Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hello friends, I was going to keep posting these terms that I obtained mostly off of popular online sources, but I think what in someways at this point might be just as good for someone who wants to brush up on terminology like myself is to just buy the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology; which I already did so I had my ah ha moment and I even bet ah ha is already in that book; but I do hope you enjoy these definitions I got through already on my blog and I have to say the Penguin book is great, really comprehensive.

Psychology Study Notes: Review of Various Terminology:

"Accommodation-Changes in the thickness of the lens of the eye that focus images of near or distant objects on the retina. Also, the process by which existing schemata are modified or changed by new experiences".

"Activational Effect-The effect of a hormone on a physiological system that has already developed. If the effect involves the brain, it can influence behavior. An example is facilitation of sexual arousal and performance".

"Actor Observer Effect-The tendency to attribute one's own behavior to situational factors but others’ behavior to dispositional factors".

"Agrammatism-A language disturbance; difficulty in the production and comprehension of grammatical features, such as proper use of function words, word endings, and word order. Often seen in cases of Broca's aphasia".

"Algorithm-A procedure that consists of a series of steps that will solve a specific type of problem".

"Alleles-Alternative forms of the same gene".

"Anatomical Coding-A means of representing information by the nervous system; different features are coded by the activity of different neurons".

"Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome-An inherited condition caused by a lack of functioning androgen receptors. Because androgens cannot exert their effects, a person with XY sex chromosomes develops as a female, with female external genitalia".

"Androgens-The primary class of sex hormones in males. The most important androgen is testosterone".

"Animism-The belief that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive force".

"Antigen-The unique proteins found on the surface of bacteria; these proteins are what enable the immune system to recognize the bacteria as foreign substances".

"Appeasement Gesture-A stereotyped gesture made by a submissive animal in response to a threat gesture by a dominant animal; tends to inhibit an attack".

"Archetypes-Universal thought forms and patterns that Jung believed resided in the collective unconscious".

"Artificial Selection-A procedure in which animals are deliberately mated to produce offspring that possess particularly desirable characteristics".

"Assimilation-The process by which new information about the world is modified to fit existing schemata".

"Basic level-The level of categorization that can be retrieved from memory most quickly and used most efficiently".

"Basilar membrane-A membrane in the cochlea that, when set into motion, stimulates hair cells that produce the neural effects of auditory stimulation".

"Between-subjects design-A research design in which different groups of participants are randomly assigned to experimental conditions or to control conditions".

"Biofeedback-A self-regulatory technique by which an individual acquires voluntary control over nonconscious biological processes".

"Biomedical therapies-Treatments for psychological disorders that alter brain functioning with chemical or physical interventions such as drug therapy, surgery, or electroconvulsive therapy".

"Blocking-A phenomenon in which an organism does not learn a new stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus, because the new stimulus is presented simultaneously with a stimulus that is already effective as a signal".

"Bottom-up processing-Perceptual analyses based on the sensory data available in the environment; results of analyses are passed upward toward more abstract representations".

"Brain stem-The brain structure that regulates the body's basic life processes".

"Broca's area-The region of the brain that translates thoughts into speech or sign."

"Cannon–Bard theory of emotion A theory stating that an “emotional stimulus produces two co-occurring reactions—arousal “and experience of emotion—that do not cause each other".

"Centration-A thought pattern common during the beginning of the preoperational stage of cognitive development; characterized by the child's inability to take more than one perceptual factor into account at the same time".

"Cerebral cortex-The outer surface of the cerebrum".

"Cerebral hemispheres-The two halves of the cerebrum, connected by the corpus callosum".

"Cerebrum-The region of the brain that regulates higher cognitive and emotional functions".

"Chronological age-The number of months or years since an individual's birth".

"Chunking-The process of taking single items of information and recoding them on the basis of similarity or some other organizing principle."

"Circadian rhythm-A consistent pattern of cyclical body activities, usually lasting 24 to 25 hours and determined by an internal biological clock".

"Dark adaptation-The gradual improvement of the eyes' sensitivity after a shift in illumination from light to near darkness".

"Declarative memory-Memory for information such as facts and events".

"Deductive reasoning-A form of thinking in which one draws a conclusion that is intended to follow logically from two or more statements or premises".

"Demand characteristics-Cues in an experimental setting that influence the participants' perception of what is expected of them and that systematically influence their behavior within that setting".

