept of the self has played a major role in recent formulations regarding personality. Adler’s contribution to this new trend of rec- ognizing the self as an important cause of behavior is considered to be a very significant one (H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, 1956). A third feature of Adler’s psychology which sets it apart from clas- sical psychoanalysis is its emphasis upon the uniqueness of person- ality. Adler considered each person to be a unique configuration of motives, traits, interests, and values; every act performed by the per- son bears the stamp of his own distinctive style of life. In this re- spect, Adler belongs to the tradition of William James and Wilhelm Stern who are said to have laid the foundation for personalistic psy- chology. Adler’s theory of the person minimized the sexual instinct which in Freud’s early theorizing had played an almost exclusive role in the dynamics of behavior. To this Freudian monologue on sex, Adler added other significant voices. Man is primarily a social and not a sexual creature. He is motivated by social and not by sexual interest. His inferiorities are not limited to the sexual domain, but may extend to all facets of his being, both physical and psychological. He strives to develop a unique style of life in which the sexual drive plays a minor role. In fact, the way in which he satisfies his sexual needs is determined by his style of life and not vice versa. Adler’s dethron- ing of sex was for many people a welcome relief from the monot- onous pansexualism of Freud. Finally, Adler made consciousness the center of personality. Man is a conscious being; he is ordinarily aware of the reasons for his behavior. He is conscious of his inferiorities and conscious of the goals for which he strives. More than that, he is a self-conscious in- dividual who is capable of planning and guiding his actions with full awareness of their meaning for his own self-realization. This is the complete antithesis of Freud’s theory which had virtually reduced consciousness to the status of a nonentity, a mere froth floating on the great sea of the unconscious. MAJOR CONCEPTS Alfred Adler, like other personality theorists whose primary train- ing was in medicine and who practiced psychiatry, began his theo- rizing in the field of abnormal psychology. He formulated a theory of neurosis before broadening his theoretical scope to include the normal personality, which occurred during the 1920’s (H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, 1956). Adler’s theory of personality is an extremely Social Psychological Theories 119 economical one in the sense that a few basic concepts sustain the whole theoretical structure. For that reason, Adler’s viewpoint can be rather quickly sketched under a few general rubrics. These are (1) fictional finalism, (2) striving for superiority, (3) inferiority feel- ings and compensation, (4) social interest, (5) style of life, and (6) the creative self. FICTIONAL FINALISM. Shortly after Adler dissociated himself from the circle that surrounded Freud, he fell under the philosophical in- fluence of Hans Vaihinger whose book The psychology of “as if (English translation, 1925) had been published in 1911. Vaihinger propounded the curious and intriguing notion that man lives by many purely fictional ideas which have no counterpart in reality. These fictions, for example, “all men are created equal,” “honesty is the best policy,” and “the end justifies the means,” enable man to deal more effectively with reality. They are auxiliary constructs or assumptions and not hypotheses which can be tested and confirmed. They can be dispensed with when their usefulness has disappeared. Adler took over this philosophical doctrine of idealistic positivism and bent it to his own design. Freud, it will be recalled, laid great stress upon constitutional factors and experiences during early child- hood as determiners of personality. Adler discovered in Vaihinger the rebuttal to this rigid historical determinism; he found the idea that man is motivated more by his expectations of the future than he is by experiences of the past. These goals do not exist in the fu- ture as a part of some teleological design—neither Vaihinger nor Adler believed in predestination or fatality—rather they exist subjec- tively or mentally here and now as strivings or ideals which affect present behavior. If a person believes, for example, that there is a heaven for virtuous people and a hell for sinners this fiction, it may be presumed, will exercise considerable influence on his conduct. These fictional goals were, for Adler, the subjective causation of psy- chological events. Like Jung, Adler identified Freud’s theory with the principle of causality and his own with the principle of finalism. Individual Psychology insists absolutely on the indispensability of final- ism for the understanding of all psychological phenomena. Causes, pow- ers, instincts, impulses, and the like cannot serve as explanatory princi- ples. The final goal alone can explain man’s behavior. Experiences, traumata, sexual development mechanisms cannot yield an explanation, but the perspective in which these are regarded, the individual way of seeing them, which subordinates all life to the final goal, can do rt> (1930, p. 400). 120 Theories of Personality This final goal may be a fiction, that is, an ideal which is impossible to realize but which is nonetheless a very real spur to man’s striving and the ultimate explanation of his conduct. Adler believed, how- ever, that the normal person could free himself from the influence of these fictions and face reality when necessity demanded, some- thing that the neurotic person is incapable of doing. STRIVING FOR SUPERIORITY. What is the final goal toward which all men strive and which gives consistency and unity to personality? By 1908, Adler had reached the conclusion that aggression was more important than sexuality. A little later, the aggressive impulse was replaced by the “will to power.” Adler identified power with mas- culinity and weakness with femininity. It was at this stage of his thinking (circa 1910) that he set forth the idea of the “masculine protest,” a form of overcompensation that both men and women in- dulge in when they feel inadequate and inferior. Later, Adler aban- doned the “will to power” in favor of the “striving for superiority,” to which he remained committed thereafter. Thus, there were three stages in his thinking regarding the final goal of man: to be aggres- sive, to be powerful, and to be superior. Adler makes it very clear that by superiority he does not mean social distinction, leadership, or a pre-eminent position in society. By superiority, Adler means something very analogous to Jung’s concept of the self or Goldstein’s principle of self-actualization. It is a striv- ing for perfect completion. It is “the great upward drive.” I began to see clearly in every psychological phenomenon the striving for superiority. It runs parallel to physical growth and is an intrinsic necessity of life itself. It lies at the root of all solutions of life’s prob- lems and is manifested in the way in which we meet these problems. All our functions follow its direction. They strive for conquest, security, increase, either in the right or in the wrong direction. The impetus from minus to plus never ends. The urge from below to above never ceases. Whatever premises all our philosophers and psychologists dream of—self-preservation, pleasure principle, equalization—all these are but vague representations, attempts to express the great upward drive (1930, p. 398). Where does the striving for superiority or perfection come from? Adler says that it is innate; that it is a part of life; in fact, that it is life itself. From birth to death, the striving for superiority carries the person from one stage of development to the next higher stage. It is a prepotent dynamic principle. There are no separate drives, for each drive receives its power from the striving for completion. Adler acknowledges that the striving for superiority may manifest it- Social Psychological Theories 121 self in a thousand different ways, and that each person has his own concrete mode of achieving or trying to achieve perfection. The neurotic person, for example, strives for self-esteem, power, and self- aggrandizement—in other words, for egoistic or selfish goals—whereas the normal person strives for goals that are primarily social in char- acter. Precisely how do the particular forms of the striving for superiority come into being in the individual? In order to answer this question it is necessary to discuss Adler’s concept of inferiority feelings. INFERIORITY FEELINGS AND COMPENSATION. Very early in his career, while he was still interested in general medicine, Adler put forth the idea of organ inferiority and overcompensation (English translation, 1917). At that time, he was interested in finding the answer to the perennial question of why people, when they became sick or suffer some affliction, became sick or afflicted in a particular region of the body. One person develops heart trouble, another lung trouble, and a third lumbago. Adler suggested that the reason for the site of a particular affliction was a basic inferiority in that region, an infe- riority which existed either by virtue of heredity or because of some developmental abnormalty. He then observed that a person with a defective organ often tries to compensate for the weakness by strength- ening it through intensive training. The most famous example of compensation for organ inferiority is that of Demosthenes who stut- tered as a child and became one of the world’s greatest orators. An- other more recent example is that of Theodore Roosevelt who was a weakling in his youth and developed himself by systematic exercise into a physically stalwart man. Shortly after he had published his monograph on organ inferiority Adler broadened the concept to include any feelings of inferiority, those that arise from subjectively felt psychological or social disabil- ities as well as those that stem from actual bodily weakness or im- pairment. At this time, Adler equated inferiority with unmanliness or femininity, the compensation for which was called “the masculine pro- test.” Later, however, he subordinated this view to the more general one that feelings of inferiority arise from a sense of incompletion or imperfection in any sphere of life. For example, the child is mo- tivated by his feelings of inferiority to strive for a higher level of development. When he reaches this level, he begins to feel inferior again and the upward movement is initiated once more. Adler con- tended that inferiority feelings are not a sign of abnormality; they are the cause of all improvement in man’s lot. Of course, inferiority 122 Theories of Personality feelings may be exaggerated by special conditions such as pampering or rejecting the child, in which case certain abnormal manifestations may ensue, such as the development of an inferiority complex or a compensatory superiority complex. But under normal circumstances, the feeling of inferiority or a sense of incompleteness is the great driv- ing force of mankind. In other words, man is pushed by the need to overcome his inferiority and pulled by the desire to be superior. Adler was not a proponent of hedonism. Although he believed that inferiority feelings were painful he did not think that the relief of these feelings was necessarily pleasurable. Perfection, not pleasure, was for him the goal of life. SOCIAL INTEREST. During the early years of his theorizing when he was proclaiming the aggressive, power-hungry nature of man and the idea of the masculine protest as an overcompensation for feminine weakness, Adler was severly criticized for emphasizing the selfish drives of man and ignoring his social motives. Striving for superi- ority sounded like the war cry of the Nietzschean superman, a fitting companion for the Darwinian slogan of survival of the fittest. Adler, who was an advocate of social justice and a supporter of social democracy, enlarged his conception of man to include the factor of social interest (1939). Although social interest takes in such matters as co-operation, interpersonal and social relations, identi- fication with the group, empathy, and so forth, it is much broader than all of these. In its ultimate sense, social interest consists of the indi- vidual helping society to attain the goal of a perfect society. “Social interest is the true and inevitable compensation for all the natural weaknesses of individual human beings” (Adler, 1929b, p. 31). The person is embedded in a social context from the first day of life. Co-operation manifests itself in the relationship between the infant and the mother, and henceforth the person is continuously involved in a network of interpersonal relations which shape his personality and provide concrete outlets for his striving for superiority. Striving for superiority becomes socialized; the ideal of a perfect society takes the place of purely personal ambition and selfish gain. By working for the common good, man compensates for his individual weakness. Adler believed that social interest is inborn; that man is a social creature by nature, and not by habit. However, like any other natural aptitude, this innate predisposition does not appear spontaneously but has to be brought to fruition by guidance and training. Because he believed in the benefits of education Adler devoted a great deal of his time to establishing child guidance clinics, to improving the Social Psychological Theories 12S schools, and to educating the public regarding proper methods of rearing children. It is interesting to trace in Adler’s writings the decisive although gradual change that occurred in his conception of man from the early years of his professional life when he was associated with Freud to his later years when he had achieved an international reputation. For the young Adler, man is driven by an insatiable lust for power and domination in order to compensate for a concealed deep-seated feeling of inferiority. For the older Adler, man is motivated by an innately given social interest which causes him to subordinate private gain to public welfare. The image of the perfect man living in a perfect society blotted out the picture of the strong, aggressive man dominat- ing and exploiting society. Social interest replaced selfish interest. STYLE OF LIFE. This is the slogan of Adler’s personality theory. It is a recurrent theme in all of Adler’s later writings (for example, 1929a, 1931) and the most distinctive feature of his psychology. Style of life is the system principle by which the individual personality functions; it is the whole that commands the parts. Style of life is Adler’s chief idiographic principle; it is the principle that explains the uniqueness of the person. Everyone has a style of life but no two people develop the same style. Precisely what is meant by this concept? This is a difficult question to answer because Adler had so much to say about it and because he said different and sometimes conflicting things about it in his various writings. Then, too, it is difficult to differentiate it from another Adlerian concept, that of the creative self. Every person has the same goal, that of superiority, but there are innumerable ways of striving for this goal. One person tries to become superior through developing his intellect, while another bends all of his efforts to achieving muscular perfection. The intellectual has one style of life, the athlete another. The intellectual reads, studies, thinks; he lives a more sedentary and more solitary life than the active man does. He arranges the details of his existence, his domestic habits, his recreations, his daily routine, his relations to his family, friends, and acquaintances, his social activities, in accordance with his goal of intellectual superiority. Everything he does he does with an eye to this ultimate goal. All of a person’s behavior springs from his style of life. He perceives, learns, and retains what fits his style of Me, and ignores everything else. The style of life is formed very early in childhood, by the age of four or five, and from then on experiences are assimilated and utilized 124 Theories of Personality according to this unique style of life. His attitudes, feelings, apper- ceptions become fixed and mechanized at an early age, and it is prac- tically impossible for the style of life to change thereafter. The per- son may acquire new ways of expressing his unique style of life, but these are merely concrete and particular instances of the same basic style that was found at an early age. What determines the individual’s style of life? In his earlier writ- ings, Adler said that it is largely determined by the specific inferiorities, either fancied or real, that the person has. The style of life is a com- pensation for a particular inferiority. If the child is a physical weak- ling, his style of life will take the form of doing those things which will produce physical strength. The dull child will strive for intel- lectual superiority. Napoleon’s conquering style of life was deter- mined by his slight physical stature, and Hitler’s rapacious craving for world domination by his sexual impotence. This simple explana- tion of man’s conduct which appealed to so many of Adler’s readers and which was widely applied in the analysis of character during the 1920’s and 1930’s did not satisfy Adler himself. It was too simple and too mechanistic. He looked for a more dynamic principle and found the creative self. THE CREATIVE SELF. This concept is Adler’s crowning achievement as a personality theorist. When he discovered the creative self all of his other concepts were subordinated to it; here at last was the prime mover, the philosopher’s stone, the elixer of life, the first cause of every- thing human for which Adler had been searching. The unitary, con- sistent, creative self is sovereign in the personality structure. Like all first causes, the creative self is hard to describe. We can see its effects, but we cannot see it. It is something that intervenes be- tween the stimuli acting upon the person and the responses he makes to these stimuli. In essence, the doctrine of a creative self asserts that man makes his own personality. He constructs it out of the raw ma- terial of heredity and experience. Heredity only endows him with certain abilities. Environment only gives him certain impressions. These abilities and impressions, and the man- ner in which he ‘experiences’ them—that is to say, the interpretation he makes of these experiences—are the bricks which he uses in his own ‘creative’ way in building up his attitude toward life. It is his individual way of using these bricks, or in other words his attitude toward life, which determines this relationship to the outside world (Adler, 1935, p. 5). The creative self is the yeast that acts upon the facts of the world and transforms these facts into a personality that is subjective, dy- namic, unified, personal, and uniquely stylized. The creative self gives Social Psychological Theories 125 meaning to life; it creates the goal as well as the means to the goal. The creative self is the active principle of human life, and it is not un- like the older concept of soul. In summary, it may be said that Adler fashioned a humanistic theory of personality which was the antithesis of Freud’s conception of man. By endowing man with altruism, humanitarianism, co-operation, crea- tivity, uniqueness, and awareness, he restored to man a sense of dig- nity and worth that psychoanalysis had pretty largely destroyed. In place of the dreary materialistic picture which horrified and repelled many readers of Freud, Adler offered a portrait of man which was more satisfying, more hopeful, and far more complimentary to man. Adler’s conception of the nature of personality coincided with the popular idea that man can be the master, and not the victim, of his fate. CHARACTERISTIC RESEARCH AND RESEARCH METHODS Adler’s empirical observations were made largely in the therapeutic setting and consist for the most part of reconstructions of the past as remembered by the patient and appraisals of present behavior on the basis of verbal reports. There is space to mention only a few examples of Adler’s investigative activities. ORDER OF BIRTH AND PERSONALITY. In line with his interest in the social determiners of personality, Adler observed that the personalities of the oldest, middle, and youngest child in a family were likely to be quite different (1931, pp. 144-154). He attributed these differences to the distinctive experiences that each child has as a member of a social group. The first-born or oldest child is given a good deal of attention until the second child is born; then he is suddenly dethroned from his fav- ored position and must share his parents’ affections with the new baby. This experience may condition the oldest child in various ways, such as hating people, protecting himself against sudden reversals of fortune, and feeling insecure. Oldest children are also apt to take an interest in the past when they were the center of attention. Neurotics, criminals, drunkards, and perverts, Adler observes, are often first-born children. If the parents handle the situation wisely by preparing the oldest child for the appearance of a rival, the oldest child is more likely to develop into a responsible, protective person. The second or middle child is characterized by being ambitious. He is constantly trying to surpass his older sibling. He also tends to be rebellious and envious but by and large he is better adjusted than either his older or younger sibling. 