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Tom Greening - Advice to Students

Tom Greening, Ph.D.
3923 Benedict Canyon Drive
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Phones: Monday-Friday 8-6, call: 310-474-0064 and leave a message.
After 6 pm, on weekends, or if I don't call back soon, call 818-784-2895.
Feel free to call evenings or weekends.

Email: [email protected]

Web: http://www.tomgreening.com

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This booklet contains advice, requests, guidelines, resources, and general thoughts which I have found useful to provide to Saybrook students doing course work, essays, and dissertations with me, or who are trying to decide whether they want to study with me. Feel free to discuss this material with me, especially if you are not clear about it, if you want to negotiate some changes, or if it seems to conflict with the Saybrook Student Guide or Catalog.

These notes are based on my experiences teaching Saybrook students; participating in faculty meetings; serving on the Faculty Curriculum Committee; studying the Saybrook catalog; being a graduate student at the University of Michigan; teaching and training graduate students at UCLA, Pepperdine University, CSPP, Goddard, and Antioch; and reading about training and education in psychology. Since 1976 I have regularly facilitated groups of psychology graduate students and have heard their very personal reports of their experiences. I have also worked as a psychotherapist with many professors and graduate students as clients and learned about their positive and negative experiences that way. I am trying to distill all this into some observations that may be useful for Saybrook.

Note: Whenever you plan to schedule a conference with me at a Residential Conference, please let me know in advance so I can review your file and bring it with me.

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2. To: Saybrook students taking courses with me
From: Tom Greening.
Re: Some advice, suggestions, and requests.

  • Use the following contact information for me:

    Tom Greening, Ph.D.
    3923 Benedict Canyon Drive
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

    Monday-Friday 8-6, call: 310-474-0064 and leave a message.
    After 6 pm, on weekends, or if I don't call back soon, call 818-784-2895.
    Feel free to call evenings or weekends.

    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.tomgreening.com

  • Before you submit a course paper to me, be sure you are registered for the course.

  • When you submit a course paper to me, include a cover sheet with the following information:

    • Your name, address, phone numbers, email.
    • Course title, my name, Saybrook University.
    • Number and title of paper, number of credits, date.
    If the paper is a revision, indicate that.

  • Use 12 point type, double-spaced, preferably Verdana font, with ample margins and ragged right margins. Number all pages. OK to send as email attachment.

  • If you send a hard copy, send only one copy. Staple or clip the paper in the upper left corner. (No fancy binders)

  • I will annotate your paper, make a photocopy of all or part of it for my file, and return the marked copy to you marked "Accepted" or with requests for revisions..

  • If you send your paper by FedEx or other fast mail, tell them to leave it and not request a receipt.

  • Optional: If you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope it will speed up the return of your paper because there will be no delay while it waits for me or my part-time secretary to mail it back to you.

  • Use the course guide as just that: A guide. Negotiate with me for ways to personalize the course to suit your particular learning interests or needs. I want you to master the academic content of the course, but also to find ways to put yourself into your papers and to relate the course material to your actual life and work experience, past, present and future.

  • Use APA style for citing and listing references. Carefully verify that all references cited in the text are listed under "References." Cite original sources whenever possible.

  • Do not use masculine pronouns to refer to people in general Refer to research "participants," not "subjects." (APA editorial policy).

  • Don't "over-write" with jargon and convoluted sentences. Lean toward short simple sentences, unless you are a really good writer and can handle more complex syntax.

  • IMPORTANT: When you complete a course for me (all papers accepted), send me a statement of 250 words or less describing what you did and learned in the course, for me to adapt for use on the credit form. Write this about yourself in the third person. Be both complimentary and critical, as appropriate. A week or so after you send this statement, check to be sure I have entered the credit for you in Saybrook's SMS system. Remember that I sometimes do not do this during the February and August vacation months or during residential conferences.

  • We will welcome your feedback regarding the extent to which the course serves Saybrook's mission and your own learning goals, and how it could do so better.


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3. To: Saybrook students writing candidacy essays for me
From: Tom Greening.
Re: Some advice, suggestions, and requests.

  • Use the following contact information for me:

    Tom Greening, Ph.D.
    3923 Benedict Canyon Drive
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

    Monday-Friday 8-6, call: 310-474-0064 and leave a message.
    After 6 pm, on weekends, or if I don't call back soon, call 818-784-2895.
    Feel free to call evenings or weekends.

    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.tomgreening.com

  • Before you submit an essay to me, be sure your are correctly registered for it.

  • When you submit an essay to me, attach a cover sheet with the following information: Essay title. Your name, address, phone numbers, email. My name, Saybrook University, date. If the essay is a revision, indicate that.

  • The next page should contain an abstract of your essay. See the Student Handbook for guide on writing abstracts.

  • Use 12 point type, double-spaced, preferably Verdana font, with ample margins and ragged right margins. Number all pages. OK to send email attachment. If you send a hard copy, make it dark, clear, and legible, and staple or clip the essay in the upper left corner. (No fancy binders)

  • Length: 25-30 pages plus references.

  • Send me only one copy of your essay. I will annotate it, make a photocopy of all or part of it for my file, and return the marked copy to you.

  • If you send your essay by FedEx or other fast mail, tell them to leave it at my address and not request a receipt.

  • Optional: If you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope it will speed up the return of your essay because there will be no delay while it waits for me or my part-time secretary to mail it back to you.

  • Use APA style for citing and listing references. Carefully verify that all references cited in the text are listed under "References." Cite original sources whenever possible.

  • Do not use masculine pronouns to refer to people in general Refer to research "participants," not "subjects." (APA editorial policy).

  • Don't "over-write" with jargon and convoluted sentences. Lean toward short simple sentences, unless you are a really good writer and can handle more complex syntax. Do not use the "royal we." You are the author.

  • IMPORTANT: Soon after you hear from me that your essay has been accepted, you should receive credit for it that I have recorded with the Registrar. If credit doesn't appear in a week or so, call me.

  • Well before the date of your candidacy oral exam, make sure all three of your essay readers have identical final copies of all three of your essays so they will have ample time to review them before the oral exam.