"Determinism-The doctrine that all events—physical, behavioral, and mental—are determined by specific causal factors that are potentially knowable".

"Diathesis stress hypothesis-A hypothesis about the cause of certain disorders, such as schizophrenia, that suggests that genetic factors predispose an individual to a certain disorder, but that environmental stress factors must impinge in order for the potential risk to manifest itself".

"Dichotic listening-An experimental technique in which a different auditory stimulus is simultaneously presented to each ear".

"Diffusion of responsibility-In emergency situations, the larger the number of bystanders, the less responsibility any one bystander feels to help".

"Discriminative stimuli-Stimuli that act as predictors of reinforcement, signaling when particular behaviors will result in positive reinforcement."

"Distal stimulus-In the processes of perception, the physical object in the world, as contrasted with the proximal stimulus, the optical image on the retina".

"Divergent thinking-An aspect of creativity characterized by an ability to produce unusual but appropriate responses to problems".

"Double blind control-An experimental technique in which biased expectations of experimenters are eliminated by keeping both participants and experimental assistants unaware of which participants have received which treatment".

"Echoic memory-Sensory memory that allows auditory information to be stored for brief durations".

"Ego-The aspect of personality involved in self-preservation activities and in directing instinctual drives and urges into appropriate channels".

"Elaboration likelihood model-A theory of persuasion that defines how likely it is that people will focus their cognitive processes to elaborate upon a message and therefore follow the central and peripheral routes to persuasion".

"Elaborative rehearsal-A technique for improving memory by enriching the encoding of information".

"Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)-The use of electroconvulsive shock as an effective treatment for severe depression".

Electroencephalogram (EEG) A recording of the electrical activity of the brain.

"Encoding-The process by which a mental representation is formed in memory".

"Encoding specificity-The principle that subsequent retrieval of information is enhanced if cues received at the time of recall are consistent with those present at the time of encoding".

"Endocrine system-The network of glands that manufacture and secrete hormones into the bloodstream".

"Engram-The physical memory trace for information in the brain".

"Episodic memories-Long-term memories for autobiographical events and the contexts in which they occurred".

"Equity theory -cognitive theory of work motivation that proposes that workers are motivated to maintain fair and equitable relationships with other relevant persons; also, a model that postulates that equitable relationships are those in which the participants' outcomes are proportional to their inputs".

"Estrogen-The female sex hormone, produced by the ovaries, that is responsible for the release of eggs from the ovaries as well as for the development and maintenance of female reproductive structures and secondary sex characteristics".

"Etiology-The causes of, or factors related to, the development of a disorder".

"Excitatory inputs-Information entering a neuron that signals it to fire".

"Extinction-In conditioning, the weakening of a conditioned association in the absence of a reinforcer or unconditioned stimulus".

"Figure Object-like regions of the visual field that are distinguished from background".

"Five-factor model-A comprehensive descriptive personality system that maps out the relationships among common traits, theoretical concepts, and personality scales; informally called the Big Five".

"Fixed-interval schedule-A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed period of time".

"Fixed-ratio schedule-A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed number of responses".

"Flooding-A therapy for phobias in which clients are exposed, with their permission, to the stimuli most frightening to them".

"Fluid intelligence-The aspect of intelligence that involves the ability to see complex relationships and solve problems".

"Foundational theories-Frameworks for initial understanding formulated by children to explain their experiences of the world".

"Fovea-Area of the retina that contains densely packed cones and forms the point of sharpest vision".

"Frame-A particular description of a choice; the perspective from which a choice is described or framed affects how a decision is made and which option is ultimately exercised".

"Frontal lobe-Region of the brain located above the lateral fissure and in front of the central sulcus; involved in motor control and cognitive activities".

"Functional fixedness-An inability to perceive a new use for an object previously associated with some other purpose; adversely affects problem solving and creativity".

"Functional MRI (fMRI)-A brain imaging technique that combines benefits of both MRI and PET scans by detecting magnetic changes in the flow of blood to cells in the brain".