126 Theories of Personality The youngest child is the spoiled child. Next to the oldest child he is most likely to become a problem child and a neurotic maladjusted adult. This theory has been tested a number of times but most of the find- ings do not lend support to it (Jones, 1931). EARLY MEMORIES. Adler felt that the earliest memory a person could report was an important key to understanding his basic style of life (1931). For example, a girl began an account of her earliest memory by saying, “When I was three years old, my father . . .” This indicates that she is more interested in her father than in her mother. She then goes on to say that the father brought home a pair of ponies for an older sister and her, and that the older sister led her pony down the street by the halter while she was dragged along in the mud by her pony. This is the fate of the younger child—to come off second best in the rivalry with an older sibling—and it motivates her to try to surpass the pacemaker. Her style of life is one of driving ambition, an urge to be first, a deep feeling of insecurity and disappointment, and a strong foreboding of failure. A young man who was being treated for severe attacks of anxiety recalled this early scene. “When I was about four years old I sat at the window and watched some workmen building a house on the opposite side of the street, while my mother knitted stockings.” This recollec- tion indicates that the young man was pampered as a child because his memory includes the solicitous mother. The fact that he is looking at others who are working suggests that his style of life is that of a spectator rather than a participant. This is borne out by the fact that he becomes anxious whenever he tries to take up a vocation. Adler suggested to him that he consider an occupation in which his preference for looking and observing could be utilized. The patient took Adler’s advice and became a successful dealer in art objects. Adler used this method with groups as well as individuals and found that it was an easy and economical way of studying personality. CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES. Adler was particularly interested in the kinds of early influences that predispose the child to a faulty style of life. He discovered three important factors: (1) children with in- feriorities, (2) spoiled children, and (3) neglected children. Children with physical or mental infirmities bear a heavy burden and are likely to feel inadequate in meeting the tasks of life. They consider them- selves to be, and often are, failures. However, if they have under- standing, encouraging parents they may compensate for their in- feriorities and transform their weakness into strength. Many promi- Social Psychological Theories 127 nent men started life with some organic weakness for which they compensated. Over and over again Adler spoke out vehemently against the evils of pampering for he considered this to be the greatest curse that can be visited upon the child. Pampered children do not develop social feeling; they become despots who expect society to conform to their self-centered wishes. Adler considered them to be potentially the most dangerous class in society. Neglect of the child also has unfortunate consequences. Badly treated in childhood, as adults they become enemies of society. Their style of life is domi- nated by the need for revenge. These three conditions—organic in- firmity, pampering, and rejection—produce erroneous conceptions of the world and result in a pathological style of life. ERICH FROMM Erich Fromm was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1900 and studied psychology and sociology at the Universities of Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and Munich. After receiving a Ph.D. degree from Heidelberg in 1922, he was trained in psychoanalysis in Munich and at the famous Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. He came to the United States in 1933 as a lecturer at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and then entered private practice in New York City. He has taught at a number of universities and institutes in this country. Not only have his books received considerable attention from specialists in the fields of psychol- ogy, sociology, philosophy, and religion but also from the general public. The essential theme of all of Fromm’s writings is that man feels lonely and isolated because he has become separated from nature and from other men. This condition of isolation is not found in any other species of animal; it is the distinctive human situation. The child, for example, gains freedom from the primary ties with his parents with the result that he feels isolated and helpless. The serf eventually se- cured his freedom only to find himself adrift in a predominantly alien world. As a serf, he belonged to someone and had a feeling of being related to the world and to other people, even though he was not free. In this book, Escape from freedom (1941), Fromm develops the thesis that as man has gained more freedom throughout the ages he has also felt more alone. Freedom then becomes a negative condition from which he tries to escape. What is the answer to this dilemma? Man can either unite himself with other people in the spirit of love and shared work or he can find 128 Theories of Personality security by submitting to authority and conforming to society. In the one case, man uses his freedom to develop a better society; in the other, he acquires a new bondage. Escape from freedom was written under the shadow of the Nazi dictatorship and shows that this form of totalitarianism appealed to people because it offered them a new se- curity. But as Fromm points out in subsequent books (1947, 1955), any form of society that man has fashioned, whether it be that of feudalism, capitalism, fascism, socialism, or communism, represents an attempt to resolve the basic contradiction of man. This contradic- tion consists of man being both a part of nature and separate from it, of being both an animal and a human being. As an animal he has certain physiological needs which must be satisfied. As a human being he possesses self-awareness, reason, and imagination. These two aspects constitute the basic conditions of man’s existence. “The under- standing of man’s psyche must be based on the analysis of mans needs stemming from the conditions of his existence” (1955, p. 25). What are the specific needs that rise from the conditions of man’s existence? They are five in number: the need for relatedness, the need for transcendence, the need for rootedness, the need for identity, and the need for a frame of orientation. The need for relatedness stems from the stark fact that man in becoming man has been torn from the animal’s primary union with nature. “The animal is equipped by nature to cope with the very conditions it is to meet” (1955, p. 23) but man with his power to reason and imagine has lost this intimate interdependence with nature. In place of those instinctive ties with nature which animals possess man has to create his own relationships, the most satisfying being those which are based upon productive love. Productive love always implies mutual care, responsibility, respect, and understanding. The urge for transcendence refers to man’s need to rise above his animal nature, to become a creative person instead of remaining a creature. If his creative urges are thwarted, man becomes a destroyer. Fromm points out that love and hate are not antithetical drives; they are both answers to man’s need to transcend his animal nature. Ani- mals can neither love nor hate, but man can. Man desires natural roots; he wants to be an integral part of the world, to feel that he belongs. As a child, he is rooted to his mother but if this relationship persists past childhood it is considered to be an unwholesome fixation. Man finds his most satisfying and healthiest roots in a feeling of brotherliness with other men and women. But man wants also to have a sense of personal identity, to be a unique Social Psychological Theories 129 individual. If he cannot attain this goal through his own creative effort, he may obtain a certain mark of distinction by identifying him- self with another person or group. The slave identifies with the master, the citizen with his country, the worker with his company. In this case, the sense of identity arises from belonging to someone and not from being someone. Finally, man needs to have a frame of reference, a stable and con- sistent way of perceiving and comprehending the world. The frame of reference that he develops may be primarily rational, primarily irrational, or it may have elements of both. For Fromm these needs are purely human and purely objective. They are not found in animals and they are not derived from observing what man says he wants. Nor are these strivings created by society; rather they have become embedded in human nature through evolu- tion. What then is the relation of society to the existence of man? Fromm believes that the specific manifestations of these needs, the actual ways in which man realizes his inner potentialities, are deter- mined by “the social arrangements under which he lives” (1955, p. 14). His personality develops in accordance with the opportunities that a particular society offers him. In a capitalistic society, for example, he may gain a sense of personal identity by becoming rich or develop a feeling of rootedness by becoming a dependable and trusted employee in a large company. In other words, man’s adjustment to society usually represents a compromise between inner needs and outer de- mands. He develops a social character in keeping with the require- ments of the society. From the standpoint of the proper functioning of a particular society it is absolutely essential that the child’s character be shaped to fit the needs of society. The task of the parents and of education is to make the child want to act as he has to act if a given economic, political, and social system is to be maintained. Thus, in a capitalistic system the desire to save must be implanted in people in order that capital is available for an expanding economy. A society which has evolved a credit system must see to it that people will feel an inner compulsion to pay their bills promptly. Fromm gives numerous examples of the types of character that develop in a democratic, capitalistic society (1947). By making demands upon man which are contrary to his nature, society warps and frustrates man. It alienates him from his “human situation” and denies him the fulfillment of the basic conditions of his existence. Both capitalism and communism, for example, try to make 130 Theories of Personality man into a robot, a wage slave, a nonentity, and they often succeed in driving him into insanity, antisocial conduct or self-destructive acts. Fromm does not hesitate to stigmatize a whole society as being sick when it fails to satisfy the basic needs of man (1955). Fromm also points out that when a society changes in any important respect, as occurred when feudalism changed into capitalism or when the factory system displaced the individual artisan, such a change is likely to produce dislocations in the social character of people. The old character structure does not fit the new society, which adds to man’s sense of alienation and despair. He is cut off from traditional ties and until he can develop new roots and relations he feels lost. During such transitional periods, he becomes a prey to all sorts of panaceas and nostrums which offer him a refuge from loneliness. The problem of man’s relations to society is one of great concern to Fromm, and he returns to it again and again. Fromm is utterly con- vinced of the validity of the following propositions: (1) man has an essential, inborn nature, (2) society is created by man in order to fulfill this essential nature, (3) no society which has yet been devised meets the basic needs of man’s existence, and (4) it is possible to create such a society. What kind of a society does Fromm advocate? It is one … in which man relates to man lovingly, in which he is rooted in bonds of brotherliness and solidarity . . . ; a society which gives him the possibility of transcending nature by creating rather than by destroy- ing, in which everyone gains a sense of self by experiencing himself as the subject of his powers rather than by conformity, in which a system of orientation and devotion exists without man’s needing to distort re- ality and to worship idols (1955, p. 362). Fromm even suggests a name for this perfect society: Humanistic Com- munitarian Socialism. In such a society everyone would have equal opportunity to become fully human. There would be no loneliness, no feelings of isolation, no despair. Man would find a new home, one suited to the “human situation.” KAREN HORNEY Karen Homey was born in Hamburg, Germany, September 16, 1885, and died in New York City, December 4, 1952, She received her medical training at the University of Berlin and was associated with the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute from 1918 to 1932. She was analyzed by Karl Abraham and Hans Sachs, two of the pre-eminent Social Psychological Theories 131 training analysts in Europe at that time. Upon the invitation of Franz Alexander, she came to the United States and was Associate Director of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute for two years. In 1934 she moved to New York where she practiced psychoanalysis and taught at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Becoming dissatisfied with orthodox psychoanalysis, she and others of similar convictions founded the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and the Ameri- can Institute of Psychoanalysis. She was Dean of this institute until her death. Homey conceives of her ideas as falling within the framework of Freudian psychology, not as constituting an entirely new approach to the understanding of personality. She aspires to eliminate the fallacies in Freud’s thinking—fallacies which have their root, she believes, in his mechanistic, biological orientation—in order that psychoanalysis may realize its full potentialities as a science of man. “My conviction, ex- pressed in a nutshell, is that psychoanalysis should outgrow the limi- tations set by its being an instinctivistic and a genetic psychology” (1939, p. 8). Homey objects strongly to Freud’s concept of penis envy as the determining factor in the psychology of women. Freud, it will be recalled, observed that the distinctive attitudes and feelings of women and their most profound conflict grew out of their feeling of genital in- feriority and their jealousy of the male. Homey believes that feminine psychology is based on lack of confidence and an overemphasis of the love relationship, and has very little to do with the anatomy of her sex organs. Regarding the Oedipus complex, Horney feels that it is not a sexual-aggressive conflict between the child and his parents but an anxiety growing out of basic disturbances, for example, rejection, overprotection, and punishment, in the child’s relationships with his mother and father. Aggression is not inborn as Freud stated, but is a means by which man tries to protect his security. Narcissism is not really self-love but self-inflation and overvaluation owing to feelings of insecurity. Homey also takes issue with the following Freudian concepts: repetition compulsion, the id, ego, and superego, anxiety, and masochism (1939). On the positive side, Homey asserts that Freud’s fundamental theoretical contributions are the doctrines of psychic determinism, unconscious motivation, and emotional, non- rational motives. Horney’s primary concept is that of basic anxiety, which is de- fined as 182 Theories of Personality . . . the feeling a child has of being isolated and helpless in a poten- tially hostile world. A wide range of adverse factors in the environment can produce this insecurity in a child: direct or indirect domination, in- difference, erratic behavior, lack of respect for the child’s individual needs, lack of real guidance, disparaging attitudes, too much admira- tion or the absence of it, lack of reliable warmth, having to take sides in parental disagreements, too much or too little responsibility, overpro- tection, isolation from other children, injustice, discrimination, unkept promises, hostile atmosphere, and so on and so on (1945, p. 41). In general, anything that disturbs the security of the child in relation to his parents produces basic anxiety. The insecure, anxious child develops various strategies by which to cope with his feelings of isolation and helplessness (1937). He may become hostile and seek to avenge himself against those who have re- jected or mistreated him. Or he may become overly submissive in order to win back the love that he feels he has lost. He may develop an unrealistic, idealized picture of himself in order to compensate for his feelings of inferiority (1950). He may try to bribe others into loving him, or he may use threats to force people to like him. He may wallow in self-pity in order to gain people’s sympathy. If he cannot get love he may seek to obtain power over others. In that way, he compensates for his sense of helplessness, finds an outlet for hostility, and is able to exploit people. Or he becomes highly com- petitive, in which the winning is far more important than the achieve- ment. He may turn his aggression inward and belittle himself. Any one of these strategies may become a more or less permanent fixture in the personality; a particular strategy may, in other words, assume the character of a drive or need in the personality dynamics. Homey presents a list of ten needs which are acquired as a conse- quence of trying to find solutions for the problem of disturbed human relationships (1942). She calls these needs “neurotic” because they are irrational solutions to the problem. 