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4. To: Saybrook students on whose doctoral dissertation committees I serve.
From: Tom Greening.
Re: Some advice, suggestions, and requests.

  • Use the following contact information for me:

    Tom Greening, Ph.D.
    3923 Benedict Canyon Drive
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

    Monday-Friday 8-6, call: 310-474-0064 and leave a message.
    After 6 pm, on weekends, or if I don't call back soon, call 818-784-2895.
    Feel free to call evenings or weekends.

    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.tomgreening.com

  • When you submit a dissertation proposal or dissertation to me, attach a cover sheet with the following information: Dissertation or proposal title. Your name, address, phone numbers, email. Saybrook University, date. Names of chair and committee members. If the proposal or dissertation is a revision, indicate that.

  • See the Student Handbook for guide on writing the proposal, dissertation and abstract, and also see various sections of my handout: Writing Your Dissertation: A Packet of Helpful Information which includes Dissertation and Graduation Sequence.

  • OK to send as email attachment. If you send hard copy, clip the proposal or dissertation at the top, or put a rubber band around it. (No staples or fancy binders, please.)

  • Use 12 point type, double-spaced, preferably Verdana font, with ample margins and ragged right margins. Number all pages.

  • Use a spell-checker, and proof-read carefully. Don't make me do technical editing; let me concentrate on content.

  • Use APA style for text, and for citing and listing references. Carefully verify that all references cited in the text are listed under "References." Cite original sources whenever possible.

  • Do not use masculine pronouns to refer to people in general Refer to research "participants," not "subjects." (APA editorial policy).

  • Don't "over-write" with jargon and convoluted sentences. Lean toward short simple sentences, unless you are a really good writer and can handle more complex syntax. Avoid using the "royal we." You are the author.

  • I will annotate your document, make a photocopy of all or part of it for my file, and return the annotated copy to you.

  • If you send your proposal or dissertation by FedEx or other fast mail, tell them to leave it at my address and not request a receipt.

  • Optional: If you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope it will speed up the return of your proposal or dissertation because there will be no delay while it waits for me or my part-time secretary to mail it back to you.

  • Faculty Turn-Around Times (from date received to date mailed, excluding February and August):
    • Dissertation Proposals: 3 weeks
    • Dissertation Chapters (single): 3 weeks
    • Dissertations (two or more chapters): 4 weeks
    Call me if you have not received your material back in time.

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From day received to day mailed back to student.

Faculty are required to mail course papers, essays, dissertation proposals, dissertation chapters, and dissertations back to students within the following agreed upon times. If you do not receive a paper etc. back when expected, call me immediately.

If you are under time pressure and want to go to the expense, you can FedEx or Priority Mail material to me and/or enclose the necessary envelope for me to return the material by one of those fast means. Be sure to tell the mail service not to request a signed receipt.

Some students also enclose acknowledgment cards for me to sign, date and mail back to them when I receive their material so they are not left wondering when and if I received it.

Remember, faculty are on vacation in February and August. Those months do not count as part of the turn-around time. Faculty are also allowed two additional weeks vacation per year.

Course Papers: 2 weeks

Candidacy Essays: 3 weeks

Dissertation Proposals: 3 weeks

Dissertation Chapters (single): 3 weeks

Dissertations (two or more chapters): 4 weeks

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I hope students doing doctoral research with me as their chairman or on their committees will enjoy and value the process as well as the result. Being clear about the process of doctoral research at Saybrook will increase your ability to make this happen. We will need to develop a relationship with each other in which we can communicate fully about anything involved in your research project, including our relationship, and we will also need to work together to be sure we know and meet all of Saybrook's requirements.

I want, and I assume you want, your dissertation to be personally meaningful to you and to be a social contribution, not just an academic exercise. Thus, I will ask you why you want to do this research and why you believe the result somehow will be valuable to other people. Earning a Ph.D. and using it after your name are public social acts, not just private individual acts. You are asking other people (the general public, other scholars and professional colleagues) to trust and respect your work and you as a Ph.D. psychologist. I want you to feel confident and proud that you deserve this trust and respect as a result of the work you do at Saybrook.

I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in a highly regarded, conventionally structured APA-approved doctoral program in clinical psychology. There were many positive and negative aspects of the process and results of that experience for me. I have also been a clinical professor at UCLA for twenty years and have seen the positive and negative aspects of the process and results of that program. Saybrook's program is different from programs like Michigan's and UCLA's because many of us believe there are different, and in some ways better, paths for people to pursue toward Ph.D.'s in psychology.

Alternative programs like Saybrook's have critics who claim that such programs are not better or even as good as traditional programs. It is my commitment, and I believe that of the other Saybrook faculty members, to learn what we can from these criticisms and from our own graduate school experiences as students and faculty, and to develop and affirm the unique value of Saybrook's model. I ask you to join us in this exciting and innovative venture by doing your dissertation research in such a way that it is an excellent example of what is best about Saybrook's program.

Based on my own experiences and observations, I have sometimes expounded a cynical and untested theory that getting a Ph.D. in psychology is ultimately a rite of passage designed to enable faculty members to inflict on students displaced revenge for the suffering that was inflicted on them, and to resolve the irresolvable ambiguity about who deserves a Ph.D. in psychology and at what point in the ordeal. I believe we can avoid replicating such a rite of passage at Saybrook.

I also hope we can make your experience somewhat more positive that Churchill's first experience at writing a book. He said that it was "an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."

At your final oral exam you will present, explain, and defend your dissertation. By then, you, your doctoral committee, and any outside consultants should have carefully designed your research and polished your dissertation so that no unexpected problems arise. I would like to see you feel proud, confident and articulate at your final oral exam so that it is a self-actualizing experience for you, not an anxiety-provoking ordeal. I would also like to see you be open, receptive and curious so you can participate in a free-flowing discussion of your dissertation, its strengths and weaknesses, and its implications. Let's work together throughout the dissertation process toward the goal of making your final oral exam and the launching of your dissertation and you as a Ph.D. psychologist into the public arena be a fulfilling experience for you and Saybrook.