Friday, July 17, 2009

In this blog entry today I have decided today to look quite a bit into the extensive and influential life of John Bowlby; an interesting man who was influential even to Freud. Bowlby was a British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who became famous with research that was related to child development and because of his creation of an attachment theory. Bowlby studied psychology and pre-clinical sciences at Trinity College in Cambridge where he performed outstanding as a student. After Trinity Bowlby worked with maladjusted and delinquent children and enrolled at University College Hospital in London and at the age of 26 even had professional qualifications in medicine. While Bowlby was in med school he enrolled himself at the Institute for Psychoanalysis. After medical school Bowlby trained for adult psychiatry at Maudsley Hospital and in 1937 he was actually a qualified psychoanalyst. During World War 2 Bowlby was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps and after the war he became a Deputy Director of the Tavistock Clinic and then later a Mental Health Consultant to the World Health Organization. Bowlby was interested in the development of children and so he began working at the Child Guidance Clinic in London. Bowlby was interested from the start of his career in troubles related to the situation of separation and he also was interested in the wartime work of Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham, which means he was interested in their work on evacuees. Bowlby was also interested in the research by Rene Spitz on orphans. By the late 1950's Bowlby had gathered enough observational and theoretical work to indicate the essential importance for human development of attachment from birth. Bowlby was curious of finding out the actual patterns of family interaction that occurs in both healthy and pathological development. Bowlby examined how attachment difficulties were sent down from one generation to another. In Bowlby's development of attachment theory Bowlby talks of the idea that attachment behavior was essentially an evolutionary life strategy for protecting the infant from predators. Bowlby had some views that children were interestingly responding to real life events and not unconscious fantasies, but this perspective was not liked by the psychoanalyst community. Later on in Bowlby's career he expressed the perspective that his interest in real life experiences and situations was foreign to the Kleininan outlook founded by Melanie Klein. In 1949, Bowlby wrote the World Health Organizations report on the mental health of homeless children in post war, because of his related research experience in this area. Bowlby's overall analysis was that "the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate and continuous relationship with their mother (or permanent mother substitute in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment". Bowlby's World Health Report was helpful in causing widespread changes in the practices and prevalence of institutional aid for infants and children and also in the changing of ways related to parents visiting small children and infants in hospitals. However Bowlby's theoretical basis in his health report was controversial in a variety of ways. As Bowlby had came away from psychoanalytic theories that viewed an infant's internal life as being determined by fantasy instead of real life events. At a certain point the health report was actually used by some for political reasons to influence women in not working and leaving their children in daycare by governments that were interested in increasing employment for returning servicemen. In 1962, the World Health Organization published "Deprivation of Maternal care: A Reassessment of its Effects", to which Mary Ainsworth who was Bowlby's close colleague contributed on. This publication by Ainsworth and Bowlby was also written to look at the situation of the previous lack of evidence on the effects of paternal deprivation. In Bowlby's research it was apparent that he was dissatisfied with traditional theories and was looking for new understanding from such fields as evolutionary biology, ethology, developmental psychology, cognitive science and control systems theory and he drew from them to try and develop the innovative notion that the mechanisms that influence an infant emerge as an influence of evolutionary pressure. Bowlby felt a need to develop a new theory of motivation and behavior control based on up-to-date science rather then Freud's espoused older psychic energy model. From the 1950's Bowlby was in personal and scientific contact with European Scientists at the forefront of ethology, like Robert Hinde and Konrad Lorenz. From studying ethology Bowlby was really able to develop a new explanatory hypotheses for what is now known as human attachment behavior. Bowlby was able through the basis of ethological evidence to reject the dominate Cupboard Love Theory of Attachment that was existing in psychoanalysis and learning theory in the 1940's and 50's. "Bowlby also helped bring about the notions of environmentally stable or labile human behaviour allowing for the revolutionary combination of the idea of a species-specific genetic bias to become attached and the concept of individual differences in attachment security as environmentally labile strategies for adaptation to a specific childrearing niche". Interestingly to me also Bowlby's thinking about the nature and function of the caregiver-child relationship influenced ethological research and inspired students of animal behavior, like Harry Harlow. "Bowlby helped influence animal behavior researcher Hinde to start his important work on separation in primates and in general the emphasis of the importance of evolutionary thinking about human development that foreshadowed the new interdisciplinary approach known as evolutionary psychology". Before the