1. The neurotic need for affection and approval. This need is char- acterized by an indiscriminate wish to please others and to live up to their expectations. The person lives for the good opinion of others and is extremely sensitive to any sign of rejection or unfriendliness. 2. The neurotic need for a “partner” who will take over one’s life. The person with this need is a parasite. He overvalues love, and is extremely afraid of being deserted and left alone. 3. The neurotic need to restrict one’s life within narrow borders. Such a person is undemanding, content with little, prefers to remain inconspicuous, and values modesty above all else. Social Psychological Theories 133 4. The neurotic need for power. This need expresses itself in craving power for its own sake, in an essential disrespect for others, and in an indiscriminate glorification of strength and a contempt for weakness. People who are afraid to exert power openly may try to control others through intellectual exploitation and superiority. An- other variety of the power drive is the need to believe in the omnipo- tence of will. Such people feel they can accomplish anything simply by exerting will power. 5. The neurotic need to exploit others. 6. The neurotic need for prestige. One’s self-evaluation is deter- mined by the amount of public recognition received. 7. The neurotic need for personal admiration. A person with this need has an inflated picture of himself and wishes to be admired on this basis, not for what he really is. 8. The neurotic ambition for personal achievement. Such a person wants to be the very best and drives himself to greater and greater achievements as a result of his basic insecurity. 9. The neurotic need for self-sufficiency and independence. Having been disappointed in his attempts to find warm, satisfying relationships with people, the person sets himself apart from others and refuses to be tied down to anyone or anything. He becomes a lone wolf. 10. The neurotic need for perfection and unassailability. Fearful of making mistakes and of being criticized, the person who has this need tries to make himself impregnable and infallible. He is constantly searching for flaws in himself so that they may be covered up before they become obvious to others. These ten needs are the sources from which inner conflicts develop. The neurotic’s need for love, for example, is insatiable; the more he gets the more he wants. Consequently, he is never satisfied. Like- wise, his need for independence can never be fully satisfied because another part of his personality wants to be loved and admired. The search for perfection is a lost cause from the beginning. All of the foregoing needs are unrealistic. In a later publication (1945), Horney classifies these ten needs under three headings: (1) moving toward people, for example, need for love, (2) moving away from people, for instance, need for inde- pendence, and (3) moving against people, for example, need for power. Each of these rubrics represents a basic orientation toward others and oneself. Horney finds in these different orientations the basis for inner conflict. The essential difference between a normal and a neurotic conflict is one of degree. “. . . the disparity between 134 Theories of Personality the conflicting issues is much less great for the normal person than for the neurotic” (1945, p. 31). In other words, everyone has these conflicts but some people, primarily because of early experiences with rejection, neglect, overprotection, and other kinds of unfortunate parental treatment, possess them in an aggravated form. While the normal person can resolve these conflicts by integrating the three orientations, since they are not mutually exclusive, the neurotic person, because of his greater basic anxiety, must utilize irra- tional and artificial solutions. He consciously recognizes only one of the trends and denies or represses the other two. Or he creates an idealized image of himself in which the contradictory trends presum- ably disappear, although actually they do not. In a later book (1950), Horney has a great deal more to say about the unfortunate conse- quences that flow from the development of an unrealistic conception of the self and from attempts to live up to this idealized picture. The search for glory, feelings of self-contempt, morbid dependency upon other people, and self-abasement are some of the unhealthy and de- structive results that grow out of an idealized self. A third solution employed by the neurotic person for his inner conflicts is to externalize them. He says, in effect, “I don’t want to exploit other people, they want to exploit me.” This solution creates conflicts between the person and the outside world. All of these conflicts are avoidable or resolvable if the child is raised in a home where there is security, trust, love, respect, tolerance, and warmth. That is, Horney, unlike Freud and Jung, does not feel that conflict is built into the nature of man and is therefore inevitable. Conflict arises out of social conditions. “The person who is likely to become neurotic is one who has experienced the culturally deter- mined difficulties in an accentuated form, mostly through the medium of childhood experience” (1937, p. 290). HARRY STACK SULLIVAN Harry Stack Sullivan is the creator of a new viewpoint which is known as the interpersonal theory of psychiatry. Its major tenet as it relates to a theory of personality is that personality is “the relatively enduring pattern of recurrent interpersonal situations which character- ize a human life” (1953, p. 111). Personality is a hypothetical entity which cannot be isolated from interpersonal situations, and interper- sonal behavior is all that can be observed as personality. Conse- quently, it is vacuous, Sullivan believes, to speak of the individual as Social Psychological Theories 135 the object of study because the individual does not and cannot exist apart from his relations with other people. From the first day of life, the baby is a part of an interpersonal situation, and throughout the rest of his life he remains a member of a social field. Even a hermit who has resigned from society carries with him into the wilderness memories of former personal relationships which continue to influence his thinking and acting. Although Sullivan does not deny the importance of heredity and maturation in forming and shaping the organism, he feels that that which is distinctly human is the product of social interactions. More- over, the interpersonal experiences of a person may and do alter his purely physiological functioning, so that even the organism loses its status as a biological entity and becomes a social organism with its own socialized ways of breathing, digesting, eliminating, circulating, and so forth. For Sullivan, the science of psychiatry is allied with social psy- chology, and his theory of personality bears the imprint of his strong preference for social psychological concepts and variables. He writes, The general science of psychiatry seems to me to cover much the same field as that which is studied by social psychology, because scientific psy- chiatry has to be defined as the study of interpersonal relations, and this in the end calls for the use of the kind of conceptual framework that we now call -field theory. From such a standpoint, personality is taken to be hypothetical. That which can be studied is the pattern of processes which characterize the interaction of personalities in particular recurrent situations or fields which “include” the observer (1950, p. 92). Harry Stack Sullivan was born on a farm near Norwich, New York, on February 21, 1892, and died on January 14, 1949, in Paris, France, on his way home from a meeting of the executive board of the World Federation for Mental Health in Amsterdam. He received his medical degree from the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery in 1917, and served with the armed forces during the First World War. Following the war he was a medical officer of the Federal Board for Vocational Education and then became an officer with the Public Health Service. In 1922 Sullivan went to Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D. C, where he came under the influence of William Alanson White, a leader in American neuropsychiatry. From 1923 until 1930 he was associated with the Medical School of the University of Maryland and with the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Towson, Maryland. It was during this period of his life that Sullivan conducted investigations of schizophrenia which established his repu- 136 Theories of Personality tation as a medical scientist. In 1933 he became president of the William Alanson White Foundation, serving in that office until 1943. In 1936, he helped found and became director of the Washington School of Psychiatry, which is the training institution of the founda- tion. The journal Psychiatry began publication in 1938 to promote Sullivan’s theory of interpersonal relations. He was its coeditor and then editor until his death. Sullivan served as consultant for the Selective Service System in 1940-1941; he was a participant during 1948 in the UNESCO Tensions Project established by the United Na- tions to study tensions affecting international understanding; and he was appointed a member of the international preparatory commission for the International Congress of Mental Health in the same year. Sullivan was a scientific statesman as well as a prominent spokesman for psychiatry, the leader of an important school for training psy- chiatrists, a remarkable therapist, an intrepid theorist, and a produc- tive medical scientist. By his vivid personality and original thinking, he attracted a number of people who became his disciples, students, colleagues, and friends. Aside from William Alanson White, the chief influences on Sulli- van’s intellectual development were Freud, Adolph Meyer, the social philosopher, George Mead, the cultural anthropologists, Edward Sapir and Ruth Benedict, and the sociologist, Leonard Cottrell. Sullivan felt particularly close to Edward Sapir who was one of the pioneers in advocating a closer working relationship between anthropology, sociol- ogy, and psychoanalysis. Sullivan began to formulate his theory of interpersonal relations in 1929 and had consolidated his thinking by the mid-1930’s. During his lifetime Sullivan published only one book setting forth his theory (1947). However, he kept detailed notebooks and many of his lectures to the students of the Washington School of Psychiatry were recorded. These notebooks and recordings, as well as other un- published material, have been turned over to the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation. Two books based upon the Sullivan papers have recently been published. The interpersonal theory of psychiatry (1953) consists mainly of a series of lectures given by Sulli- van in the winter of 1946-1947 and represents the last complete account of his theory of interpersonal relations. The other book, The psychiatric interview (1954), is based upon two lecture series that Sullivan gave in 1944 and 1945. Other books compiled from the Sullivan papers are to be published soon. Patrick Mullahy, a phi- losopher and disciple of Sullivan, has edited several books dealing with Social Psychological Theories 137 the theory of interpersonal relations. One of these, A study of inter- personal relations (1949), contains a group of papers by people associ- ated with the Washington School and the William Alanson White In- stitute in New York City. All of the articles were originally printed in Psychiatry, including three by Sullivan. Another book entitled The contributions of Harry Stack Sullivan (1952) consists of a group of papers presented at a memorial symposium by representatives of vari- ous disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, and sociology. This book contains a succinct account of interpersonal theory by Mullahy and a complete bibliography of Sullivan’s writings through 1951. A similar digest of Sullivan’s views also appears in Mullahy’s book, Oedipus—myth and complex (1948). Sullivan’s interpersonal theory has been treated at length by Dorothy Blitsten (1953). In spite of Sullivan’s own sparse presentation of interpersonal theory in published form during his lifetime, his systematic position is being thoroughly ex- pounded by a number of very literate and dedicated followers. THE STRUCTURE OF PERSONALITY Sullivan insists repeatedly that personality is a purely hypothetical entity which cannot be observed or studied apart from interpersonal situations. The unit of study is the interpersonal situation and not the person. The organization of personality consists of interpersonal events rather than intrapsychic ones. Personality only manifests it- self when the person is behaving in relation to one or more other in- dividuals. These people do not need to be present; in fact they can even be illusory or nonexistent figures. A person may have a relation- ship with a folk hero like Paul Bunyan or a fictional character like Anna Karenina or with his ancestors or with his as yet unborn de- scendants. Perceiving, remembering, thinking, imagining, and all of the other psychological processes are interpersonal in character. Even nocturnal dreams are interpersonal, since they usually reflect the dreamer’s relationships with other people. Although Sullivan grants personality only hypothetical status, none- theless he asserts that it is a dynamic center of various processes which occur in a series of interpersonal fields. Moreover, he gives substan- tive status to some of these processes by identifying and naming them and by conceptualizing some of their properties. The principal ones are dynamisms, personifications, and cognitive processes. DYNAMISMS. A dynamism is the smallest unit which can be em- ployed in the study of the individual. It is defined as “the relatively enduring pattern of energy tranformations, which recurrently charac- 138 Theories of Personality terize the organism in its duration as a living organism” (1953, p. 103). An energy transformation is any form of behavior. It may be overt and public like talking, or covert and private like thinking and fan- tasying. Because a dynamism is a pattern of behavior that endures and recurs, it is about the same thing as a habit. Sullivan’s defini- tion of pattern is quaintly phrased; he says it is “an envelope of in- significant particular differences” (1953, p. 104). This means that a new feature may be added to a pattern without changing the pattern just as long as it is not significantly different from the other contents of the envelope. If it is significantly different it changes the pattern into a new pattern. For example, two apples may be quite different in appearance and yet be identified as apples because their differences are not important. However, an apple and a banana are different in significant respects and consequently form two different patterns. The dynamisms which are distinctively human in character are those which characterize one’s interpersonal relations. For example, one may behave in a habitually hostile way toward a certain person or group of persons, which is an expression of a dynamism of malevolence. A man who tends to seek out lascivious relationships with women dis- plays a dynamism of lust. A child who is afraid of strangers has a dynamism of fear. Any habitual reaction towards one or more per- sons, whether it be in the form of a feeling, an attitude, or an overt action, constitutes a dynamism. All people have the same basic dy- namisms but the mode of expression of a dynamism varies in accord- ance with the situation and the life experience of the individual. A dynamism usually employs a particular zone of the body such as the mouth, the hands, the anus, and the genitals by means of which it interacts with the environment. A zone consists of a receptor ap- paratus for receiving stimuli, an effector apparatus for performing ac- tion, and a connecting apparatus called eductors in the central nerv- ous system which connects the receptor mechanism with the effector mechanism. Thus, when the nipple is brought to the baby’s mouth it stimulates the sensitive membrane of the lips which discharges im- pulses along nerve pathways to the motor organs of the mouth which produce sucking movements. Most dynamisms serve the purpose of satisfying the basic needs of the organism. However, there is an important dynamism which de- velops as a result of anxiety. This is called the dynamism of the self or the self-system. The self-system. Anxiety is a product of interpersonal relations, being transmitted originally from the mother to the infant and later Social Psychological Theories 139 in life by threats to one’s security. In order to avoid or minimize actual or potential anxiety, the person adopts various types of pro- tective measures and supervisory controls over his behavior. He learns, for example, that he can avoid punishment by conforming to his par- ents’ wishes. These security measures form the self-system which sane- / tions certain forms of behavior (the good-me self) and forbids other forms (the bad-me self). The self-system as the guardian of one’s security tends to become isolated from the rest of the personality; it excludes information that is incongruous with its present organization and fails thereby to profit from experience. Since the self guards the person from anxiety, it is held in high esteem and is protected from criticism. As the self- system grows in complexity and independence, it prevents the person from making objective judgments of his own behavior and it glosses over obvious contradictions between what the person really is and what his self-system says he is. In general, the more experiences the person has with anxiety, the more inflated his self-system becomes and the more it becomes dissociated from the rest of his personality. Although the self-system serves the useful purpose of reducing anx- iety, it interferes with one’s ability to live constructively with others. Sullivan believes that the self-system is a product of the irrational V aspects of society. By this he means that the young child is made to feel anxious for reasons that would not exist in a more rational society; he is forced to adopt unnatural and unrealistic ways of deal- ing with his anxiety. Although Sullivan recognizes that the develop- ment of a self-system is absolutely necessary for avoiding anxiety in modern society, and perhaps in any kind of society which man is ca- pable of fashioning, he also acknowledges that the self-system as we know it today is “the principal stumbling block to favorable changes * in personality” (1953, p. 169). PERSONIFICATIONS. A personification is an image that an individual has of himself or of another person. It is a complex of feelings, at- titudes, and conceptions that grows out of experiences with need- satisfaction and anxiety. For example, the baby develops a person- ification of a good mother by being nursed and cared for by her. Any interpersonal relationship which involves satisfaction tends to build up a favorable picture of the satisfying agent. On the other hand, the baby’s personification of a bad mother results from expe- riences with her that evoke anxiety. The anxious mother becames personified as the bad mother. Ultimately, these two personifications of the mother along with any others that may be formed, such as the 140 Theories of Personality seductive mother or the overprotective mother, fuse together to form a complex personification. ~ These pictures that we carry around in our heads are rarely ac- curate descriptions of the people to whom they refer. They are formed in the first place in order to cope with people in fairly iso- lated interpersonal situations, but once formed they usually persist and influence our attitudes towards other people. Thus a person who personifies his father as a mean