Proposed Questions for Doctoral Oral Exams

At one doctoral oral exam Amedeo Giorgi asked the student a question that I would like to recommend be included whenever appropriate in future exams. I paraphrase the question as follows:

— How did the process of doing this doctoral research on this topic using this method affect your own personal process, experience, and attitude in regard to that topic and the method you used?

The student gave an excellent, introspective, personal response with an illustrative anecdote.

As I think about other students' dissertation research, the question seems applicable and useful. It can elicit an exploration of how the process and content of the research is experientially meaningful to the student and how it might be so for other people. Such a question can be an expression of Saybrook's mission to develop students and research with meaningful connections to lived human experience.

Here are some additional questions:

— Based on your experience with your research and dissertation, what suggestions do you have for other students who might want to build upon and follow up your work?

— What unresolved questions remain regarding your topic and method?

— What post hoc hypotheses do you have that could be systematically studied? How?

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My primary purpose in serving as a faculty member in Saybrook's graduate program is to offer an education in psychology, particularly existential-humanistic psychology, that will help students value, study and assist experiencing persons as members of the human and global community.

Existential and humanistic psychology are especially concerned with human subjectivity, choice, meaning and intentionality, and thus are central to my conception of Saybrook's program.

My goal is to guide students in discovering and developing in themselves and others what is unique about human beings as self-conscious, self-transcending creators, not only as individuals but also as loving members of society and as reverent participants in Being. To quote Roger Sperry (1995):

Countering prior physicalist views, the new principles of causality affirm that subjective human values are today the most strategically powerful driving force governing the course of events in the civilized world--and the key to our global predicament and its solution.

Of the interest areas at Saybrook, the Clinical Inquiry area continues to be the primary interest of the majority of students. Students who are actively involved in psychology service careers and who want the kind of psychology program Saybrook offers expect courses with clear psychological content and relevance to clinical work. Thus, Saybrook tries to design a significant part of its psychology program and courses in such a way that they are genuinely appealing to such service-oriented students. However, the faculty highly values critical thinking, argument analysis and contextual studies, and strives to make these approaches relevant to students' on-going and intended careers.

Saybrook provides traditional psychology course content but from a unique perspective. For example, the Foundations of Clinical Thought course teaches students how to write case histories, but from the perspectives of existential humanistic psychology, depth psychology, DSM IV, and transpersonal orientations. Thus, students learn to speak the languages of traditional as well as non-traditional psychology, preparing them for a variety of work settings. They are prepared to work as clinicians, consultants researchers and educators, while at the same time being able to write original documents about their work. Other courses follow this multiple approach model. For example, the course on functional/dysfunctional behavior teaches students a broad historical and critical foundation of psychology as a discipline, the DSM IV and a critique of it, and then a cultural approach to psychopathology through the arts and literature.

An anecdote told by a new Saybrook student is informative. She talked with a colleague who had considered Saybrook but instead chose a traditional university-based program and was finishing her doctoral work there. That student was envious of the Saybrook student for getting "a real education" and learning how to think instead of merely learning what was required of her.

While disciplined graduate study in psychology necessitates critical thinking that makes use of the humbling discoveries made by Copernicus, Darwin, Freud, Marx, and the deconstructionists regarding the illusions, limitations and distortions of the self as agent, my goal is to empower students to understand and champion persons for whom will, intentionality, meaning-making, creativity, authenticity, and caring relatedness toward life are basic concerns.

I believe that it is important to study critically those theories which emphasize dehumanizing, reductionistic and deterministic views of human beings, such as the medical model, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, Marxism and capitalism, in order to create wise and effective theories and actions to counteract and transcend these theories. This is especially important in view of the history of American psychology, which has frequently emphasized scientism, manipulation, prediction and control, and the service of power, and which now is embracing biogenetic, medical and managed care models.

Given my orientation and purpose, here is my way of describing how Saybrook's interest areas would ideally approach the enhancement of human experience: (Note: The following was written before Saybrook's new organization into concentrations, but is still relevant.)

1. The Clinical Inquiry Area would focus on methods of facilitating self-determined change and growth at a personal, subjective level, often for people and in situations where self-actualization and personhood have been devalued and stunted.

2 The Consciousness Studies Area would educate students to understand, experience, and expand human consciousness in its many manifestations so that it can be the positive evolutionary force in the universe that Sperry, Teilhard de Chardin and others believe it can be.

3 The Health Studies Area would concentrate on educating students to be more effective in relating to living and dying people who are dispensing and receiving health care as whole, experiencing, mortal persons in complex human systems.

4. The Systems Inquiry Area would analyze complex problems into component elements, and synthesizes wholes and patterns of relationships into systems that will more synergically serve our humanness and the planet.

5. The Organizational Inquiry Area would educate professionals involved in consultation, planned change, or problems of growth and development in public and private organizations so that they may more consciously and effectively serve the people they are intended to serve and the human community and planet as a whole.

6. The Social Philosophy and Political Psychology Area would concentrate on those areas of study designed to enhance our understanding of how people in large official and unofficial groups work to affect their collective welfare, and of how such aberrations as war and global pollution occur and might be prevented.

7. The Conflict Resolution and Peace Psychology Area would use theories and methods from psychology and other relevant fields to address local and global conflicts using mediation, citizen diplomacy, consultation with policymakers, etc.

Although I am primarily identified with the Psychology Program and the Clinical Inquiry Area at Saybrook, my statements here also have relevance for the Human Science Program and for human science as studied and applied by students in the Psychology Program.

Amedeo Giorgi (1992) has called for a conceptualization of science in psychology that honors the essential qualities of human being, and argues that the characteristic of transcendence is one among possible others that qualitatively distinguishes "...human beings from natural phenomena and thereby provides a foundation for the development of a science rigorously faithful to persons' expressed meanings."

Reviewing the history of humanistic psychology, Giorgi (1992) writes that:

...when it came to its research program, humanistic psychology failed almost completely. That's because it tried to fit the new-found emphasis on the human person into the framework of the natural scientific approach. It didn't fully realize that the complexity and uniqueness of the person also required a different interpretation of science.