publication of the trilogy in 1969, 1972 and 1980 the central principles of attachment theory building on concepts from ethology and development psychology were shown to the British Psychoanalytical in three different papers: "The Nature of the Child’s Tie to His Mother" (1958), "Separation Anxiety" (1959), and "Grief and Mourning in Infancy and Early Childhood" (1960). Bowlby denied psychoanalysts explanations for attachment and from this psychanalysts were not acceptant of Bowlby's theory. Bowlby's former colleague Mary Ainsworth completed thorough observational studies on the nature of infants attachments in Uganda as she kept Bowlby's Ethological perspectives in her own outlooks. This research of Ainsworth and others studies helped significantly to the subsequent evidence base of attachment theory as shown in 1969 through the first Volume of the "Attachment and Loss Trilogy". Attachment theory follows the belief that attachment in infants is essentially a process of proximity searching to a recognized attachment figure in circumstances of a perceived worry for the reason of survival. "Infants become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant, and who remain as regular caregivers for some months from around 6 months to two years of age". "Parental response influences the development of patterns of attachment, which then influence 'internal working models' which will shape and influence the individual's feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships". In Bowlby's notions of attachment, the human infant is thought to have a need for a secure relationship with adult caregivers, without that regular social and emotional progress will not take place. "As the toddler develops, it uses its attachment figure or figures as a secure beginning or base from which to explore". Interestingly to me Mary Ainsworth partly applies a feature called "stranger wariness" to help develop a research tool called the "Stranger Situation Procedure", so to develop and classify different attachment styles. "The attachment process is not specified to gender, as infants will develop attachments to any consistent caregiver who is sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant". "The quality of the social connection seems to be more significant than amount of time spent." Attachment theory has been talked of as the top approach to understanding early social development and to have helped rise a great influence of empirical research into the creation of children's close relationships. "As it is currently established and applied for research purposes, Bowlby's attachment theory emphasizes the following important principles": "1) children between 6 and about 30 months are very likely to form emotional attachments to familiar caregivers, especially if the adults are sensitive and responsive to child communications. 2) The emotional attachments of young children are shown behaviorally in their preferences for particular familiar people, their tendency to seek proximity to those people, especially in times of distress, and their ability to use the familiar adults as a secure base from which to explore the environment. 3) The formation of emotional attachments contributes to the foundation of later emotional and personality development, and the type of behavior toward familiar adults shown by toddlers has some continuity with the social behaviors they will show later in life. 4) Events that interfere with attachment, such as abrupt separation of the toddler from familiar people or the significant inability of carers to be sensitive, responsive or consistent in their interactions, have short-term and possible long-term negative impacts on the child's emotional and cognitive life". Well this had definitely been a long and interesting blog post for me as I don't recall ever yet researching a individual in the field of psychology who went so in depth into the important psychological factors of how attachment operates.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fritz Perls is an interesting figure in psychology to me. I came across his name when looking more into influences of Freud. Perls was a influential German born psychiatrist and psychotherapist of Jewish descent. Perls coined the term 'Gestalt Therapy', which is an approach to therapy that was created with the help of him and his wife Laura Perls. The approach Perls created is related to but not exactly the same as Gestalt Psychology and the Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy of Hans-Ju-rgen Walter. " The center of Gestalt Therapy is about the promotion of awareness and the awareness of the unity of all present feelings and behaviors and the contact among the self and the environment". Perls was widely brought out of the world of psychotherapy interestingly for a quotation of his often described as the "Gestalt Prayer", which goes as follows: "I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped". It is surely apparent to me that Perls definitely had an interesting life from his various research, like the research related text in the book "Ego, Hunger and Aggression" published in 1941 with the help of his wife Laura and from things like being an army psychiatrist in the South African Army during World War 2, where he served as the rank of captain. Perls also worked briefly with Karen Horney in New York and then later on with Wilhelm Reich after being in the South African Army. Around 1947, Perls asked author Paul Goodman to write up some handwritten notes, which also came with the help from Ralph Hefferline and these notes where published as Gestalt Therapy. And to add a couple more interesting facts about Perls life in 1960 Perls moved to California where he continued to provide workshops as a member of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur and then he later moved to Vancouver Island Canada and started a Gestalt Community at Lake Cowichan. So in summary here I have to say it is hard to imagine where the schools of thought of the Gestalt perspective would be without the fascinating works of Fritz Perls.