and dictatorial man may project this same personification onto other older men, for example, teachers, po- licemen, and employers. Consequently, something that serves an anx- iety-reducing function in early life may interfere with one’s interper- sonal relations later in life. These anxiety-fraught pictures distort one’s conceptions of currently significant people. Personifications of the self such as the good-me and the bad-me follow the same prin- ciples as personifications of others. The good-me personification re- sults from interpersonal experiences which are rewarding in charac- ter, the bad-me personification from anxiety-arousing situations. And like personifications of other people, these self-personifications tend to stand in the way of objective self-evaluation. Personifications which are shared by a number of people are called stereotypes. These are consensually validated conceptions, that is, ideas which have wide acceptance among the members of a society and are handed down from generation to generation. Examples of common stereotypes in our culture are the absent-minded professor, the unconventional artist, and the hard-headed businessman. ~ COGNITIVE PROCESSES. Sullivan’s unique contribution regarding the place of cognition in the affairs of personality is his threefold classi- fication of experience. Experience, he says, occurs in three modes; these are prototaxic, paratctxic, and syntaxic. Prototaxic experience “may be regarded as the discrete series of momentary states of the sensitive organism” (1953, p. 29). This type of experience is similar to what James called the “stream of consciousness,” the raw sensa- tions, images, and feelings that flow through the mind of a sensate being. They have no necessary connections among themselves and possess no meaning for the experiencing person. The prototaxic mode of experience is found in its purest form during the early months of life and is the necessary precondition for the appearance of the other two modes. The parataxic mode of thinking consists of seeing causal relation- ship between events that occur at about the same time but which are not logically related. The eminent Czech writer, Franz Kafka, Social Psychological Theories 141 portrays an interesting case of parataxic thinking in one of his short stories. A dog who lived in a kennel surrounded by a high fence was urinating one day when a bone was thrown over the fence. The dog thought, “My urinating made that bone appear.” Thereafter whenever he wanted something to eat he lifted his leg. Sullivan be- lieves that much of our thinking does not advance beyond the level of parataxis; that we see causal connections between experiences that have nothing to do with one another. All superstitions, for instance, are examples of parataxic thinking. The third and highest mode of thinking is the syntaxic, which con- sists of consensually validated symbol activity, expecially of a verbal nature. A consensually validated symbol is one which has been agreed upon by a group of people as having a standard meaning. Words and numbers are the best examples of such symbols. The syntaxic mode produces logical order among experiences and enables people to communicate with one another. In addition to this formulation of the modes of experience, Sullivan emphasizes the importance of foresight in cognitive functioning. “Man, the person, lives with his past, the present and the neighboring future all clearly relevant in explaining his thought and action” (1950, p. 84). Foresight depends upon one’s memory of the past and inter- pretation of the present. Although dynamisms, personifications, and cognitive processes do not complete the list of the constituents of personality, they are the chief distinguishing structural features of Sullivan’s system. THE DYNAMICS OF PERSONALITY Sullivan, in common with many other personality theorists, con- ceives of personality as an energy system whose chief work consists of activities that will reduce tension. Sullivan says there is no need to add the term “mental” to either energy or tension since he uses them in exactly the same sense as they are used in physics. TENSION. Sullivan begins with the familiar conception of the organism as a tension system which theoretically can vary between the limits of absolute relaxation, or euphoria as Sullivan prefers to call it, and absolute tension as exemplified by extreme terror. There are two main sources of tension: (1) tensions that arise from the needs of the organism, and (2) tensions that result from anxiety. Needs are con- nected with the physiochemical requirements of life; they are such conditions as lack of food or water or oxygen which produce a dis- equilibrium in the economy of the organism. Needs may be general in 142 Theories of Personality character, such as hunger, or they may be more specifically related to a zone of the body, such as the need to suck. Needs arrange them- selves in a hierarchical order; those lower down on the ladder must be satisfied before those higher on the ladder can be accommodated. One result of need reduction is an experience of satisfaction. “Ten- sions can be regarded as needs for particular energy transformations which will dissipate the tension, often with an accompanying change of ‘mental’ state, a change of awareness, to which we can apply the general term, satisfaction” (1950, p. 85). The typical consequence of prolonged failure to satisfy the needs is a feeling of apathy which pro- duces a general lowering of the tensions. r~~Anxiety is the experience of tension that results from real or imagi- nary threats to one’s security. In large amounts, it reduces the effi- ciency of the individual in satisfying his needs, disturbs interpersonal relations, and produces confusion in thinking. Anxiety varies in in- tensity depending upon the seriousness of the threat and the effective- ness of the security operations that the person has at his command. Severe anxiety is like a blow on the head; it conveys no information to the person but instead produces utter confusion and even amnesia. Less severe forms of anxiety can be informative. In fact, Sullivan believes that anxiety is the first greatly educative influence in living. Anxiety is transmitted to the infant by the “mothering one” who is herself expressing anxiety in her looks, tone of voice, and general demeanor. Sullivan admits that he does not know how this transmis- sion takes place, although it is probably accomplished by some kind of empathic process whose nature is obscure. As a consequence of this mother-transmitted anxiety, other objects in the near surroundings be- come freighted with anxiety by the operation of the parataxic mode of associating contiguous experiences. The mother’s nipple, for ex- ample, is changed into a bad nipple which produces avoidance reac- tions in the baby. The infant learns to veer away from activities and objects that increase anxiety. When the baby cannot escape anxiety, he tends to fall asleep. This dynamism of somnolent detachment, as Sullivan calls it, is the counterpart of apathy, which is the dynamism aroused by unsatisfied needs. In fact, these two dynamisms cannot be objectively differentiated. Sullivan says that one of the great tasks of psychology is to discover the basic vulnerabilities to anxiety in inter- personal relations rather than to try to deal with the symptoms re- sulting from anxiety. ENERGY TRANSFORMATIONS. Energy is transformed by performing work. Work may be overt actions involving the striped muscles of the Social Psychological Theories 143 body or it may be mental such as perceiving, remembering, and think- ing. These overt or covert activities have as their goal the relief of tension. They are to a great extent conditioned by the society in which the person is raised. “What anyone can discover by investigat- ing his past is that patterns of tensions and energy transformations which make up his living are to a truly astonishing extent matters of his education for living in a particular society” (1950, p. 83). Sullivan does not believe that instincts are important sources of human motivation nor does he accept the libido theory of Freud. An individual learns to behave in a particular way as a result of interac- tions with people, and not because he possesses innate imperatives for certain kinds of action. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY Sullivan was very assiduous in spelling out the sequence of inter- personal situations to which the person is exposed in passing from in- fancy to adulthood, and the ways in which these situations contribute to the formation of personality. More than any other personality theorist, with the possible exception of Freud, Sullivan viewed per- sonality from the perspective of definite stages of development. Whereas Freud held the position that development is largely an unfolding of the sex instinct, Sullivan argued persuasively for a more social-psychological view of personality growth, one in which the unique contributions of human relationships would be accorded their proper due. Although Sullivan did not reject biological factors as conditioners of the growth of personality, he did subordinate them to the social determiners of psychological development. Moreover, he was of the opinion that sometimes these social influences run counter to the biological needs of the person and have detrimental effects upon his personality. Sullivan was not one to shy away from recognizing the deleterious influences of society. In fact, Sullivan, like other social-psychological theorists, was a sharp, incisive critic of con- temporary society. STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT. Sullivan delineates six stages in the de- velopment of personality prior to the final stage of maturity. These six stages are typical for Western European cultures and may be different in other societies. They are (1) infancy, (2) childhood, (3) the juvenile era, (4) preadolescence, (5) early adolescence, and (6) late adolescence. The period of infancy extends from birth to the appearance of articu- late speech. It is the period in which the oral zone is the primary 144 Theories of Personality zone of interaction between the baby and his environment. Nursing provides the baby with his first interpersonal experience. The feature of the environment which stands out during infancy is the object which supplies food to the hungry baby, either the nipple of the mother’s breast or the nipple of the bottle. The baby develops various conceptions of the nipple depending upon the kinds of experiences he has with it. These are: (1) the good nipple which is the signal for nursing and a sign that satisfaction is forthcoming, (2) the good but unsatisfactory nipple because the baby is not hungry, (3) the wrong nipple because it does not give milk and is a signal for rejection and subsequent search for another nipple, and (4) the bad nipple of the anxious mother which is a signal for avoidance. Other characteristic features of the infantile stages are (1) the ap- pearance of the dynamisms of apathy and somnolent detachment, (2) the transition from a prototaxic to a parataxic mode of cognition, (3) the organization of personifications such as the bad, anxious, rejecting, frustrating mother and the good, relaxed, accepting, satisfying mother, (4) the organization of experience through learning and the emerg- ence of the rudiments of the self-system, (5) the differentiation of the baby’s own body so that the baby learns to satisfy his tensions inde- pendently of the mothering one, for example, by thumbsucking, and (6) the learning of co-ordinated moves involving hand and eye, hand and mouth, and ear and voice. The transition from infancy to childhood is made possible by the learning of language and the organization of experience in the syntaxic mode. Childhood extends from the emergence of articulate speech to the appearance of the need for playmates. The development of lan- guage permits, among other things, the fusion of different personifica- tions, for instance, the good and bad mother, and the integration of the self-system into a more coherent structure. The self-system begins to develop the conception of gender: the little boy identifies with the masculine role as prescribed by society, the little girl with the feminine role. The growth of symbolic ability enables the child to play at being a grownup—Sullivan calls these as-if performances drama- tizations—and to become concerned with various activities both overt and covert which serve the purpose of warding off punishment and anxiety—Sullivan calls these preoccupations. One dramatic event of childhood is the malevolent transformation, the feeling that one lives among enemies. This feeling, if it becomes strong enough, makes it impossible for the child to respond positively to the affectionate advances of other people. The malevolent trans- Social Psychological Theories 145 formation distorts the child’s interpersonal relations and causes the child to isolate himself. He says, in effect, “Once upon a time every- thing was lovely, but that was before I had to deal with people.” The malevolent transformation is caused by painful and anxious experiences with people, and may lead to a regression to the less threatening stage of infancy. Sublimation, which Sullivan defines as “the unwitting substitution for a behavior pattern which encounters anxiety or collides with the self-system, of a socially more acceptable activity pattern which satis- fies parts of the motivational system that caused trouble” (1953, p. 193), appears during childhood. The excess of tension which is not discharged by sublimation is expended in symbolic performances, for instance, in nocturnal dreams. The juvenile stage extends throughout most of the grammar-school years. It is the period for becoming social, for acquiring experiences of social subordination to authority figures outside of the family, for becoming competitive and co-operative, for learning the meaning of ostracism, disparagement, and group feeling. The juvenile learns to be inattentive to external circumstances that do not interest him, to supervise his behavior by internal controls, to form stereotypes in his attitudes, to develop new and more effective modes of sublimation, and to distinguish more clearly between fantasy and reality. One great event of this period is the emergence of a conception of orientation in living. One is oriented in living to the extent to which one has formulated, or can easily be led to formulate (or has insight into), data of the follow- ing types: the integrating tendencies (needs) which customarily charac- terize one’s interpersonal relations; the circumstances appropriate to their satisfaction and relatively anxiety-free discharge; and the more or less remote goals for the approximation of which one will forego intercur- rent opportunities for satisfaction or the enhancement of one’s prestige (1953, p. 243). The relatively brief period of preadolescence is marked by the need for an intimate relationship with a peer of the same sex, a chum in whom one can confide and with whom one can collaborate in meeting the tasks and solving the problems of life. This is an extremely im- portant period because it marks the beginning of genuine human rela- tionships with other people. In earlier periods, the interpersonal situa- tion is characterized by the dependence of the child upon an older person. During preadolescence, the child begins to form peer rela- tionships in which there are equality, mutuality, and reciprocity be- 146 Theories of Personality tween the members. Without an intimate companion, the preadoles- _cent becomes the victim of a desperate loneliness. The main problem of the period of early adolescence is the develop- ment of a pattern of heterosexual activity. The physiological changes of puberty are experienced by the youth as feelings of lust; out of these feelings the lust dynamism emerges and begins to assert itself in the personality. The lust dynamism involves primarily the genital zone, but other zones of interaction such as the mouth and the hands also participate in sexual behavior. There is a separation of erotic need from the need for intimacy; the erotic need takes as its object a mem- ber of the opposite sex while the need for intimacy remains fixated upon a member of the same sex. If these two needs do not become divorced, the young person displays a homosexual rather than a heterosexual orientation. Sullivan points out that many of the con- flicts of adolescence arise out of the opposing needs for sexual grati- fication, security, and intimacy. Early adolescence persists until the person has found some stable pattern of performances which satisfies his genital drives. “Late adolescence extends from the patterning of preferred genital activity through unnumbered educative and eductive steps to the es- tablishment of a fully human or mature repertory of interpersonal relations as permitted by available opportunity, personal and cultural” (1953, p. 297). In other words, the period of late adolescence con- stitutes a rather prolonged initiation into the privileges, duties, satis- factions, and responsibilities of social living and citizenship. The full complement of interpersonal relations gradually takes form and there is a growth of experience in the syntaxic mode which permits a widen- ing of the symbolic horizons. The self-system becomes stabilized, more effective sublimations of tensions are learned, and stronger security jneasures against anxiety are instituted. When the individual has ascended all of these steps and reached the final stage of adulthood, he has been transformed largely by means of his interpersonal relations from an animal organism into a human person. He is not an animal, coated by civilization and humanity, but an animal that has been so drastically altered that he is no longer an animal but a human being—or, if one prefers, a human animal. “”””DETERMINERS OF DEVELOPMENT. Although Sullivan firmly rejects any hard and fast instinct doctrine he does acknowledge the im- portance of heredity in providing certain capacities, chief among which are the capacities for receiving and elaborating experiences. He also accepts the principle that training cannot be effective before Social Psychological Theories 147 maturation has laid the structural groundwork. Thus, the child can- not learn to walk until the muscles and bony structure have reached a level of growth which will support him in an upright position. Heredity and maturation provide the biological substratum for the development of personality, that is, the capacities and predispositions and inclinations, but the culture operating through a system of inter- personal relations makes manifest the abilities and the actual per- formances (energy transformations) by which the person reaches the goal of tension reduction and need-satisfaction. The first educative influence is that of anxiety which forces the young organism to discriminate between increasing and decreasing tension and to guide his activity in the direction of the latter. The second great educational force is that of trial and success. Success, as many psychologists have pointed out, tends to stamp in the activity which has led to gratification. Success may be equated with the earning of rewards—a mother’s smile or a father’s praise; failure with punishments—a mother’s forbidding look or a father’s words of dis- approval. One may also learn by imitation and by inference; for the latter type of learning Sullivan adopts the name proposed by Charles Spearman: eduction of relations. Sullivan does not believe that personality is set at an early age. It may change at any time as new interpersonal situations arise be- cause the human organism is extremely plastic and malleable. Al- though the forward thrust of learning and development