At this time Saybrook has not decided to focus on teaching qualitative human science research methods and leave the teaching of traditional experimental and quantitative methods to other institutions, but there is much creative discussion of various research methods and paradigms. Giorgi challenges us:

...has humanistic psychology clarified the meaning of human in a sufficiently radical way? Has this radical conception of being human been allowed to influence the framework with which humanistic psychology studies its phenomena?

This challenge is part of the discussion of how we want Saybrook students to study and do research.

I, like Giorgi, am cautiously positive about how the practices of therapy within humanistic psychology may respect and serve what is essentially human, because, as Giorgi writes,

...the culture of psychotherapy is less influenced by the natural scientific model (although the medical model has had the same type of influence as the natural sciences did in research practices)...

I hope Saybrook will continue to build on the existential and humanistic psychotherapies and theories of James Bugental, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Fritz Perls, Carl Rogers, Irvin Yalom and others in order to fulfill its mission as a force in graduate education dedicated to understanding the uniqueness of human beings and helping them be all they can be.


Giorgi, A. (1992). Whither Humanistic Psychology? The Humanistic Psychologist, 20 (2 & 3), pp. 422-438.

Sperry, R. (1995, Spring). The Riddle of Consciousness and the Changing Scientific Worldview. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 35 (2).


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By their own theories of human nature,

psychologists have the power of elevating

or degrading that same nature.

Debasing assumptions debase human beings;

generous assumptions exalt them.

Gordon Allport

In the Saybrook catalog the Mission Statement says that the institute is committed to providing a creative environment for graduate study in humanistic psychology and "...fostering the full expression of the human spirit and humanistic values in society." Among the goals of the psychology program are the following: "To change the ways psychology is conceptualized, critiqued, researched, studied, taught and applied so as to make it maximally relevant to whole human beings" and "To better the human condition by contributing to theories of psychology and to the education of psychologists in ways that emphasize the enhancement and emancipation of people."

The following statement appears in a Saybrook brochure:

In 1964 a conference at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, launched humanistic psychology as a social movement within psychology. It was from this founding conference that we adopted the name Saybrook Institute. Leading figures in the psychology of personality and in the humanistic disciplines participated: Gordon Allport, George Kelly, Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray, and Robert White of the founding generation; Charlotte Buhler, representing a European tradition of research that was subsequently labeled "life-span development," Jacques Barzun and Rene Dubos as humanists from literature and biological science, and James Bugental, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, and Carl Rogers, who became the intellectual leaders of the movement. These founders did not intend to neglect scientific aspirations; rather, they sought to influence and correct the positivistic bias of psychological science as it then stood.

"The Saybrook Conference developed as a protest against both the theory of behaviorism and orthodox psychoanalysis. There was a feeling that neither of these versions of psychology dealt with human beings as human. Nor did they deal with real problems of life. At that conference we discussed what the elements of humanistic psychology would be." (Rollo May)

Today, humanistic psychology can be defined, in Buhler's terms, as the scientific study of behavior, experience, and intentionality. It is this perspective which Saybrook Institute espouses within its psychology program.

Actually, humanistic psychology began in the late 1950's in an earlier series of conferences involving additional people such as Dorothy Lee, Sidney Jourard, Clark Moustakas and Anthony Sutich, and with the founding of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and the Association of Humanistic Psychology in 1961 The point here, however, is that humanistic psychology served as the founding theory for Saybrook Graduate School (originally called the Humanistic Psychology Institute), and is now presented as the "...perspective which Saybrook Institute espouses within its psychology program."

The question immediately arises as to the degree to which humanistic psychology in fact does represent the perspective of Saybrook Graduate School psychology program and faculty. There has been and is now much creative discussion about this. Faculty members have a wide range of interests and orientations and cannot be characterized as a group as sharing a predominantly humanistic psychology orientation, although that is a strong theme at Saybrook. Some faculty members, however, are uncomfortable with too close an identification with humanistic psychology, and this is partly what led to changing the name of the institute. They don't like the association with what some allege are "flaky" and anti-intellectual aspects of humanistic psychology. They fear that prospective students and financial supporters might be alienated by a narrow or superficial connection between Saybrook with humanistic psychology. Some faculty members argue that no one theory or method should be emphasized to the exclusion of others. Even those who identify themselves with humanistic psychology agree that it should continue to develop its connections to other psychologies, especially existential psychology, transpersonal psychology, Jungian psychology, psychosynthesis, Gestalt psychology, life-span developmental psychology, psychoanalytic self psychology, cognitive psychology, political psychology and human science research.

After some years of absence there is now again a Humanistic Psychology course at Saybrook, and this orientation is also included in more of Saybrook's courses than it is in most other doctoral psychology programs. A survey of students in 1991 revealed that many were attracted to Saybrook by its humanistic psychology orientation.

Members of the Association for Humanistic Psychology have been active participants in Saybrook Graduate School over the years. James Bugental, the first president of AHP, was on the Saybrook faculty and still serves as an emeritus faculty member. Rollo May, another founder of AHP, was also an emeritus faculty member until his death. Saybrook faculty members Dennis Jaffe and Stanley Krippner served as presidents of AHP. Amedeo Giorgi, Stanley Krippner, David Lukoff, Ruth Richards, and I are active in APA's Division of Humanistic Psychology. I was on the Board of Directors of the Association for Humanistic Psychology that founded the Humanistic Psychology Institute and have been Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology since 1971.

More study and discussion would be useful to clarify the degree and ways in which Saybrook trustees, faculty and students want to balance and integrate humanistic psychology with the many other important aspects of Saybrook's evolving psychology program.

Psychology in general is evolving in complex ways not always congruent with Saybrook's mission. It developed imitating the natural science model and is increasingly being influenced by the medical model as research and treatment paradigms emphasize biogenetic and neurophysiological causation. Many psychologists seek prescribing privileges and training in psychopharmacology. The newsletter of the California Psychological Association announced that psychodynamic and family systems theories of schizophrenia have been proven worse than useless. The Division of Independent Practice of the American Psychological Association presented a symposium on anxiety sponsored by a drug company that recommended behavioral and psychopharmacological treatment and included no reference to existential anxiety. Psychoanalysis continues to thrive partly because of the revisions contributed by self psychologists, but is still clouded by the orientation represented in the following quotations from Freud:

The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression.