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Rollo May is an American existential psychologist who authored the influential book "Love and Will". May is often associated with humanistic psychology, but unlike other humanists like Maslow May differs because he constructed his principles around the notion of existentialist philosophy. May was also close friends with the theologian Paul Tillich. May was influenced by American humanism and had ambition to reconcile existential psychology with other approaches in psychology and in regards to this May was especially interested in Freud's approach. May had felt that Otto Rank helped influence the most important beginning of existential therapy. "May applied some traditional existential terms in a slightly different way then others and he liked to create new words for traditional existentialist concepts". May developed a type of system to help further understand development, which consists of some of the following:
"Innocence – the pre-egoic, pre-self-conscious stage of the infant. The innocent is only doing what he or she must do. However, an innocent does have a degree of will in the sense of a drive to fulfill needs.
"Rebellion – the rebellious person wants freedom, but has yet no full understanding of the responsibility that goes with it".
"Decision – The person is in a transition stage in their life where they need to break away from their parents and settle into the ordinary stage". In this stage they must decide what path their life will take, along with fulfilling rebellious needs from the rebellious stage".
"Ordinary – the normal adult ego learned responsibility, but finds it too demanding, and so seeks refuge in conformity and traditional values.
Creative – the authentic adult, the existential stage, beyond ego and self-actualizing. This is the person who, accepting destiny, faces anxiety with courage".
In his career May also looked at the sexual revolution of the 1960 and 70's and thought that the increase of sex and pornography in society was influencing people in believing that love and sex are no longer directly associated with each other. May also believed emotion had become disconnected from reason, making it socially acceptable to look for sexual relationships and to ignore the natural drive to relate to another individual and begin new life. So May thought the awakening of sexual freedoms can influence modern society to avoid awakenings at greater levels. May thought the only means of turning around cynical ideas that are part of our generation would be to rediscover the significance of caring for each other or also as May would refer to it, apathy. Mays first book, "The Meaning of Anxiety" was based on his doctoral dissertation which was also based on his understanding of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. May's defining of anxiety would consist of the following: "the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his existence as a self" (1967, p. 72). In 1956, May edited the book "Existence" with the help of Ernest Angel and Henri Ellenberger and this book had helped to introduce existential psychology to the US. May was definitely an interesting man in my view and I am curious to learn more about existential psychology since studying psychology in school I have focused more on humanistic psychology and psychoanalysis.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For this blog today I have decided to write some about an interesting man who goes by the name of Ernest Jones. Jones was a Welsh, neurologist, psychoanalyst and Freud's official biographer. Jones was the first English-language practitioner of psychoanalysis and the President of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and the International Psychoanalytic Association in the 1920's and 30's. Through Jones connection with the surgeon Wilfred Trotter Jones recalled first coming across Freud's work since Jones and Trotter both worked together as surgeons at University College Hospital. Jones was upset at what he came to see of institutionalised treatment of the "insane" and so he started experimenting with hypnotic techniques in his clinical work. Upon attending a congress of neurologists in Amsterdam in 1907 Jones met Carl Jung and obtained a good look at an account of the work of Freud and his circle in Vienna. Jones went along with Jung by joining with him in Zurich to plan the inaugural Psychoanalytic Congress, which was was the place were Jones met Freud for the first time. Jones then Travelled to Vienna for more discussions with Freud and for the meeting of the members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, which helped to create a positive personal and professional relationship between Freud and Jones. Jones took up teaching duties in 1908, at the Department of Psychiatry of Toronto University. Jones also maintained a private psychoanalytic practice and worked as a pathologist for the Toronto Asylum and as Director of its psychiatric outpatient clinic. After further meetings with Freud in 1909 at Clark University, Massachusetts Jones went out and tried to establish strong working relationships with the American psychoanalytic movement by giving some 20 papers or speeches to American professional groups in places like Boston and Chicago. In 1910, Jones co-founded the American Psychopathological Association and the following year the American Psychoanalytic Association where he became the first secretary up until the time of 1913. Jones also found the time in his career eventually for a rigorous programme of writing and research, which helped create the first of what were to be many important gifts to psychoanalytic literature. A number of these writings were published in German in the big time periodicals published in