predominates, regressions can and do occur when pain, anxiety, and failure become intolerable. CHARACTERISTIC RESEARCH AND RESEARCH METHODS Harry Stack Sullivan, in common with other psychiatrists, acquired his empirical knowledge of personality by working with patients suffering from various types of personality disorders but chiefly with schizophrenics and obsessional cases. As a young psychiatrist, Sul- livan discovered that the method of free association did not work satisfactorily with schizophrenics because it aroused too much anxi- ety. Other methods were tried but these also proved to provoke anxiety which interfered with the communication process between patient and therapist. Consequently, Sullivan became interested in studying the forces that impede and facilitate communication between two people. In so doing, he found that the psychiatrist was much more than an observer; he was also a vital participant in an inter- personal situation. He had his own apprehensions, such as his pro- 148 Theories of Personality fessional competence and his personal problems, to deal with. As a result of this discovery Sullivan developed his conception of the therapist as a participant observer. The theory of interpersonal relations lays great stress on the method of participant observation, and relegates data obtained by other methods to at most a secondary importance. This in turn implies that skill in the face to face, or person to person psychiatric interview is of fundamental importance (1950, p. 122). THE INTERVIEW. The psychiatric interview is Sullivan’s term for the type of interpersonal, face to face situation that takes place between the patient and the therapist. There may be only one interview or there may be a sequence of interviews with a patient extending over a long period of time. Sullivan defines the interview as “a system, or series of systems, of interpersonal processes, arising from participant observation in which the interviewer derives certain conclusions about the interviewee” (1954, p. 128). How the interview is conducted and the ways in which the interviewer reaches conclusions regarding the patient form the subject matter of Sullivan’s book, The psychiatric interview (1954). Sullivan divides the interview into four stages: (1) the formal in- ception, (2) reconnaissance, (3) detailed inquiry, and (4) the ter- mination. The interview is primarily a vocal communication between two people. Not only what the person says but how he says it—his in< tonations, rate of speech, and other expressive behavior—are the chief sources of information for the interviewer. He should be alert to subtle changes in the patients vocalizations, for example, changes in volume, because these clues often reveal vital evidence regarding the patient’s focal problems and attitudinal changes towards the therapist. In the inception, the interviewer should avoid asking too many ques- tions but should maintain an attitude of quiet observation. He should try to determine the reasons for the patient’s coming to him and something as to the nature of his problems. Sullivan is very explicit about the role of the therapist in the in- terview situation. He should never forget that he is earning his living as an expert in the area of interpersonal relations, and that the patient has a right to expect he is going to learn something which will bene- fit him. The patient should feel this from the very first interview, and it should be continually reinforced throughout the course of treat- ment. Only by having such an attitude will the patient divulge in- Social Psychological Theories 149 formation from which the interviewer can reach the proper conclu- sions regarding the patterns of living which are causing trouble for the patient. Obviously, the psychiatrist should not use his expert knowledge to obtain personal satisfaction or to enhance his prestige at the expense of the patient. The interviewer is not a friend or enemy, a parent or lover, a boss or employee, although the patient may cast him in one or more of these roles as a result of distorted parataxic thinking; the interviewer is an expert in interpersonal re- lations. The period of reconnaissance centers about finding out who the patient is. The interviewer does this by means of an intensive in- terrogatory into the past, present, and future of the patient. These facts about the patient’s life fall under the heading of personal data or biographical information. Sullivan does not advocate a hard-and- fast, structured type of questioning which adheres to a standard list of questions. On the other hand, Sullivan insists that the interviewer should not let the patient talk about irrelevant and trivial matters. The patient should learn that the interview is serious business and that there should be no fooling around. Nor should the interviewer ordinarily make notes of what the patient says at any time during the course of treatment because note-taking is too distracting and tends to inhibit the communication process. Sullivan does not believe that one should start with any formal prescription to the effect “say everything that comes into your mind.” Rather the therapist should take advantage of the patient’s memory lapses during the interrogatory to teach him how to free-associate. In this way, the patient not only learns how to free-associate without becoming alarmed by this unfamiliar mode of discourse but he also experiences the usefulness of the free-association technique before he has been given any formal explanation of its purpose. By the end of the first two stages of the interview process the psychiatrist should have formed a number of tentative hypotheses regarding the patient’s problems and their origins. During the period of detailed inquiry, the psychiatrist attempts to ascertain which of several hypotheses is the correct one. He does this by listening and by asking questions. Sullivan suggests a number of areas which should be inquired into—such matters as toilet training, attitude to- ward the body, eating habits, ambition, and sexual activities—but here again he does not insist upon any formal prospectus which should be rigidly followed. As long as everything runs smoothly the interviewer is not likely 150 Theories of Personality to learn anything about the vicissitudes of interviewing, chief of which is the impact of the interviewer’s attitudes upon the patient’s capacity for communication. But when the communication process deteriorates, the interviewer is forced to ask himself, “What did I say or do which caused the patient to become anxious?” There is always a good deal of reciprocity between the two parties—Sullivan’s term for it is reciprocal emotion–and each is continually reflecting the feel- ings of the other. It is incumbent upon the therapist to recognize and to control his own attitudes in the interest of maximum communi- cation. In other words, he should never forget his role as an expert participant observer. A series of interviews is brought to termination by the interviewer making a final statement of what he has learned, by prescribing a course for the patient to follow, and by assessing for the patient the probable effects of the prescription upon his life. It is quite apparent from reading Sullivan’s sage remarks on inter- viewing that he considers it to be an immense challenge to the ac- curacy of observation of the participant observer. The reader may be interested in contrasting the type of interviewing advocated by Sullivan with the wide variety of interviewing procedures discussed by the Maccobys (1954) and with the techniques of clinical inter- viewing set forth in the recent book, The clinical interview (1955), edited by Felix Deutsch and William Murphy. Sullivan’s principal research contribution in psychopathology con- sists of a series of articles on the etiology, dynamics, and treatment of schizophrenia. These studies were conducted for the most part during his period of association with the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Maryland and were published in psychiatric journals during the years 1924 to 1931. They reveal Sullivan’s great talents for making contact with and understanding the mind of the psychotic. Empathy was a highly developed trait in Sullivan’s personality, and he used it to excellent advantage in studying and treating the victims of schizophrenia. For Sullivan, these victims are not hopeless cases to be shut away in the back wards of mental institutions; they can be treated successfully if the psychiatrist is willing to be patient, under- standing, and observant. Sullivan was also instrumental in stimulating other psychiatrists and social scientists to carry on research related to interpersonal theory. Many of these studies are reported in the journal Psychiatry, which was founded largely to promote and advance Sullivan’s ideas. Three recent books which owe a great deal to Sullivan may be men- tioned here. In Communication, the social matrix of psychiatry Social Psychological Theories 151 (1951), Ruesch and Bateson apply Sullivan’s concepts to problems of human relations and to the interrelations between culture and personality. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann in her influential book, Prin- ciples of intensive psychotherapy (1950), has elaborated many of Sullivan’s ideas regarding the therapeutic process. The recent study of a mental hospital by Stanton and Schwartz (1954) depicts very clearly the kinds of interpersonal situations that exist in an institu- tion and the effect of these situations upon the patients and personnel alike. Of the four theorists presented in this chapter, Sullivan’s inter- personal theory has probably been the greatest stimulus to research. One reason for this is that Sullivan employed a more objective lan- guage in describing his theory, a language which helped to span the gap between theory and observation. Sullivan kept his conceptual constructions quite closely tied to empirical observation, with the result that he seemed to be describing at close quarters the behavior of real people. In spite of the abstractness of his thought, he did not become so abstruse as to lose touch with concrete, one might almost say everyday, conduct of individuals. Interpersonal theory is a down-to-earth proposition mill which invites and encourages empirical testing. CURRENT STATUS AND EVALUATION The four theories which have been presented in this chapter belong together because they all emphasize the influence of social variables in shaping personality. All of them, in one way or another, constitute a reaction against the instinctivist position of Freudian psychoanalysis, yet each of the theorists acknowledges his indebtedness to the seminal thinking of Freud. They have all stood on Freud’s shoulders, and have added their own cubits to his towering height. They have in- vested personality with social dimensions equal if not superior in importance to the biological dimensions provided by Freud and Jung. Moreover, these theories have helped to place psychology in the sphere of the social sciences. In spite of the common ground which they occupy each theory stresses somewhat different clusters of social variables. Erich Fromm devotes most of his attention to describing the ways in which the structure and dynamics of a particular society mold its members so that their social character fits the common values and needs of that society. Karen Horney, although she recognizes the influence of the social context in which a person lives, dwells more upon the intimate 152 Theories of Personality factors within the family setting which shape personality. In this respect, Sullivan’s interpersonal theory resembles Horney’s views more than it does Fromm’s. For Sullivan the human relationships of infancy, childhood, and adolescence are of paramount concern, and he is most eloquent and persuasive when he is describing the nexus between the “mothering one” and the baby. Adler, on the other hand, roams widely throughout society looking for factors that are relevant to personality and finds them everywhere. Although all four theories strenuously oppose Freud’s instinct doc- trine and the fixity of human nature, none of the four adopts the radical environmentalist position that an individual’s personality is created solely by the conditions of the society into which he is born. Each theory, in its own way, agrees that there is such a thing as human nature which the baby brings with him, largely in the form of fairly general predispositions or potentialities rather than as spe- cific needs and traits. These generalized potentialities as exemplified by Adler’s social interest and Fromm’s need for transcendence are actualized in concrete ways by means of the formal and informal educative agencies of the society. Under ideal conditions, these theories agree, the individual and society are interdependent; the person serves to further the aims of the society and society in turn helps man to attain his goals. In short, the stand adopted by these four theorists is neither exclusively social or sociocentric nor ex- clusively psychological or psychocentric; it is truly social-psychological in character. Furthermore, each theory not only asserts that human nature is plastic and malleable but also that society is equally plastic and malleable. If a particular society does not fulfill the demands of human nature it can be changed by man. In other words, man creates the kind of society he thinks will benefit him the most. Ob- viously, mistakes are made in developing a society and once these errors have become crystallized in the form of social institutions and customs it may be difficult to change them. Yet each theorist was optimistic regarding the possibility of change, and each in his own way tried to bring about fundamental changes in the structure of so- ciety. Adler supported social democracy, pressed for better schools, started child guidance centers, urged reforms in the treatment of criminals, and lectured widely on social problems and their cures. Fromm and Horney through their writings and talks have pointed the way to a better society. Fromm, in particular, has spelled out some of the basic reforms that need to be made in order to achieve Social Psychological Theories 153 a sane society. Sullivan was actively engaged in trying to bring about social amelioration through the medium of international co- operation at the time of his death. All four of them in their pro- fessional capacities as psychotherapists had extensive experiences with the casualities of an imperfect social order; consequently, they spoke from personal knowledge and practical experience in their roles as critics and reformers. Another assumption which each theory makes is that anxiety is socially produced. Man is not by nature “the anxious animal.” He is made anxious by the conditions under which he lives—by the specter of unemployment, by intolerance and injustice, by the threat of war, by hostile parents. Remove these conditions, say our theorists, and the wellsprings from which anxiety gushes forth will dry up. Nor is man by nature destructive as Freud believed. He may become destructive when his basic needs are frustrated, but even under conditions of frustration other avenues such as submission or with- drawal may be taken. All of the theories with the exception of Sullivan’s also underscore the concepts of the unique individual and the creative self. In spite of attempts by society to regiment people, each person manages to retain some degree of creative individuality. Indeed, it is by virtue of man’s inherent creative powers that he is able to effect changes in society. People create different kinds of societies on different parts of the globe, and at different times in history, in part, because people are different. Man is not only creative; he is also self-conscious. He knows what he wants and he strives consciously to reach his goals. The idea of unconscious motivation is not accorded much weight by these social-psychological theorists. In general, the theories developed by Adler, Fromm, Homey, and Sullivan enlarged the scope of Freudian psychology by providing room for the social determinants of personality. A number of critics, however, have disparaged the originality of these social-psychological theories. They say that such theories merely elaborate upon one aspect of classical psychoanalysis, namely, the ego and its defenses. Freud saw clearly that personality traits often represented the per- son’s habitual defenses or strategies against inner and outer threats to the ego. The needs, trends, styles, orientations, personifications, dynamisms, and so forth, in the theories treated in this chapter are accommodated in Freudian theory under the heading of ego-defenses. Therefore, these critics conclude, nothing new has been added to Freud, and a great deal has been subtracted. By reducing personality 154 Theories of Personality to the single system of the ego, the social-psychological theorist has cut the personality off from the vital springs of human behavior, springs that have their ultimate sources in the evolution of man as a species. By enlarging upon the social character of man’s personality, they have alienated man from his great biological heritage. A criticism which is sometimes voiced against the conception of man evolved by Adler, Fromm, and Karen Homey (it does not apply to Sullivan) is that it is too sugar-coated and idealistic. In a world which has been torn apart by two great wars and the threat of a third one, not to mention the many other forms of violence and irrationality that men display, the picture of a rational, self-conscious, socialized man strikes one as being singularly inappropriate and invalid. One can, of course, blame society and not man for this deplorable state of affairs, and this is what these theorists do. But then they say, or at least imply, that rational man created the kind of social arrangements which are responsible for his irrationality and unhappiness. This is the great paradox of these theories. If man is so self-conscious, so rational, and so social, why has he evolved so many imperfect social systems? Another less devastating criticism, but one which carries more weight with psychologists as distinguished from psychoanalysts, is the failure of these social-psychological theories to specify the precise means by which a society molds its members. How does a person acquire his social character? How does he learn to be a member of society? This evident neglect of the learning process in theories which depend so heavily upon the concept of learning to account for the ways in which personality is formed is considered to be a major omission. Is it enough just to be exposed to a condition of society in order for that condition to affect the personality? Is there a mechanical stamping in of socially approved behavior and an equally mechanical stamping out of socially disapproved behavior? Or does the person react with insight and foresight to the social milieu, selecting those features which he thinks will produce a better organization of personality and rejecting other features which he feels are inconsistent with his self-organization? For the most part these theories stand silent on the nature of the learning process, in spite of the fact that learning has been a central topic in American psychology for a good many years. Although these social-psychological theories have not stimulated a great deal of research in comparison with some other theories, they have served to foster an intellectual climate in which social-psycho- Social Psychological Theories 155 logical research could flourish and has done so. Social psychology is no longer the stepchild of psychology. It is a large and exceedingly active component part in the science of psychology. Adler, Fromm, Karen Homey, and Sullivan are not solely responsible for the rise of social psychology, but their influence has been considerable. Each of them has contributed in no small measure to the picture of man as a social being. This is their great value in the contemporary scene. BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Adler, A. The practice and theory of individual psychology. New York: Har- court, 1927. Adler, A. Individual Psychology. In C. Murchison (Ed.). Psychologies of 1930. Worcester, Mass.: Clark Univ. Press, 1930, pp. 395-405. Ansbacher, H. L., and Rowena R. (Eds.). The Individual-Psychology of Alfred Adler. New York: Basic Books, 1956. Fromm, E. Escape from freedom. New York: Rinehart, 1941. Fromm, E. Man for himself. New York: Rinehart, 1947. Fromm, E. The sane society. New York: Rinehart, 1955. Horney, Karen. Neurotic personality of our times. New York: Norton, 1937. Homey, Karen. New ways in psychoanalysis. New York: Norton, 1939. Horney, Karen. Self-analysis. New York: Norton, 1942. Horney, Karen. Our inner conflicts. New York: Norton, 1945. Horney, Karen. Neurosis and human growth. New York: Norton, 1950. Sullivan, H. S. The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton, 1953. REFERENCES Adler, A. Study of organ inferiority and its psychical compensation. New York: Nervous and Mental Diseases Publishing Co., 1917. Adler, A. Practice and theory of individual psychology. New York: Harcourt, 1927. Adler, A. The science of living. New York: Greenberg, 1929a. Adler, A. Problems of neurosis. London: Kegan Paul, 1929b. Adler, A. Individual Psychology. In C. Murchison (Ed.). Psychologies of 1930. Worcester, Mass.: Clark Univ. Press, 1930, pp. 395-405. Adler, A. What life should mean to you. Boston: Little, 1931. Adler, A. The fundamental views of Individual Psychology. Int. J. Indiv. Psychol, 1935,1, 5-8. Adler, A. Social interest. New York: Putnam, 1939. Ansbacher, H. L., and Rowena R. (Eds.). The Individual-Psychology of Alfred Adler. New York: Basic Books, 1956. Blitsten, Dorothy R. The social theories of Harry Stack Sullivan. New York: The William-Frederick Press, 1953. 