Sigmund Freud (1960). Letter to Marie Bonaparte,

13 August 1937, in Ernst L. Freud (Ed.), Letters of Sigmund Freud, translated by Tania and James Stern.

New York: Basic Books, p. 436.

Patients are nothing but riff-raff. The only useful purposes they serve are to help us earn a living and to provide learning material. In any case, we cannot help them.

Sigmund Freud to Sandor Ferenczi. Quoted in

A. Haynal, Controversies in Psychoanalytic Method. New York: New York University Press, 1989, p.32.

Clearly, the need for humanistic psychology is as great as it was when it was first developed as a third stream alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviorism and when it was a core ingredient in the founding of Saybrook Institute.

Humanistic psychology is first of all a psychology, but not a field narrowly defined in academic or professional terms. Although there are courses, textbooks and journals in humanistic psychology, and a Division of Humanistic Psychology in the American Psychological Association, the sources and expressions of this field go far beyond academia and formal organizations. It is truly an interdisciplinary movement, drawing to it not only psychologists, but also widely diverse people such as philosophers, poets, writers, physicians, physicists, and politicians, and all sorts of others who contribute their life experiences.

New generations of humanistic psychologists continue to build on the early foundations, and there are important contributions being made by Australian, Chinese, Czech, English, German, Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Polish, Russian, South American, Spanish, and other humanistic psychologists outside of North America, some of whom have different humanistic and psychological traditions, challenges and opportunities. Saybrook Graduate School has established active contacts with Russian humanistic psychologists and held a series of conferences and student and faculty exchanges.

Although humanistic psychology is only about forty years old, it has already gone through several phases of growth, stagnation, trivialization, reformulation and renewal. It is now a vital permanent part of the psychological and cultural scene. Future decades will reveal new ways for it to grow and influence what we hope will be the evolution of humanity.

Saybrook continues to develop contacts with this movement and bring its insights and methods to the education of its students. At the same time, Saybrook applies critical thinking and analyses based on social constructionism to humanistic psychology as to other psychologies so that its students can avoid dogma and naiveté while helping construct truly useful and relevant psychologies. Thus, one of the goals of the Saybrook Psychology Program is to make available courses in various orientations in addition to humanistic psychology, while at the same time teaching students to become astute critics and revisers of these orientations and to understand their inter-relationships.

Psychology as envisioned at Saybrook Graduate School is dedicated to developing, promoting, and applying theories and methods of psychology to enhance the lives of individuals, the human race, and the planet as part of life in the cosmos. Central to this mission is placing a high value on the dignity and worth of the experiencing, growing person in his or her individual life in communion and solidarity with others on a fragile planet in a vast universe.

While not denying the existence of evil, humanistic psychologists believe that positive human potential is greater than many psychological theories and human history have thus far indicated. We explore the interface between body, mind and spirit, and remain open-minded about the ways they affect each other. This approach holds that health is more than the absence of disease; these terms are used metaphorically because we have found that the medical model is not the best way to describe the human endeavor to create a world based on love and meaning. There are many levels and forms of consciousness and a central task of life is to expand consciousness to include deeper connections among people and between people and the rest of reality. Thus, we are interested in open, evolutionary systems at all levels of being.

Humanistic psychologists support all forms of traditional and innovative disciplined inquiry and human science research, including phenomenology, hermeneutics, and clinical inquiry. While valuing the methods of conventional scientific psychology and the knowledge they produce, we seek to avoid scientism, and also value the ways of learning and experiencing provided by the humanities and the arts. Some forms of humanism have been overly rational and hostile to religion. Humanistic psychology values rationality, but not as the single or ultimate approach toward wisdom, and is affirmative of the spiritual and transpersonal capacities of people.

The following quotations are relevant to Saybrook's research orientation:

For the PH (particular humanist), all knowledge derives from a personal context, what Polanyi has labeled "personal knowledge." The act of knowing and its product, knowledge, cannot be severed from direct interaction between the knower and the thing to be known. No amount of quantitative sophistication or theoretical generalization can substitute for the physical presence of a concerned, caring, human observer and the interaction that takes place between observer and observed. Indeed, it is this interaction that guarantees for the PH the possibility of observing and the validity of what is observed. It is inconceivable to the PH that without in-depth human interaction one would get to know this particular man precisely as a man. The subtleties of the human spirit are such that they demand an intense human relationship in which they can be observed. (pp. 96-97)

Mitroff, I. I. & Kilman, R. H. (1978). Methodological approaches to social science. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rifkin (1985) has questioned knowledge that is gained in the pursuit of power and control, which is often the dominant mode of scientific inquiry in psychology and elsewhere.

...empathetic knowledge reaches out in a very different way. The mind is not interested in controlling, but rather in connecting. With this new approach to knowledge, we are constantly asking about the many ways in which we are related to everything else. We seek to identify with the things around us, to recognize ourselves in the other and the other in ourselves. Our goal is to join with, to become one with all of the rest of

creation. To "know," under this new scheme, is to know how to participate with our surroundings rather than to control them. (pp. 83-84)

Rifkin, J. (1985). Declaration of a heretic. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

At Saybrook our goal is to produce well-educated psychologists who serve a wide variety of people, graduates who develop their theories in many capacities, working as psychotherapists, counselors, educators, researchers, writers, consultants, managers, mediators, citizen diplomats, parents, etc. We see personal and social transformation as intertwined, and seeks ways to facilitate the self-actualization, liberation and empowerment of searching people, particularly those who are alienated, oppressed and abused.

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9. The Relationship Between the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and Saybrook Graduate School

Updated 7/03


The relationship between JHP and Saybrook has a long history. In 1961 the Journal of Humanistic Psychology's Board of Editors founded the Association for Humanistic Psychology, which in turn founded the Humanistic Psychology Institute, later renamed Saybrook Graduate School.

JHP was co-founded by Abraham Maslow and Anthony Sutich, who earned his doctorate at the Humanistic Psychology Institute in 1976 just one day before he died. The next JHP Editor was Miles Vich, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by Saybrook in 1992. Saybrook faculty member Thomas Greening has been the Editor of JHP since 1971.