Vienna and they helped to lock in Jones status in Freud's close circle. "As Jones became closer to Freud he initiated with him the creation of a Secret Committee of loyalists to safeguard the theoretical and institutional legacy of the psychoanalytic movement". In 1913, Jones went to London and set up a practice as a psychoanalyst and established the London Psychoanalytic Society as he also lectured and wrote about psychoanalytic theory. Some papers of Jones appeared as papers on Psychoanalysis and the first comprehensive account of psychoanalytic theory and practice published in English. By 1919, Jones established the British Psychoanalytical Society and held the post as President until 1944. Jones also created funding for and supervised the creation in London of a Clinic that offered subsidised fees and he also helped establish an Institute of Psychoanalysis for those in the field. Jones served two periods as President of the Psychoanalytic Association from 1920 to 1924 and 1942 to 1949. In 1920, Jones also founded the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and worked as the editor until 1939. The following year Jones established the International Psychoanalytic Library, which in return helped published some 50 books under Jones editorship. Jones was a great influence on the British Medical Association decision of officially recognizing psychoanalysis in 1929. In return from this move by the Association the BBC decided to remove Jones from a list of speakers declared to be dangerous to public morality and in the 1930's Jones made a series of appearances on the radio speaking about psychoanalysis. While Hitler took control of Germany Jones aided many displaced and at risk Jewish analysts to resettle in England and other countries. After Anschuluss of March 1939, Jones flew to Vienna bravely to help negotiate and organise the emigration of Freud and his circle to London. After the war Jones slowly ceased the continuing of his posts, while continuing his psychoanalytic practice, writings and lecturing. Jones most major accomplishment of his final years of work was the publishing to widespread notoriety of three volumes about Freud's life and work. Jones was proud of his Welsh origins in his life and was a member of the Welsh Nationalist Party Plaid Cymru. Interestingly to me the successful Jones was also made a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1942 and Honorary President of the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1949 and an Honorary Doctor of Science at Swansea University in 1954. What I found most interesting about Jones from conducting this blog entry was how influential and prominent he was through all his establishments and how significant his relationship to Freud was in the field of psychology.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Melanie Klein was a Austrian born British psychoanalyst who helped formulate new therapeutic techniques for children and she had a significant influence on child psychology and modern psychoanalysis. Klein had questioned some of the groundwork assumptions of Freud but Klein always thought of herself as a faithful follower to Freud's ideas. Klein was innovative with her work and interestingly she also was the first person in the field to apply traditional psychoanalysis upon young children. Klein was well opinionated and demanding of loyalty from those who followed her work and Klein was able to create quite the influential training program in psychoanalysis. Klein is also considered to be one of the co-founders of object relations theory. "Klein's theoretical work in time became more focused on speculative hypothesis and was eventually accepted by Freud, which actually stated that life may be a delicate occurrence, that is drawn to an inorganic state and therefore, in an unspecified sense, withholds a drive towards death". "Also put in another fashion of psychological wording Eros (properly, the life instinct) is thereby presumed to have a companion force, Thanatos (death instinct), which allegedly attempts to terminate and disintegrate life. "Klein and Freud both felt that biomental forces were the foundation of the mind". "Freud and Klein never went astray from terms of theirs or conceptualizations although there were protests and controversies by followers, especially now". Klein was innovative in working with children directly often at the age of only two years old and she saw children's play as the main mode of emotional communication as she attempted to interpret emotional meanings of play. Klein realised that parental figures had a important role in the child's phantasy life and she considered that the timing of Freud's Oedipus complex was not fully clear. In contrast to Freud, Klein concluded that the superego was around a much longer time before the Oedipal phase. "After looking into ultra-aggressive phantasises related to hate, envy and greed in young ill children Klein came up with a model of the human mind that connected significant oscillations of state, with whether the postulated Eros or Thanatos instincts were in the fore". "She named the state of the mind, when the sustaining principle of life is in power, the depressive position". "The psychological state corresponding to the disintegrating tendency of life she called the paranoid schizoid position". Klein's feelings on regarding aggression as a significant influence in its own right when evaluating children stirred up some conflict with Anna Freud, a big time child psychotherapist who was working in England at the time. At current times Kleinian psychoanalysis is one of the big schools within psychoanalysis and Kleinian psychoanalysts are also members of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Kleinian psychoanalysis is claimed to be the most significant school of psychoanalysis in Britain, in much of Latin America, and with the possible exclusion of Lacanianism, in much of continental