256 Theories of Personality Bottome, Phyllis. Alfred Adler; a biography. New York: Putnam, 1939. Colby, K. M. On the disagreement between Freud and Adler. Amer. Imago, 1951, 8, 229-238. Deutsch, F., and Murphy, W. F. The clinical interview. New York: International Universities Press, 1955. Fromm, E. Escape from freedom. New York: Rinehart, 1941. Fromm, E. Man for himself. New York: Rinehart, 1947. Fromm, E. The sane society. New York: Rinehart, 1955. Fromm-Reichmann, Frieda. Principles of intensive psychotherapy. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1950. Homey, Karen. Neurotic personality of our times. New York: Norton, 1937. Horney, Karen. New ways in psychoanalysis. New York: Norton, 1939. Horney, Karen. Self-analysis. New York: Norton, 1942. Horney, Karen. Our inner conflicts. New York: Norton, 1945. Horney, Karen. Neurosis and human growth. New York: Norton, 1950. James, W. T. Karen Horney and Erich Fromm in relation to Alfred Adler. Indiv. Psychol. Bull, 1947, 6, 105-116. Jones, E. The life and work of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 2. New York: Basic Books, 1955. Jones, H. E. Order of birth in relation to the development of the child. In C. Murchison (Ed.). Handbook of child psychology. Worcester, Mass.: Clark Univ. Press, 1931, pp. 204-241. Maccoby, Eleanor E., and Maccoby, N. The interview: a tool of social science. In G. Lindzey (Ed.). Handbook of social psychology. Vol. I. Cambridge: Addison-Wesley, 1954, pp. 449-487. Mullahy, P. Oedipus—myth and complex. New York: Hermitage House, 1948. Mullahy, P. (Ed.). A study of interpersonal relations. New York: Hermitage House, 1949. Mullahy, P. (Ed.). The contributions of Harry Stack Sullivan. New York: Hermitage House, 1952. Munroe, Ruth. Schools of psychoanalytic thought. New York: Dryden Press, 1955. Ruesch, J., and Bateson, G. Communication, the social matrix of psychiatry. New York: Norton, 1951. Stanton, A. H., and Schwartz, M. S. The mental hospital. New York: Basic Books, 1954. Sullivan, H. S. Conceptions of modern psychiatry. Washington, D. C: William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation, 1947. Sullivan, H. S. Tensions interpersonal and international: a psychiatrist’s view. In H. Cantril (Ed.). Tensions that cause war. Urbana, 111.: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1950, pp. 79-138. Sullivan, H. S. The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton, 1953. Sullivan, H. S. The psychiatric interview. New York: Norton, 1954. Vaihinger, H. The philosophy of “as if.” New York: Harcourt, 1925.
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Looking for Skinner and Finding Freud Geir Overskeid University of Oslo Sigmund Freud and B. F. Skinner are often seen as psy- chology’s polar opposites. It seems this view is fallacious. Indeed, Freud and Skinner had many things in common, including basic assumptions shaped by positivism and de- terminism. More important, Skinner took a clear interest in psychoanalysis and wanted to be analyzed but was turned down. His views were in uenced by Freud in many areas, such as dream symbolism, metaphor use, and defense mechanisms. Skinner drew direct parallels to Freud in his analyses of conscious versus unconscious control of behav- ior and of selection by consequences. He agreed with Freud regarding aspects of methodology and analyses of civilization. In his writings on human behavior, Skinner cited Freud more than any other author, and there is much clear evidence of Freud’s impact on Skinner’s thinking. Keywords:B. F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, history of psy- chology, psychoanalysis, behaviorism W ithout two men, Sigmund Freud (1856 –1939) and B. F. Skinner (1904 –1990), the psychol- ogy of the 20th century would have looked very different. Freud and Skinner are found at, or very close to, the top of every list of in uential or eminent psychologists (e.g., Haggbloom et al., 2002; Hoefer, War- nick, & Knapp, 2003). Though they both belonged to the universe of psychology, their home regions are often as- sumed to be so far apart that contact is virtually unthink- able. Skinner was an American behaviorist with his roots in animal experimenting and the functionalist tradition, whereas Freud was a continental European brought up on German philosophy and the budding medical science of the late 19th century. Textbooks tend to concentrate on the differences be- tween Skinner and Freud (e.g., Passer & Smith, 2004; Smith, Nolen-Hoeksema, Fredrickson, & Loftus, 2003), and Skinner has been dubbed “one of the least psychoan- alytic thinkers in twentieth-century psychology” (Westen, 1997, p. 530). Other authors have also been unable to see that the two had anything whatsoever in common (e.g., Gardner, 1979; Stanovich, 1992). In outlining a system designed to unify psychology theoretically, Henriques (2003) used the Freudian and the Skinnerian perspectives as the two poles of his system—perspectives, he said, that “appear to be wholly incompatible,” as “there is not cur- rently [i.e., before Henriques’s, 2003, own attempt] a way to blend the insights of the two together in a coherent fashion” (Henriques, 2003, p. 152). Freud’s research and Skinner’s research were in dif- ferent elds. To the extent that their domains overlapped,there are many obvious disagreements. However, behind the differences in theory, application, and terminology, a string of similarities between Freud and Skinner appears— some of which have seldom, if ever, been discussed. Freud and Skinner would be expected a priori to have things in common. They are dead White men who were professors at rst-rate Western universities, and for a pe- riod of almost 10 years, they were simultaneously active in psychological research. Though there is no evidence that Freud knew about Skinner, Skinner knew Freud’s work quite well. Indeed, in his writings on human behavior, Skinner cited Freud more often than any other author (cf. Richelle, 1993). As we shall see, it seems very clear that many similarities were not coincidental. Skinner was in u- enced by Freud. Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism Years before Henriques (2003), Dollard and Miller (1950) made a well-known attempt to unite the outlooks of psy- choanalysis and behaviorism—although the behaviorism that was the starting point of Dollard and Miller’s group was not Skinner’s radical version, but that of Clark L. Hull, which was different in many ways. Attempts to integrate psychoanalysis and behaviorism did not start with Dollard and Miller (1950), however. As early as 1916, John B. Watson, the very rst behaviorist, informed his readers that “I have been for some years an earnest student of Freud (and other psychoanalysts),” and “I am convinced of the truth of Freud’s work” (Watson, 1916, pp. 589 –590). Watson then proceeded to attempt a translation of what he saw as important psychoanalytical insights into other terms, on the basis of the conviction that the time had “come for describing ‘mental diseases’ wholly in terms of twisted habits” (Watson, 1916, p. 594). In the same year that Dollard and Miller (1950) pub- lished their book, Mowrer (1950) also published a book interpreting Freudian concepts in terms of learning theory, claiming (among other things) that although trial-and-error problem solving is guided by the pleasure principle, the This work was supported by an internal grant from the University of Oslo. I thank Daniel Bjork, A. Charles Catania, Robert Epstein, Terry Knapp, Meghan Lydon, Alexandra Rutherford, and Ernest A. Vargas for respond- ing to requests for information. I am also grateful to the American Philosophical Society, American University, and Harvard University for permission to work in their archives and to Geir Kirkebøen and Karl Halvor Teigen for critiquing the article. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Geir Overskeid, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: [email protected] 590 September 2007 ●American Psychologist Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 0003-066X/07/$12.00 Vol. 62, No. 6, 590 –595 DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.6.590 reality principle is appropriate to classical conditioning— thus disagreeing with Dollard and Miller. Hilgard’s (1956) classic textbook on learning further underlined the fact that psychoanalysis was seen as accept- able, even interesting, by researchers close to or within behaviorism. Indeed, in his book, calledTheories of Learn- ing, Hilgard discussed theorists such as Thorndike, Guth- rie, Skinner, Hull, Tolman—and Freud. In his chapter on Freud, Hilgard began by discussing correspondences be- tween learning theories and psychoanalysis, pointing out the “resemblance between the tension-reduction interpreta- tion of the law of effect . . . and the pleasure principle, with the caution, however, that learning theories have not fully incorporated the fantasy-production feature of the Freudian principle” (Hilgard, 1956, pp. 292–293). In a long and thorough discussion of Freudian concepts, Hilgard went on to state, among other things, that “the facts of amnesia . . . make abundantly clear that repression occurs . . . therefore experiments are not needed to establish the phenomena of repression” (Hilgard, 1956, p. 318). Few psychologists worked more closely with Skinner than did Charles B. Ferster, their partnership culminating in the publication ofSchedules of Reinforcement(Ferster & Skinner, 1957). Skinner (1981a) called theirs “a near-per- fect collaboration, undoubtedly the high point in my life as a behavioral scientist” (p. 259). Ferster’s career was dedi- cated to behavior analysis, the Skinnerian brand of behav- iorism. Yet, he too took a considerable interest in psycho- analysis—to the extent of being psychoanalyzed himself, collaborating with psychoanalysts, and using behavioral theory to understand and extend psychodynamic concepts (see Ferster, n.d.). Nevertheless, by his own account, Skinner seems un- likely to have been affected much by Freud or by any otherpsychologist for that matter. “I nd it very dif cult to incorporate anybody’s thinking in psychology in my own. I almost never read any psychology,” he said in an unpub- lished interview with psychologist Anne Roe (Roe, 1950, p. 16). However, Skinner read Freud, and as I discuss later, he incorporated some of Freud’s thinking into his own. Two Positivists To understand Skinner, one must understand the environ- ment in which his view of science was shaped. In an interview with his biographer, Daniel Bjork, Skinner main- tained that his “intellectual genealogy” could be traced from Ernst Mach to Jacques Loeb to the Harvard physiol- ogist William Crozier (Bjork, 1993, p. 65). Mach was an important gure in 19th-century physics, as well as in physiology and the philosophy of science. Not only did Mach make important insights and discoveries, he also opposed the atomic theory of physics. Because atoms were too small to be observed directly, the atomic hypothesis seemed to Mach unwarranted by experimental observations (see Kockelmans, 1968). The behaviorist attitude to mental representations seems related. Loeb, a German physiologist who immigrated to the United States, was in uenced by Mach, with whom he carried on an extended correspondence. Loeb was inter- ested in the movement of the whole animal, not in the activity of its isolated parts, and he opposed the use of mentalistic language in the study of lower as well as higher organisms (e.g., Loeb, 1900). His account of animal move- ment was objectivist, mechanistic, and focused on the determinants rather than the meaning of the animal’s be- havior. Loeb’s way of attacking physiological problems owed much to Mach’s portrayal of scienti c endeavor as the pursuit of tools for the control of life problems rather than a search for timeless truths (see Pauly, 1987). In graduate school at Harvard University, the young Skinner found a mentor in the chairman of the new De- partment of Physiology, William Crozier (Vargas, 2004). Though Crozier never worked with Loeb, much of Cro- zier’s early work was based on Loeb’s contributions (Andersen, 2004). In Rachlin’s (1995) view, Crozier was to Skinner what Jacques Loeb had been to John B. Watson, a source of support for a biologically based psychology di- vorced from introspection. In 1912, a group of prominent scholars and scientists had decided to establish theGesellschaft fu¨ r positivistische Philosophie—the Society for Positivistic Philosophy. They marked the occasion by authoring a manifesto focusing on the unity of science by way of positivist philosophy and practice. Among the signatories was Albert Einstein, at the time a professor in Prague. More interesting to us, how- ever, are three other signatory founders, namely, Skinner’s two intellectual ancestors, Mach and Loeb, as well as one S. Freud, of Vienna (see Fulgeˆ ncio, 2000). Freud, in other words, shared with Skinner’s two intellectual forefathers a view of himself as a positivist. Not unexpectedly, given his intellectual genealogy, Skinner through his entire career approached behavior, his subject matter, with a Machian- style positivist outlook. Geir Overskeid Photo by Turid Håkedal 591 September 2007 ●American Psychologist It is no secret that Skinner and Freud, both positivists emphasizing that research should be empirically driven, still developed into fairly wild speculators. Indeed, even in what the two researchers regarded as their most important works,Verbal Behavior(Skinner, 1957) andThe Interpre- tation of Dreams(Freud, 1900/1950), there are very few data to support the far-reaching conclusions drawn. Consciousness and Civilization Freud’s and Skinner’s careers followed much the same path, in the sense that after making a name for themselves in a limited area of psychology, they both moved on to analyze many aspects of language and the broad domain of civilization itself. They both took a rather bleak view of the way people treat their fellow humans and themselves, as seen, for example, inCivilization and Its Discontents (Freud, 1930/1961) and inBeyond Freedom and Dignity (Skinner, 1971) or “Why We Are Not Acting to Save the World” inUpon Further Re ection(Skinner, 1987). Freud and Skinner even emphasized the same basic causes of the human predicament: To a large extent, people are con- trolled by forces of which they are not conscious. Civili- zation creates con icts between unconsciously controlled tendencies on the one hand and cultural rules and practices on the other. These con icts are solved in ways that are far from optimal, and humanity may not adopt better solutions in the foreseeable future. Those pondering the human condition (as well as many simply doing psychology) have long been aware that thinking and knowledge can reasonably be regarded as being of two main types: One kind that can be talked about and modi ed through argument and reason and another kind that is inaccessible to consciousness or at least dif – cult to access, but which may still exert powerful control over feelings and behavior. Skinner (1969, pp. 169 –171) discussed 16 classical pairs of terms relating to this fundamental difference. Fol- lowing this tradition, Kahneman (2003; cf. Stanovich & West, 2000) spoke of System 1, calledintuition,which he associated with fast, automatic, and emotional processing, and System 2, orreasoning,which is slow, rule governed, and neutral. Freud and Skinner both acknowledged the existence of two different systems that govern behavior. They both described how the one may interfere with the functioning of the other and how the system operating outside of awareness may have a powerful effect on a person’s think- ing, feelings, and behavior, without the person necessarily understanding how and why. Historically, many psychologists have emphasized the psychology of the conscious. As opposed to this, Skinner and Freud shared a strong emphasis on causes of behavior that tend not to be available to consciousness. The source of Skinner’s insights into many areas of human behavior was his research on contingency-shaped behavior, that is, operant behavior shaped directly by its consequences, not by verbalizations or conscious thinking (e.g., Skinner, 1938, 1969).There are clear and obvious differences between the unconscious realm described by Freud and that described by Skinner. However, an important element in Freud’s psychology is his differentiation between the kind of cog- nition characteristic of the unconscious mind (i.e., primary process thinking) and the kind of cognition characteristic of the preconscious and the conscious mind (i.e., secondary process thinking). Primary process thinking is often irra- tional and motivated by the pleasure principle. Secondary process thinking attempts to achieve rationality and oper- ates according to the reality principle, often resulting in delay of grati cation (see Freud, 1900/1950, 1911/1958). Skinner and Freud were in broad agreement when it came to describing the system that is primarily conscious. They agreed that it uses thinking to look for logical con- nections and that, to a great extent, the system operates verbally. Much of this is what Skinner (1969), in his analysis of problem solving, called rule-governed behavior, whereas Freud (1900/1950, 1911/1958), as described ear- lier, spoke of secondary process thinking. Skinner also shared Freud’s assumption that conscious thinking exists to result in delay of grati cation—an important point in Skin- ner’s description of rule-governed behavior. Notwithstanding the differences between Freud’s and Skinner’s unconscious, Skinner in many ways echoed Freud’s description of primary and secondary processes in his description of rule-governed (conscious) and contingen- cy-shaped (unconscious) behavior. According to Skinner (1969), even the distinction between surface and depth that is sometimes made in psychology can be reduced to that between rule-governed and contingency-shaped behavior: “Rule-governed behavior is superimposed upon men. It is the veneer of civilization. Depth psychology is concerned with the ‘real’ contingencies” (Skinner, 1969, p. 169). Skinner even drew direct parallels to psychoanalysis, point- ing out, for instance, that “Freud assigned contingency- shaped behavior to the unconscious” (Skinner, 1969, p. 170). Trying to understand why Freud never stopped smok- ing, Skinner (1980) asked whether Freud might have felt a need “to acknowledge that the habit was ‘bigger than he was’—that contingency-shaped behavior (the ‘uncon- scious’) prevailed against rule-governed (‘the rational con- scious mind’)” (p. 341). Rule-governed behavior may be behind at least one Freudian defense mechanism, said Skinner. He pointed out that a man may consciously believe he has understood the causes of his behavior. “He may be wrong, however; he may invent a set of variables. He is particularly likely to do so if the actual variables are grounds for punishment. This is rationalization in the Freudian sense” (Skinner, 1969, p. 165). Skinner’s theoretical assertions regarding the effect of rules versus contingencies on human behavior have given rise to an increasing amount of research in recent years, and the eld remains vigorous (e.g., Podlesnik & Chase, 2006; Torgrud, Holborn, & Zak, 2006). Skinner and the Freudian Dynamisms On a number of occasions, Skinner pointed to agreement between his and Freud’s analyses of human behavior. 