Rollo May, for whom Saybrook's Rollo May Center for Humanistic Studies was named, served on JHP's Board of Editors from its founding until his death and often published articles in JHP.

Members of the Saybrook faculty (Arthur Bohart, James Bugental, Bonnie Burstein, Allan Combs, David Elkins, Maurice Friedman, Amedeo Giorgi, Dennis Jaffe, Stanley Krippner, David Lukoff, Douglas MacDonald, Ruth Richards, and Eugene Taylor) and past members of the Board of Trustees (Walter Anderson and Jacqueline Doyle) are on JHP's Board of Editors. Saybrook's president, Maureen O'Hara, was Associate Editor for many years and has published important articles in the journal.

These Saybrook executive faculty members have published articles in JHP: Harris Friedman, Amedeo Giorgi, Dennis Jaffe, Stanley Krippner, David Lukoff, Ruth Richards, Donald Rothberg, Eugene Taylor, and adjunct faculty members Arthur Bohart, James Bugental, David Elkins, Maurice Friedman, Douglas MacDonald, Michael Mahoney, Alfonso Montuori, Alan Nelson, Marc Pilisuk, Linda Riebel, Kirk Schneider, Sandy Sela-Smith, Stephan Tobin, and Art Warmoth.

Recipients of Saybrook honorary degrees who serve on JHP's Board of Editors and/or have published in it include Walter Anderson, James Bugental, Eleanor Criswell, George Leonard, Michael Murphy, Huston Smith, Robert Tannenbaum, and Miles Vich.

JHP has periodically published the titles of recently completed Saybrook dissertations.

The following Saybrook students and alumni have also published articles in JHP:

Gregory C. Bogart
Finding a Life's Calling. 34(4) 1994.

Mario Cayer
Bohm's Dialogue and Action Science: Two Different Approaches. 37(2) 1997.

Jay Earley The Social Evolution of Consciousness. 42(1) 2002.

Rick Gilbert
Humanistic Psychology Dissertation List. 17(4) 1977.

Sally Good
A. R. Luria: A Humanistic Legacy. 40(1), 2000.

Barbara Kessler
Bereavement and Personal Growth. 27(2) 1987.

Victoria Kuhl
The Managed Care Revolution: Implications for Humanistic Psychotherapy. 34(2) 1994.

Lynda Malm
The Eclipse of Meaning in Cognitive Psychology: Implications for Humanistic Psychology. 33 (1) 1993.

Thomas J. Martinez III
Anthropos and Existence: Gnostic Parallels in the Early Writings of Rollo May. 38(4) 1998.

Michel Meiffren
The Use of Poetry and Ritual With Troubled Adolescents..
33(1) 1993.

Alfonso Montuori
Deconstructing the Lone Genius Myth: Towards a Socio-Ecological View of Creativity. 35(3) 1995. (with Ronald Purser)

Judith Nagib
Interview with Timothy Leary. 33(3) 1993.

Peter Parks
Psychophysiologic Self-Awareness Training: Integration of Scientific and Humanistic Principles. 37(2) 1997.

Todd Pressman
The Therapeutic Potential of Nonordinary States of Consciousness, as Explored in the Work of Stanislav Grof. 32(3) 1992.

Ralph Quinn
The Humanistic Conscience: An Inquiry into the Development of Principled Moral Character. 27(1) 1987.
Confronting Carl Rogers: A Developmental-Interactional Approach to Person-Centered Therapy. 33(1) 1993.

Deborah Rahilly
A Phenomenological Analysis of Authentic Experience. 33(2) 1993.

Phil Richins
Personal History of Cancer Survival. 34(4) 1994.

Linda Riebel
Theory as Self-Portrait and the Ideal of Objectivity. 22(2) 1982.
A Homeopathic Model of Psychotherapy. 24(1) 1982.
Consuming the Earth: Eating Disorders and Ecological Psychology 41(2) 2001.

Kirk Schneider
Encountering and Integrating Kierkegaard's Absolute Paradox 16(3) 1986.
The Deified Self: A Centaur Response to Wilber and the Transpersonal Movement. 27(2) 1987.
Infallibility Is So Damn Appealing: A Reply to Ken Wilber. 29(4) 1989.
R. D. Laing Remembered. 30(2) 1990.
Hitchcock's "Vertigo": An Existential View of Spirituality.33(3) 1993.
Jim Bugental's Vision: The Next Step. 36(4) 1996.
The Revival of the Romantic Means a Revival of Psychology. 39(4) 1999.

Sandy Sela-Smith
Heuristic Research: A Review and Critique of Moustakas' Method. 42(3) 2002.

Molly Sterling
The Meld Experience in Psychotherapy Supervision. 33(2)1993. (with James Bugental).

S. Muhammad M. J. Tehrani
Prison as a Growth Community: A Prison Reform Project in Iran. 37(1) 1997.

Angela Thompson
Vasily Vasilyevich Nalimov: Russian Visionary. 33(3) 1993.

Richard Treadgold. Transcendent Vocations: Their Relationship to Stress, Depression, and Clarity of Self-Concept. 39(1) 1999


Humanistic psychology served as the originating core theory for Saybrook and is now designated as "the perspective which Saybrook espouses within its psychology program." Over the years, however, there has been much creative discussion about the degree to which humanistic psychology in fact does or should represent the perspective of Saybrook Graduate School's psychology program and faculty. Faculty members seem to agree that no one theory or method should be emphasized to the exclusion of others, and that humanistic psychology has and should develop further important connections with other psychologies, especially existential psychology, transpersonal psychology, phenomenology, Jungian psychology, psychosynthesis, Gestalt psychology, life-span developmental psychology, psychoanalytic self psychology, cognitive psychology, and human science research.