Europe. In the USA, the Psychoanalytic Center of California is the most key training center that follows the ideas of Melanie Klein's work. Kleinian psychoanalysis with adults consists of a very traditional method that applies using an analytic couch and meeting four to five times a week. Kleinian analysis focuses on the comprehension of very "deep" and primitive emotions and phantasies. So just from this blog entry I can see it is obvious that Melanie Klein was brillant and I found it interesting how much of what she did reminds me of the psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today I have chosen to blog about Margaret Mahler a fairly familiar name to me especially when I hear of related talk to Sigmund Freud's research. Mahler was a Hungarian physician who later on became interested in psychiatry and she was a key figure on the topic of psychoanalysis. Mahler was mostly interested in normal child development and she spent much time with understanding children and how they arrive at the self. Through Mahler's studying she developed the Separation-Individuation theory of child development. Mahler worked as a psychoanalyst with young troubled children and in 1950 herself and Manuel Furer established the Masters Children's Centre in Manhattan. There Mahler developed the Tripartite Treatment Model, in which the mother was involved in the treatment of the child. Mahler helped bring about a more constructive exploration of serious troubles in childhood and emphasized the importance of the environment and it's influences on the child. Mahler especially was curious of the mother-infant duality and carefully recorded the influence of early separations of children from their mothers. This recording of separation-individuation was her most important aspect she offered to the development of psychoanalysis. Mahler helped to explain the normal and abnormal features of the developmental ego psychology. Mahler worked with psychotic children, while psychosis had not been involved in psychoanalytic treatment yet. Symbiotic child psychosis interested Mahler and her most important work is "The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant:Symbiosis and Individuation, written in 1975 with Fred Pine and Anni Bergman. Interestingly to me in Mahler's Separation-Individuation Theory of Child Development Mahler's theory of development takes place in phases and with several sub phases which consist of the following:
"Normal Autistic Phase - First few weeks of life. The infant is detached and self absorbed. Spends most of his/her time sleeping. Mahler later abandoned this phase, based on new findings from her infant research She believed it to be non-existent. The phase still appears in many books on her theories."
"Normal Symbiotic Phase - Lasts until about 5 months of age. The child is now aware of his/her mother but there is not a sense of individuality. The infant and the mother are one, and there is a barrier between them and the rest of the world."
"Separation-Individuation Phase - The arrival of this phase marks the end of the Normal Symbiotic Phase. Separation refers to the development of limits, the differentiation between the infant and the mother, whereas individuation refers to the development of the infant's ego, sense of identity, and cognitive abilities. Mahler explains how a child with the age of a few months breaks out of an “autistic shell” into the world with human connections. This process, labeled separation-individuation, is divided into subphases, each with its own onset, outcomes and risks. The following subphases proceed in this order but overlap considerably.
Hatching – first months. The infant ceases to be ignorant of the differentiation between him/her and the mother. "Rupture of the shell". Increased alertness and interest for the outside world. Using the mother as a point of orientation."
"Practicing – 9-about 16 months. Brought about by the infant's ability to crawl and then walk freely, the infant begins to explore actively and becomes more distant from the mother. The child experiences himself still as one with his mother."
"Rapproachement –15-24 months. In this subphase, the infant once again becomes close to the mother. The child realizes that his physical mobility demonstrates psychic separateness from his mother. The toddler may become tentative, wanting his mother to be in sight so that, through eye contact and action, he can explore his world. The risk is that the mother will misread this need and respond with impatience or unavailability. This can lead to an anxious fear of abandonment in the toddler. A basic ‘mood predisposition’ may be established at this point. Rapproachment is divided into a few sub phases:
Beginning - Motivated by a desire to share discoveries with the mother.
Crisis - Between staying with the mother, being emotionally close and being more independent and exploring.
Solution - Individual solutions are enabled by the development of language and the superego."
"Disruptions in the fundamental process of separation-individuation can result in a disturbance in the ability to maintain a reliable sense of individual identity in adulthood."
"And this is also Object Constancy the phase when the child understands that the mother has a separate identity and is truly a separate individual. This leads to the formation of Internalization, which the internal representation that the child has formed of the mother. This Internalization is what provides the child with an image that helps supply them with an unconscious level of guiding support and comfort from their mothers. Deficiencies in positive Internalization could possibly lead to a sense of insecurity and low self esteem issues in adulthood." So it is quite intersting to read more about and blog of another in depth researcher in psychology who studied the development of children and who has such a big impact on this topic like Jean Piaget or Eric Erikson.