592 September 2007 ●American Psychologist Moreover, Skinner acknowledged the quality of Freud’s observations on a limited number of patients (cf. Richelle, 1993). Both Freud and Skinner preferred in-depth studies of individual organisms to methods averaging responding within or across groups. Skinner (1957) also pointed out the similarity between his own explication of metaphor use in verbal behavior and Freud’s analysis of symbols. For example, a musical com- position can symbolize sexual behavior, in Skinner’s view, “if it is reinforcing because of a similarity in temporal pattern and if it is emitted in place of such behavior because it is different enough to escape punishment” (Skinner, 1953, p. 293). Even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that when identifying the causes behind dream symbols, Skinner (1953) saw no critical difference between Freud’s expla- nation and his own. “The principal realm of the symbol is the dream which occurs when we are asleep” (Skinner, 1953, p. 293). He continued, “Freud could demonstrate certain plausible relations between dream and variables in the life of the individual. The present analysis is in essential agreement with his interpretation” (Skinner, 1953, p. 293). As already seen, Skinner felt that some types of be- havior could be elucidated by appealing to defense mech- anisms. Skinner (1953) also suggested that phobias may be caused by displaced fear (p. 362) and that religious zeal may stem from reaction formation (p. 357), as may any excessively vigorous behavior (p. 365). Skinner (1953) made clear that his view of therapy was “quite different” (p. 375) from that of Freud. He went on, however, to discuss the effect of more defense mech- anisms, and he did not attempt to hide that he saw these phenomena in ways that owed a lot to Freud. Skinner (1953, p. 184) also claimed that central as- pects of his own analysis of punishment concurred with the central Freudian concept of repression. Indeed, Skinner appears to have believed quite strongly in the reality of repression. InScience and Human Behavior, he discussed how repression may lead to denial (Skinner, 1953, p. 291). InVerbal Behavior, treating the phenomenon of automatic writing, he said this phenomenon “frequently suggests an escape from powerful repressing forces” (Skinner, 1957, p. 388). Skinner did more than simply support such Freudian thinking, however. He wanted to measure whatever it was that escaped the repressing forces. In 1936, he described an invention called theverbal summator(Skinner, 1936), a phonograph repeatedly playing meaningless patterns of vowel sounds, “like speech heard through a wall” (Skinner, 1979, p. 175). The summator, he said, could be used in studying several aspects of verbal behavior, as well as functioning as a projective test. Verbal responding occa- sioned by the summator could be “‘signi cant’ in the Freudian sense. The patterns would be something like auditory inkblots” (Skinner, 1979, p. 175). Around the time Skinner, then a junior fellow at Harvard, invented his auditory inkblot test, Henry Murray, of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, was busy developing another projective instrument, the Thematic ApperceptionTest (Morgan & Murray, 1935). Skinner contacted Murray, who was very supportive, and Skinner started gathering data by administering the summator at the Harvard clinic and later to patients at Worcester State Hospital (see Ruth- erford, 2003). Skinner was not content, however, with gaining a little clinical understanding of psychodynamics by administer- ing the verbal summator. He subjected himself to Rorschach testing and reported seeing things like “shark’s ns,” a “Greek mask of comedy,” and “vaginal lips and vulva at the top, too” (Roe, n.d., p. 1). He also found he might pro t from undergoing psychoanalysis himself. “My motives are complex,” Skinner wrote, “but rst among them is the belief that in extrapolating to human behavior (as I nd myself doing more and more), I stand to gain from rst hand experience with the Freudian point of view” (Skinner, n.d., cited in Rutherford, 2003, p. 374). In his autobiography, Skinner (1983) explained, I took a necessary rst step by applying to the Boston Psychoan- alytic Society and Institute. . . . I was interviewed by three ana- lysts, one of them Helene Deutsch, but an unusually large number of applicants were being considered (the government were paying for analyses under the GI Bill of Rights), and a year or so later I was asked to withdraw my application. (p. 18) Death of a Brother In 1923, when Skinner was 19, he lost his only sibling—a younger brother with whom he did not get on very well. In 1950, he discussed his brother’s death with Anne Roe. “I think I must have had feelings of guilt in the Freudian sense,” he said (Roe, 1950, p. 1). Some years later, Skinner (1967, p. 388) recounted the following: He proved to be much better at sport and more popular than I, and he teased me for my literary and artistic interests. When he died suddenly . . . I was not much moved. I probably felt guilty because I was not. I had once made an arrowhead from the top of a tin can . . . the arrow . . . struck my brother in the shoulder, drawing blood. I recalled the event with shock many years later when I heard Lawrence [sic] Olivier speaking Hamlet’s lines: …. Let mydisclaiming from a purpos’d evil Free me so far in your most generous thought, That I have shot mine arrow o’er the house, And hurt my brother. In his 1953 book, Skinner suggested that studying sibling rivalry permits observations of several defense mechanisms. According to Skinner, these mechanisms may play a role in dealing with aggression arising from such rivalry. In Skinner’s view, a man may support a philosophy of brotherly love, but because of reaction formation, he may actually injure his brother and rationalize it by claiming it was for the sibling’s own good— or he may dream of killing someone who sym- bolizes his brother. He may identify with characters in a sadistic movie or in stories about men who injure or kill their brothers (Skinner, 1953, pp. 376 –378). “He will be reinforced by such stories and will report this fact . . . by saying he ‘enjoys’ them” (Skinner, 1953, p. 378). Skinner went on to 593 September 2007 ●American Psychologist catalogue several additional defense mechanisms, like dis- placement and projection. Skinner (1953) also suggested, among other things, that because of repressed aggression, a person “may de- velop certain physical symptoms, especially when he is with his brother,” and that “he may respond aggressively in a Freudianslip—for example, by saying, ‘I never said I didn’t hate my brother’ instead of ‘I never said I hated my brother’” (p. 378). On the one hand, said Skinner (1953), reactions such as those above are “reasonable consequences” (p. 378) of early punishment of aggressive behavior toward a brother. On the other hand, he went on to underline that he had not swallowed Freud whole: Such Freudian dynamisms, he said, “are not the clever machinations of an aggressive impulse struggling to escape . . . restraining censorship …,buttheresolution of complex sets of variables” (Skin- ner, 1953, p. 378). Skinner’s Flexibility There is no doubt that in principle, Skinner was very skeptical about introducing unobservable variables into an explanation of behavior. In discussing speci c problems, however, he was often rather exible about this and re- ferred repeatedly to inner way stations that cannot be observed directly (cf. Zuriff, 1979). Regarding Freud’s psychology, Skinner went further, and it seems he some- times came very close to accepting, at least for a while, central aspects of Freud’s mental apparatus. For instance, Skinner (1953) mused, To what extent, for example, is the superego aware of the behav- ior of the id? The contingencies which set up the superego as a controlling system involve stimulation from the behavior of the id, but they do not necessarily establish responses of knowing about the behavior of the id. It is perhaps even less likely that the id will know about the superego. The ego can scarcely deal with con icts between the other selves without responding to the behavior attributed to them, but this does not mean that the ego possesses a repertoire of knowing about such behavior in any other sense. (p. 288) It does not seem that Skinner ever voiced any under- standing for the hypothetical entities or processes used in cognitive psychology (like models of memory, perceptual mechanisms, decision-making processes) or for humanists’ concepts of free will and authentic choice (e.g., Skinner, 1971, 1977, 1990; but see Overskeid, 1995). It seems clear by now, however, that Skinner regarded many of Freud’s supposed mechanisms and entities with more sympathy. In his last major theoretical article, Skinner (1981b) pointed to the importance of selection by consequences, not only in evolution, but also in the shaping of behavior and the progression of cultures. He contended that most psychologists had failed to grasp this principle but that “the three personae of psychoanalytic theory are in many respects close to our three levels of selection” (Skinner, 1981b, p. 504). InScience and Human Behavior,Skinner (1953) un- derlined the importance of intellectual honesty, of the abil- ity to accept facts even when they are opposed to one’swishes. When he wrote that book, the phenomenon of con rmation bias was already well known. It had been described by classic writers, such as Bacon (cf. Quinton, 1980) and Darwin (1887), and had been studied experi- mentally by Forer (1949) and Kelley (1950) among others. In discussing the phenomenon, Skinner (1953) still gave most of the credit to Freud: “Thoughtful men have perhaps always known that we are likely to see things as we want them instead of as they are, but thanks to Sigmund Freud we are today much more clearly aware of ‘wishful think- ing’” (p. 12). Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the few books Skinner publicly said he admired was E. B. Holt’s (1915)The Freudian Wish and Its Place in Ethics(see Skinner, 1979, p. 102). In an analysis that was not uncritical of Freud, Skinner (1954) still concluded that Freud made a “great contribu- tion to Western thought” (p. 300). Furthermore, Freud demonstrated that many features of behavior hitherto unex- plained—and often dismissed as hopelessly complex or obscure— could be shown to be the product of circumstances in the history of the individual. Many of the causal relationships he so convincingly demonstrated had been wholly unsuspected— unsuspected, in partic- ular, by the very individuals whose behavior they controlled. Freud greatly reduced the sphere of accident and caprice in our consider- ations of human conduct. (Skinner, 1954, p. 300) Conflict and Harmony In histories of psychology, schools of thought are often important categories: One psychologist belonged to this group, and another was in that group. Good reasons often exist for such categorizing. Consider the fact, however, that the stereotypical view of psychoanalysts is quite different from that of radical behaviorists—and once a person is assigned a group membership, common assumptions about the group may color the way researchers see that individual (see Myers, 2005). This could affect the way psychologists see B. F. Skinner. There is also evidence that people nd negative phe- nomena, like con ict, more interesting than harmony. A survey of more than 17,000 research articles in psychology showed that 69% of the articles dealt with phenomena that were in some sense bad or problematic, con icts among them, whereas 31% treated good or positive issues (Czap- inski, 1985). Furthermore, once we have formed an opin- ion, the mechanisms collectively known as con rmation bias tend to strengthen that opinion, even if evidence exists that should cast doubt on it (see Nickerson, 1998). A preference for focusing more on con icts than on harmony may also have affected the way we have seen the relation between Freud’s and Skinner’s psychologies. Differences between Skinner and Freud have been emphasized to the extent that important similarities have disappeared from view. 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Synthesis of Articles-7 Pages due in 13 hours
Existential Analysis 20.1: January 2009 Mid-Life – A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities? Yana Weaver Key words Individuation, will to meaning, personal growth, lifespan development, owning experience Abstract With age our knowledge, emotions and the way we behave mature. The commonly held view of mid-life crisis is that it is an emotional state of doubt and anxiety in which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is half over. It is a potentially stressful period as it usually involves reflection and re-evalu ation of one’s accomplishments. It usually occurs between the age of 35 and 50 and lasts between 3 and 10 years. This paper compares and contrasts what might be taken as Freud’ s view on middle age, Jung’s idea of indi viduation, Frankl’s idea of will to meaning and Rogers’ idea of personal gr owth: ideas that have relevance to middle age. It also reflects on Erikson’s and Peck’s view of middl e age as a stage in the lifespan development. This paper relates the idea of middle life crisis with Yalom’s research on m eaning in life and Spinelli’s idea of owning experience. It argues that middle age should not necessarily be seen as a time of crisis and loss but of growth and new possibilities. Psychodynamic view According to the psychodynamic view, the major psychological changes occur during childhood. More specifically , as Freud postulated, all three stages of psychosexual development are completed in early childhood. Therefore, the argument follows, a ny crisis occurring in middle life is caused by the ‘disorders of ego’ related to the developmental expe riences in childhood. Thus those suffering from psychogenic neurosis, caused by the conflict of different drives and/or clashes between parts of the psyche developed in childhood, should be treat ed in psychoanalysis by visiting and resolving those early experiences. The end-goal of all activity throughout life is the re-establishment of individual equilibrium which has been disordered in childhood (Wood et al. 2002). Adulthood, according to Freud, is the ‘product’ of childhood, an end point rather than a stage for change in its own right. Freud wrote in 1907 that ‘about the age of 5 0 the elasticity of the mental processes on which treatment depends is, as a rule, 69 Yana Weaver lacking. Old people are no longer educable’ (as cited in Cohen, 2006, p.1). Freud, as Cohen noted, was 51 when he wrote this and a great deal of his work was completed after his 65 th birthday. Jung’s individuation While Freudians considered all crises of middle age to be linked with childhood, Jung talked about middle life le ss in terms of crisis but more in terms of an important period of growth and maturation. Furthermore, whil e Freudians mostly were dealing with patients suffering from neurosis caused by ‘disorders of ego’ and who needed to adjust to social (‘normal’) requirements, the majority of Jung’s patients were …’socially well-adapted individuals, often of outstanding abil ities, to whom normalization means nothing’ (Jung, as cited in Storr, 1973, p.82). So ‘crisis’ or maturation in middle age was not aimed at achieving equilibrium between the self and the requirements of the social worl d but at deepening the meaning of existence for those individuals who have achieved success. These individuals, as Jung stated, were suffering from …’senselessness a nd aimlessness of their lives’ (as cited in Storr, 1978, p. 82). Understanding a crisis of this nature and subsequent emergence from it would only have some meaning to those of middle age. Individuals who have negotiated their youth successfully have usually, according to Jung, developed one side of themselves. They are intelligent and successful but feel something is lacking in their inner life. For ex ample, a good standard of living was generally assumed to be something to aim for in twentieth century Western Europe and America. But it appeared that more was not necessarily better and people continued to search for something else that they described as ‘quality of life’ (Storr, 1978). Jung’s patients were disench anted by their wealth and prosperity. His idea was that through ‘Individuation’ – integration of wholeness, seren ity and harmony within himself and cultivation of the inner self – one ove rcomes middle life crisis (Storr, 1978). To be able to reach those aspects of self that have been neglect ed, Jung suggested, one needs (in analytical therapy with the help of the analyst) to consider the personal underlying values. All people have th em – they are influenced by the collective assumptions and the dominant way o f life of the culture they belong to. Apart from exploration and re-evalua tion of these values and exploration of dreams and phantasies, individuation also means a conscious acceptance of the whole balanced self – neither neglecting nor overdeveloping any part of the self. A person who achieve s this state does not get emotionally puzzled any more and does not negate any part of his/her nature. An essentia l part of this new integration-of-self attitude is acceptance and preparation for death. By understanding and accepting self, others and most of all by preparing for death, one accepts and acknowledges that this awareness is more important than a good 70 Mid-Life – A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities? material standard of living. Jung de scribes it as a ‘religious’ attitude, although a person who achieved this does not have to belong to any religion; it is a spiritua l quest (Storr, 1978). Jung did not think that all people go through the process of individuation. Only those whose consciousness is overdeveloped and who have been detached from their unconsciousness can be encouraged in analytical therapy to take this journey. Neurotics who suffer from weak ego (typically Freudian patient s) should not be tempted towards this kind of thinking (Storr, 1978). For the same reason, individuation does not have much relevance for young people. Although Jung’s