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Founding Fathers of Psychology Essay

These four men that we are about to talk about are some of the, if not the most important people in psychology. One developed psychology as a school of thought and published the first book on the subject which opened the door for another to develop his theories. Years after the book came out another thinker was inspired to look into the human mind and this time with a more scientifically critical mind and approach, there was a common reason people had problem, he just was not positive what.

This lead two of his students to move on and one focus on the individual versus what the majority has a problem with and made sure that treatment focused on them. The second looked more in depth into what naturally came into our subconscious and how that affected us and our development. These were the non-official founding fathers of psychology. This man never even practiced medicine yet, after graduating from Harvard he went on to become an influential person in psychology (Stone, 2000).

In addition to many other things that William James did to help with the field of psychology, especially the psychological aspects of religion he also dabbled in the use of scientific methods to investigate the mostly untouched spiritual and psychic realm. He was also the first one to fight for psychology to be recognized as a science, everyone after him has him to thank for the distinction as a science (Croce, 2010). The way he fought was just a more unorthodox way of going about it, he did not even like to be called psychologist, in fact he preferred the term philosopher (Goodwin, 2008).

He eventually developed a position that would become the foundation for the functional psychologists, this was known as pragmatism. This was based on the belief that a person had control over what they do and life changes those experiences. This lead to a book that would change the way people looked at psychology as something to take seriously, the Principles of Psychology became the first text book type publication on this subject which led to people like Sigmund Freud and others to develop their theories as well.

Freud is one of the most famous of them all, when anyone thinks of psychology that has not looking in depth into its history will always think of Freud. Freud was not all the way people portray him either if something seemed to be too damaging for his patient it was stopped (Chessick, 2000). Psychoanalysis is hard on everyone on the situation because it digs deep into what makes a person act the way they do. Freud was said to have a unique approach to his patients for his time frame.

He realized that when a person learns something new or experiences something new it does indeed change something about that person, he also knew that the past had something do with it and that there were layers of consciousness to a person that has an effect as well. He made them a part of their therapy and listened to what they wanted out of their therapy instead of dictating to them what they should do with themselves (Frank, 2008). He wanted his patients to be able to be free with themselves and learning their own hindrances that may keep them from doing something that they should be doing with themselves.

He wanted them to be their own person and not held back by whatever has brought them to him. Freud himself focused more on assigning a general reason for people to behave the way they did which is what influenced his students to branch out. Alfred Adler joined Freud’s psychoanalytic movement in 1902, but he left the group in 1911 because of persistent disagreements with Freudian theory (Overholser, 2010). This approach that Adler created was called the Individualistic approach this approach focuses solely on the patient and what experiences have shaped them over the course of their life.

This is one of the most in depth ways to psychoanalyze people, realizing the perceived flaw in Freud’s theory; he took a look at what made the individual unique and how that changed their human experience. This helps improve the one so that eventually that one will go out into society and become responsible for themselves and each other as good members of it. Adler continued to believe that Freud had made a point by looking back at ones childhood for answers but rather than focusing on the sexual root to the problem, he focused on the feelings that came out of a situation (Lafountain, 2009).

For example, if one grew up afraid to take charge of situations because someone else always did it for them, they could have trouble later in life trying to be in charge of themselves or other people. After studying with Freud he went on to focus on how society affects an individual and how that individual functions in society. He believed there were three things a person needed to accomplish in life to be a healthy socially minded person. First is the task of finding how to survive, a job, maintaining ones house, the responsible things. Second is cooperating and being civil as well as respectful to society.

Third are intimate relationships, having children, friends, a spouse. All three of these were crucial to being a normally functioning person in society (Lafountain, 2010). Basically a person is unique in nearly all aspects of their life and that needs to be taken into account in each and every case from psychology to teaching because not everyone is going to fit together well. Carl Jung, as with Adler was inspired and influenced by Freud in the early years of his career and as with that came the eventual disagreement and him going his separate way.

He redefined some of terms that we are more familiar with today. He gave us the terms; introvert, extrovert, conscious, unconscious, collective unconscious, persona, archetype, and more importantly psyche. These were terms to simplify and classify different processes going on in the brain at any given moment, one of the other more important and less verifiable is the theory of collective unconsciousness, this is the belief that collectively humans have a psychological knowledge that they can draw on that is inherent in our genetic make-up (Carter, 2011).

This was closely followed by the archetypes which without collective unconscious as a theory would not be feasible, the archetypes are what those thoughts are made up of in the collective unconscious, something like innate nature that says we are inherently supposed to fear things that would do us harm. Studying this brings out what is instinctual in humans versus what is something that they are aware of doing, much like Freud’s subconscious thought theory. Both agreed that there are things that are in humans that are unconscious and just happen and those needed to be studied and understood as well (Carter, 2010).

Jungian followers believed that like Freud dreams had meaning but in Jung’s school this allowed the person analyzing the dreams to free associate the meaning based off of their own knowledge of mythology and life versus what would be from the person who is being analyzed own life. The thought was that collective unconscious would make the analyst come to the correct conclusion based on unconscious thoughts going back and forth between the two. These four individuals shaped psychology as what it is today, they both indirectly and directly influenced each other even when some of them never met and history has diminished their accomplishments.

James started it all with the mind of a philosopher who enjoyed the concreteness of what science proved but also the mystery of what it left open. Freud was a philosopher who thought more as a scientist and therefore opened the idea that the brain has hidden information in it that needed to be discovered to learn what makes a person themselves. This led Jung and Adler to take his ideals and expand on them where they agreed and where they disagreed. Without them psychology would not be where it is today and you can see little bits of what they contributed throughout its history. .

References Carter, D. (2011). CARL JUNG IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. Contemporary Review, 293(1703), 441. Chessick, R. D. (2000). Psychoanalysis at the Millennium. American Journal Of Psychotherapy, 54(3), 277. Croce, P. J. (2010). Reaching beyond Uncle William: A century of William James in theory and in life. History Of Psychology, 13(4), 351-377. doi:10. 1037/a0021106 Frank, G. (2008). A response to “The relevance of Sigmund Freud for the 21st century. “. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 25(2), 375-379. doi:10. 1037/0736-9735. 25. 2. 375 Goodwin, C. J. (2008).

A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Lafountain, R. (2009). Alfred Adler’s Place in the Field of Psychology. Washington, District of Columbia, US: APA Division 1, Society for General Psychology. Overholser, J. C. (2010). Psychotherapy that strives to encourage social interest:

A simulated interview with Alfred Adler. Journal Of Psychotherapy Integration, 20(4), 347-363. doi:10. 1037/a0022033 Stone, A. A. (2000). Images in psychiatry: William James, 1842-1910. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(10), 1583-1583. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/docview/220496188? accountid=35812.


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