Some Saybrook faculty members are uncomfortable with too close an identification with humanistic psychology, and this is partly what led to changing the name of the institute. Saybrook faculty members have a wide range of interests and orientations and cannot be characterized as a group as sharing a predominantly humanistic psychology orientation, although that is a strong theme at Saybrook. In the past there were times when there was no course on humanistic psychology at Saybrook, although surveys of students at residential colloquia revealed that many were attracted to Saybrook by its humanistic psychology orientation. In recent years humanistic psychology has regained a central place at Saybrook

Supporters as well as critics of humanistic psychology sometimes have been uncomfortable when it manifests itself as shallow, over-optimistic, narrowly individualistic, "flakey," consumerist and anti-intellectual . You are encouraged in to explore and deal with those concerns. Part of the Saybrook approach is to apply critical thinking and analyses based on social constructionism to humanistic psychology as to other psychologies so that its students can avoid dogma and naiveté while helping construct truly useful and relevant psychologies. Thus, one of our goals is to teach students to become astute critics and revisers of humanistic psychology. Later in this document you will find some statements critical of humanistic psychology and a list of critical articles.

JHP Articles on Research

List updated 3/03

The following articles in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology are specifically relevant to research at Saybrook Graduate School:

Aanstoos, C. (1990, Summer). A Brief History of the Human Science Research Conference. 30(3).
Aanstoos, C. & Arons, M. (1985, Spring). Report on the 1984 HumanScience Research Conference. 5(2).
Allender, J. (1987). The Evolution of Research Methods for the Study of Human Experience. 27(4).
Bakan, D. (1975, Winter). Speculation in Psychology. Vol. 14, No. 1.
Bakan, D. (1982, Winter). The Interface Between War and the Social Sciences. 22(1).
Barrell, J.J., Medeiros, D., Barrell, J.E. & Price, D. (1985, Spring). The Causes and Treatment of Performance Anxiety: An Experiential Approach. 25(2).
Barrell, J., Aanstoos, C., Richards, A. & Arons, M. (1987, Fall). Human Science Research Methods. 27(4).
Bergin, A. (1964, Fall). Psychology as a Science of Inner Experience.

Chenault, J. 1966, Spring). Syntony: A Philosophical Premise for Theory and Research. 6(1).
Douglass, B. & Moustakas. C. (1985). Heuristic Inquiry: The Internal Search to Know. 25(3).
Edwards, D. (1998). Types of Case Study Work: A Conceptual Framework for Case-Based Research. 38(3).
Gilbert, R. (1977). Humanistic Psychology Dissertation List. 17(4)..
Giorgi, A. (2000). Psychology as a human science revisited. 40(3).
Halling, S. (2003, Winter). Human Science Research Studies 43(1). Halling, S., Kunz, G., & Rowe, J. O. (1994). The Contributions of Dialogal Psychology to Phenomenological Research. 34(1).
Hampden-Turner, C. (1982). Reflections on Humanistic Psychology Dissertations. 22(3).
Harman, W. (1981, Summer). Science and the Clarification of Values: Implications of Recent Findings in Psychological and Psychic Research. 21(3).
Henle, M. (1962, Spring). A Humanistic Research Course in Personality. 2(1).
Jacobs, D. & Williams, V. (1983, Winter). Clinical Theory and Scientism:
Empathy Research as a Case Study. 23(1).
Kelly, G. (1969, Spring) Humanistic Methodology in Psychological Research. 9(1).
Kremer, J. (1985) Saybrook Institute Dissertations 1977-1983. 25(1).
Madsen, K. (1971, Spring). Humanistic Psychology and the Philosophy of Science. 11(1).
O'Hara, M. (1985) Comment on Carl Rogers' "Toward a More
Human Science of the Person." 25(4).
Osborne, J. (1987, Fall). A Human Science Study of Learning About "Learning." 27(4).
Parapsychological Association. (1989, Summer). Terms and Methods in Parapsychological Research. 29(3).
Polkinghorne, D. (1982). What Makes Research Humanistic? 22(3).
Price, D. & Barrell, J. (1980, Summer). An Experiential Approach with Quantitative Methods: A Research Paradigm. 20(3).
Rogers, C. (1985) Toward a More Human Science of the Person. 25(4)..
Rogers, C. (1963, Fall). Toward a Science of the Person. 3(2).
Rogers, C. (1965, Fall). Some Thoughts Regarding the Current Philosophy of the Behavioral Sciences. 5(2).
Rogers, C. (1985, Fall). Toward a More Human Science of the Person. 24(4).
Shoben, E. (1965, Fall). Psychology: Natural Science or Humanistic Discipline? 5(2).
Smith, M. (1978, Winter). Humanism and Behaviorism in Psychology.18(1).
Smith, M. B. (1994). Human Science—Really!. 34(3).
Sperry, R. (1986, Spring). Science, Values, and Survival. 26(2).
Weiss, A. & Kempler, B. (1986, Winter). The Role of Intent in Psychological Research. 26(1).

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As the result of reading various essays and dissertations by Saybrook students, I am concerned about the frequent lack of any stated explicit concern for values and meaning, or awareness of implicit value assumptions and meaning structures that influence the students' work. I have resigned myself to accepting this in most of psychology and most psychology programs. But I want Saybrook, with its connection to existential and humanistic psychology, to be different.

I propose that Saybrook students, when they write their candidacy essays and dissertations, at least cursorily acknowledge that they are writing from some implicit or explicit value orientation, and are dealing with issues of meaning, even if only by attempting to exclude them.

Here are some possible examples of value orientations or meaning contexts students might consider:

1. Psychology is a science dedicated to discovering the truth by the scientific method. Issues of values and meaning are outside its scope, and should be left to philosophers, novelists, and TV evangelists.

2. Psychology is the scientific study of observable behavior, and the objective measurement of what affects it.

3. Born-again Christianity is the path to salvation, and psychology should serve it.

4. There are no values and meanings, only arbitrary constructions generated by desperate or grandiose humans in an indifferent universe. Psychology should simply study dispassionately what humans do in this predicament.

5. Psychology should help fulfill the Marxist-Leninist dream of creating the workers' paradise. Its efforts should liberate the oppressed and add to the greater glory of the socialist state.

6. Psychology is basically a trade or guild that should serve existing power structures and perpetuate the mystification of the populace so that psychologists can get rich and famous.

7. Psychology should support and document the truth as revealed by Sigmund Freud, and expose the trivial and diversionary derivatives and alternatives that lesser psychologists have proposed.