ideas related to individuation are generated through his self-analysis and analysis of his rather particular group of patients, some of Jung’s followers would argue that individuation is a natural development process which everyone undergoes for the most part unconsciously (Storr, 1978). Some existentialists’ views Viktor Frankl, the existential therapist, challenged the psychodynamic view that a determined end-goal of al l activity throughout life is the re- establishment of individual equilibri um. Frankl did not see people as mainly trying to gratify their drives a nd satisfy their instincts in order to maintain or restore their inner equilibrium. He thought that people are oriented towards the world of potential meanings and values (Frankl, 1967). Frankl, as did Jung, also talked about the existential emptiness of people. A cross-sectional survey c onducted at a Vienna Hospital in the 1960s, showed that 55% of those screened (both neurological and psychotherapeutic patients) expressed si gns of existential frustration. More than half of those stated that they ha d experienced the feeling that life is meaningless (Frankl, 1967). This existential vacuum, as he called it, may be explained by the instincts and traditions that have been lost by man in the process of becoming a truly human being. Some basic animal behaviour patterns have been lost for ever and man no longer relies on instinctive responses; he has to make choices. More recently, tradition is no longer a powerful guide to what he ought to do. Very often he does no t know what he wishes to do. Instead, as Frankl suggested, he conforms to the wishes of others (wishes to do what others do) or behaves in a totalitarian manner and does what others tell him to do (Frankl, 1959) . Existential vacuum is usually expressed as boredom with life. Although i n constant race against time, we see how people lack ideas about how to add some spiritual experience in their free time. Technological progress, the reduction in the number of working hour s and the increase in leisure time, Frankl predicted, would create a society in which people would not know what to do with their newly acquire d free time. As an example of this, Frankl mentioned ‘Sunday neurosis’, a type of depression affecting people 71 Yana Weaver who lack content in their lives when the busy week is over (Frankl, 195 9). Frankl did not talk about a mid-life crisis as such but by talking of ‘ Sunday neurosis’, ‘the neurosis of unemployment’ and ‘the psychological crisis of retirement and ageing people’ he implied that the search for meaning became paramount at a certain level of maturity. Frankl noted how people think about their survival only when under immediate threat. But when continued survival is not threaten ed, people look for meaning in life. Frankl emphasised the importance for people of the ‘will to meaning’ or finding a sense of purpose in life. The sense of purpose in life must be constructed by each person on their own at a given moment. Further, the meaning of each individual life is not something to be invented but discovered in potentialities which are to be found in the world rather t han within oneself. He emphasised the objectivity of this endeavour and responsibility with which each individua l should respond to the questions of life. He stresses …’that the true m eaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche…’ (Frankl, 1959, p.115). One way, suggested by Frankl, in which personal meaning may be sought is through actions, in particul ar creative activity. Other ways are through experience of nature, through art or experiencing love. But the meaning of existence is not fulfilled by creative activity only. In a situation of unavoidable difficulty and tragic circumstances of suffering, pain an d guilt, meaning may be found in fortitude (Wood et al., 2002). For those troubled with noögenic neurosis (caused by an existential vacuum) F rankl recommended logo-therapy, a therapy that explores man’s search for meaning in which the role of the existen tial therapist is to be with the client on their journey of discovery of their own meaning. As Frankl put it …’what matters is not the meaning of man’s life in general….one can search only for the concrete meanin g of personal existence, a meaning which changes from man to man, from day to day, from hour to hour’ (Frankl, 1967 p.57). Yalom also emphasised the idea that s earch for meaning is intrinsic to our existence and that it needs to be discovered rather than given. One of the reasons why people need meaning is that it creates values which in return confirm one’s sense of meaning (Yalom, 1980). Common values bind people together and form a shared belief system which tells individuals what they ought to do. But the meaning of life is intertwine d and masked with other existential anxieties about isolation, freedom and death. In the case of death anxiety, one of the arguments that Yalom follows is that human beings wish to transcend death and leave something behind that matters. Like Frankl, Yalom does not say explicitly that these concerns are related to middle-aged people only but he illustrated this particular idea with a case study of a patient of his – a 55-year-old composer whose forthcoming birthday made him contemplate the meaning of life – implying that these concerns are more natural at this stage of life . 72 Mid-Life – A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities? The notion of ‘self’, whether in the middle or any other stage of life, as understood by the existential-phenomenological model is always constructed through a particular experience (Spinelli, 1994). Each per son also develops strong (sedimented) beliefs that are the building blocks of self. These beliefs are complex: not just personally, but culturally and socially derived. They are sometimes irrational and distorted but always very strong and it is difficult to change their interpretative power. Usually when there is incongruence between the believed and experienced self, a person is faced with choice; either to embrace the experience or to find some way of alienating it or, as Spinelli put it, ‘disowning’ it ( by for example ‘forgetting’ it or avoiding reflecting on it). In many c ases in order to maintain the status quo, preserve the self-construct and maintain the position in their social world, people tend to go with the latter option and avoid reflection. In the therapeutic setting, in the process of creating ‘a new’ self, people sometimes undermine the importance of their relatio ns to others. Any changes in fundamental beliefs of any individual could have consequences for the relationships of that individual on both a personal and social level. If the client does not co nsider the implications of changes of their self-construct for their relationships with others, as Spinelli suggested, usually one set of disowned self constructs is replaced with another equally ‘disowned’. Examples of this, Spinelli noted, could be seen in many cases of ‘mid-life crisis’. Instead of exploring changes that brought about this ‘crisis’ and tryi ng to accept them and ‘own’ them, a client would replace one set of self-c onstructs with another, neither being congruent with his experience (Spinelli, 1994). What Spinelli suggests , it seems to me, is that to negotiate a mid-life crisis successfully does not require the individual to make changes in order to construct a new ‘s elf’ but to face, explore and accept experi ences that mid-life brings and make an effort in owning them. Reflecting on Spinelli’s presentation of the self being constructed through personally and socially developed sedimented beliefs, it would be interesting to expl ore to what extent a ‘crisis’ of middle age might be viewed as a soci o-cultural construct itself and how many people ‘feel’ it because it is an idea that has been internal ized by their culture or society. Rogers’ personal growth Similarly to Frankl, Carl Rogers, one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychotherapy, explored some existential questions that people ask themselves such as ‘What is my goal in life?’, ‘What am I striving for?’ and ‘What is my purpose?’ These are the questions that ev ery individual asks himself at one time or another, some calmly and some in agonizing uncertainty (Rogers, 1961). Rogers also stated that each individual must answer these questions in his own way. In Rogers’ 73 Yana Weaver writings, they were not explicitly linked to middle age, but as generally people tend to ask themselves these kinds of questions when they are free to choose, it could be taken that they are more common later in life. Ro gers postulated that people’s behaviour is goal-oriented but instead of libido being the driving force, there is a ba sic tendency towards developing their potentials or tendency for ‘personal growth’. From his counselling experience, Rogers noted that people embark on the process of personal growth not only through action but al so by moving away from a part of their self with which they are not content. Rogers, as Frankl did, noted that many people did not know what they wish to do, but knew that they needed to move away from something. Rogers noted that through client- centred therapy, people gradually become more aware of their own situation, more open to experience and changes, accepting others and trusting the self. This process of ‘b ecoming a person’ is never completed – it continues throughout life (Rogers, 1961). Thus it could be said that middle age for Rogers represents a stage in the developmental process when confronting the existential questions related to personal growth. Something positive? Erik Erikson, a neo-Freudian, also considered that psychological development continued throughout life. He suggested that each stage of a person’s life requires the resolution of an issue which could be, if negotiated properly, turned into a ‘vir tue’. Each stage is built on what has gone before and becomes a part of that person’s ego development (Woo d et al. 2002). So crisis is present in the form of a major ‘issue’ that needs to be resolved in all stages of lifespan development. Erikson considered middle adulthood (40-65 years) to be characterized by the concern abou t the legacy one will leave behind a nd growing awareness of mortality. Those who negotiate these concerns in a healthy way are ‘generative’ – they care about others and issues outside themselves. Those who do not negotiate these issues in a healthy way remain focused on their own needs and become self-absorbed (Wood et al. 2002). Although Erikson’s theory was one of the very few which made explicit the role of development in later life, he considered that most developmental changes occur in adolescence. The primary concern of middle age is coming to terms with death. Peck (as cited in Wood et al. 2002) ar gued that this view was too narrow to account for all the issues that are of concern in the last forty year s of life. To address this, Peck attempted to characterize the crisis of middle life in more detail. One area of potential crisis is when one values physical powers more highly than the wisdom that come with age. There is the need to come to terms with a loss of physical strength. But at the same time people gain (one hopes) wisdom in dealing with self and others. Accord ing 74 Mid-Life – A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities? to Peck, it is wrong to deal with life problems by relying on physical capability. Another area of crisis could be if one fails to redefine partners in terms of their personality rather than viewing them as sexual partners only. Another relationship crisis is related to the ability to make new emotional bonds when children leave home and parents die. The fourth and final crisis of middle age, according to Peck, occurs if people fail to keep a flexible and open attitude to life; very often people of middle age are closed to new ideas (Wood et al. 20 02). All these issues are viewed as potential sources of crisis but also, if negotiated well, they can be se en as opportunities for satisfaction and persona l growth. By looking at mid-life issues in more detail, Peck actually viewed later life positively. Yalom also supports Erikson’s idea of the life developmental cycle. H e mentioned George Vaillant’s longitudinal study to illustrate how people’s concerns from the age of 45 onwards are more long term and self- transcending rather than being personal and self-centred, characteristic of adolescence and early adulthood. Cohen (2006) also thinks that growin g old could be filled with positive experiences. The challenge is to reco gnise it and nurture it. Only 10% of middle aged people, Cohen found in the research he conducted (2006), described middle life as a time of crisis . Far more said that they felt more secure and eager to follow a new sense of quest and personal discovery. They thought that they could use the knowledge and experience they had gained to organize their life in a more creative way. Does culture play a part? Theories about meaning of life and mid life crisis are culturally specific rather than universal. Erikson and Peck’s remarks about life span development are based on Western concepts of when people retire, their children leave home and when they stop having sex. While there is evidence that sexual activity declin es with age, some evidence also suggests that it could play an important role in people’s relationshi ps well into their 70s and beyond (Wood et al, 2002). Further, there is a vast difference between western and eastern attitudes to nature and by implication to life. Yalom points out that the westerners’ view is analytical and objective in contrast to the oriental view which is subjective and integrative. While the western world considers past and present as preparation for a ‘point’ in the future which is always goal-oriented, the eastern world never assumes that there is a problem in life that needs to be solved: …’instead, life is a mystery to be lived’ (Yalom, 1980). Within the western world, views on the purpose of life have changed a great deal through history. The early Christians valued contemplation above all else, while the Calvinists, whose theological system has influenced the West’s ideas towards the purpose of life ever since, valued hard work. Those who 75 Yana Weaver do not fit in feel guilty and worthless (Yalom, 1980). The differences are evident within contemporary culture as well. Frankl referred to a survey revealing that 25% of his European stud ents said they were to a degree in an ‘existential vacuum’, while amongst his American students it wa s 60% (Frankl, 1959). In his book ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ he mad e this distinction again by saying ‘…to the European, it is a characteris tic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy’’ (Frankl, 1959, p140). But ha ppiness, as Frankl put it, can not be pursued but can only be a by-produc t when a reason to be happy is found. It seems that some form of mid-life crisis occurs when people see their lives in terms of their expecta tions and missed potentialities, but in this process of reflection, they tend to overlook the valuable contributions they made in the past. Frankl mentioned how these ‘realised values’ in the past are neglected when ‘measuring’ ho w useful a person is to society. As he put it …’today’s society is charact erized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and in particular, it adores the young.’ (Fra nkl, 1959, p. 152). Frankl’s study of existential vacuum in the sixtie s and Cohen’s recent study on mid-life crisis have different results. The questi on is whether this is due to a general maturation of western society, or perhaps the same phenomenon has been looked at in a different way; Frankl focused on negative experience of ageing while Cohen’s survey highlight ed positive experience. Further, most of the research on this subject has been focused on the male life c ycle and the results have been generalized to the whole population. Yalom referred to a recent feminist study offering an important corrective of this view. Middle-aged women, having devoted the first half of their lives to their families, have different desi res (from their middle-aged male counterparts) for the second half of life. While traditionally men become more altruistic at this stage of their life, having achieved success, wo men now have their first experience of having time for themselves since marriage (Yalom, 1980). Ageing brings losses and challenges. By accepting inevitable losses and embracing challenges one can find ways to reach individual potential and in the process maintain physical and mental health. Erikson’s theory of lifespan psychological changes and Frankl’s ideas of striving for dee per meanings resonate with my own experience of middle age. An interesting area for more research would be to investigate the positive experience o f ageing. Knowledge and experience gained through ageing brings spiritual maturity and serenity, which can bene fit not just the individual but also societies as a whole – ‘happy’ people are productive people. Th e alternative seems to me unproductive and unnecessarily bleak. 76 Mid-Life – A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities? Conclusion While most psychodynamic theorists see middle life as a product of childhood, some, such as Erikson and Peck, consider it to be a stage in the lifespan development. Reflection and re-evaluation of one’s accomplishments does not have to be seen necessarily as a time of crisis and negative experience. Facing existential questions, usually associate d with the middle stage of life, is not easy; it often entails conflicts between what one is and what one should or could be (or between one’s belief s and experience), but it also opens up new po ssibilities. It could be said that growth and maturation underlie ex istentialist and humanistic ideas associated with search for meanings: Jung’s individuation, Frankl’ s will to meaning and Rogers’ personal growth. But the good things of middle life do not just happen; the meanings should be actively searched for through creative work, experience of love and fortitude and acceptance and ‘owning’ of the whole self. In doing so , I believe, one can come closer to achieve one’s own individuation, deepen the meaning of one’s own existence and continue one’s own process of personal growth. Yana Weaver has a background in economics and psychology. She is currently in the second year of a Doctorate course in Counselling Psychology at the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology, Regent’s College, London. An earlier version of this paper was originally submitted as a course requirement essay at the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology, Regent’s College, London. I am very grateful to Tony Babarik, my tutor at the time, for his sugges tion to submit the paper for publication. References Cohen, G. (2006). ‘The myth of midlife crisis’ Jan. 16 2006 issu e of Newsweek – the article adapted from ‘The Mature Mind: the Positive power of the Aging Brain’, Basic Books, www.msnbc.msn.com/ id/10753221/site/newsweek/ accessed on 23 February 2007. Frankl, V. (1959). Man’s Search For Meaning . London: The Random House. Frankl, V. (1967). Psychotherapy and Existentialism. New York: Simon and Schuster. Rogers, C.R. (1961). On Becoming a Person. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd. Spinelli, E. (1994). Demystifying Therapy. London: Constable and Company Ltd. Storr, A. (1973). Jung. London, Fontana. 77 Yana Weaver Wood, C., Littleton, K. and Oates, J. (2002). Lifespan development. In Cooper, T. & Roth, I. (eds.) Challenging Psychological Issues. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Yalom, I.D. (1980). Existential Psychotherapy. 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