8. Psychology should help deconstruct the illusion of the autonomous self which is based on western white male dominance.

9. Psychology should help apply the exciting new discoveries in biochemistry, neurophysiology, and genetics to human problems, rather than wasting time on out-dated psychodynamic theories and other ruminations about epiphenomena.

10. Psychology should diagnose and treat patients with definable mental illnesses to help them adjust to normal society.

11. Psychology should develop astute critical thinkers who can analyze arguments and research so that intellectual excellence and debunking of sloppy thinking will prevail in the field.

12. Psychology should focus on helping individuals develop self-actualization, expression of feeling, sensual aliveness and personal autonomy.

13. Psychology should assist people in transcending normal waking consciousness in order to experience oneness with all being.

Existential-humanistic psychology has proposed some alternative concerns to those listed above. I hope Saybrook students will learn about them and consider whether they want to explore them.

There are undoubtedly many other value orientations and ways to create, discover, or negate meaning. I hope Saybrook students will explore them also, and at least mention the results of their explorations as part of the frames or contexts of their essays and dissertations.


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(See current catalog for revisions of requirements.)

General Studies Courses.

The required and suggested General Studies courses on theory and methodology are intended to give you a basic grounding in what the faculty regards as essential for a graduate education in psychology. These recommendations have evolved over time and will continue to evolve; there is debate about such courses in this faculty and in all graduate faculties.

I hope you will find that the Theories of Inquiry course includes experiential ways of knowing related to clinical work such as introspection, empathy, free association, dream analysis, meditation, dialogue, encounter, and journal-keeping; that the Overview of Methods course includes the case study method, phenomenological psychological studies, and other methods of particular interest to clinicians; that the Critical Thinking course include examples and exercises related to clinical work and personality theory. (See, for example, Critical Thinking for Clinical Practice: Improving the Accuracy of Judgments and Decisions about Clients by Eileen Gambrill. New York: Jossey-Bass, 1990.) Clinical Inquiry students who do not "test out" of the Critical Thinking course may wish to focus on critical thinking about theory, research and practice related to clinical issues. This may entail negotiating choices of readings and assignments tailored to their interests.

For the Advanced Methodologies and Methods course psychology students may wish to take Experimental Research Methods and/or Quantitative Research Methods, as students do at most conventional graduate programs in psychology. I and Amedeo Giorgi have recommended that this emphasis be balanced by an equal emphasis on non-experimental and non-quantitative methods. Like many Saybrook students in the past, many of you may not do experimental or quantitative dissertations and may not wish to become expert analysts of such research reports in the future. However, for better or for worse they do constitute a large part of psychology's literature, and you should be able to understand them. Saybrook's mission is to expand psychology beyond its traditional over-emphasis on experimental and quantitative methods.

In the course Overview of Methods you should get enough exposure to experimental and quantitative methods to learn whether you wish to study them further so as to be able to use one in your dissertation. If you do not wish to use an experimental or quantitative method in your dissertation, in your Advanced Methodologies and Methods course it would be to your advantage to concentrate on the method most relevant to your dissertation. Students who need to learn about experimental quantitative methods for their state licensing exams may wish to take such a course at Saybrook and/or take special licensing exam preparation courses later.

Such courses as Case Studies Methods, Non-Experimental Research Methods, or Phenomenology and Interpretive Research may be more attractive for Clinical Inquiry students. In any case, try to learn enough about various research methods to choose one that is appropriate for the dissertation topic that interests you.

Area Studies.

The Saybrook courses suggested for students wishing to take courses in the areas suggested by the American Psychological Association and which may be required to sit for licensing exams are listed in the catalog. Many of them are on clinical topics. Consider whether they are truly relevant to clinical inquiry and clinical practice as you conceive of them. To counter-balance APA's bias toward natural science, experimental and quantitative research, manualized psychotherapy, medication, and the medical model, you may wish to take more courses, or place more emphasis in the courses you must take, on the experiencing person; on existential, humanistic and transpersonal visions of individual and collective human potential; and on the arts and humanities. I and others at Saybrook are working to make more such courses available. We will welcome your suggestions.


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This is an addition to the readings for Saybrook's course in the History and Systems of Psychology. Because of the on-going discussions about the role of clinical psychology in relation to Saybrook's psychology program, it seemed worthwhile to distribute it to all members of the Saybrook community. It is adapted from "Psychologists in Clinics," a chapter by Thomas Greening and James F.T. Bugental in The Profession of Psychology, Wilse B. Webb (Editor), New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1962.

Contemporary psychology has many sources, but some of the most important ones originate in the long history of clinical methods of teaching and learning. Although it had earlier beginnings which I will discuss, the profession of clinical psychology truly proved to be an awakening giant during and immediately after World War II. Psychologists with non-clinical training often found themselves drawn into performing clinical tasks. There was not always time for careful analysis of who was a "clinician" or even who was a "psychologist." Even today a psychologist will often speak of wearing his or her "clinical hat" one minute and perhaps his or her "research hat" the next.

Much of this overlap of roles is, however, an essential and valuable part of psychology. It has been the intention of many of the creators of modern psychology that psychologists, regardless of specific titles, functions, or work settings, are psychologists first and specialists second. The value of a unified science and profession of psychology has often been emphasized in graduate school education and training (Raimy, 1950), in the Ethical Standards of Psychologists, and in the organizational structure of the American Psychological Association, although this intention is also often frustrated by the complexity of the field, the diversity of demands for psychologists' services, and the difficulties psychologists have getting along with each other.

Just as it is important to avoid equating psychology with clinical psychology, it is also important to avoid any oversimplified equation of the general field of clinical psychology with service in clinics, hospitals or private practice. Clinical psychologists work in many other settings, and conversely, other types of psychologists than clinical psychologists often work in clinical settings. We do not want to overlook the important actual and potential contributions of other psychological specialties such as social, health or organizational psychologists. Indeed, to counter the tendency in some clinical settings to over-emphasize the medical model, I have half-jokingly suggested that every clinic and hospital should have a political, philosophical, or transpersonal psychologist on its staff. I do have an anthropologist colleague who works at a hospital affiliated with a medical school and who writes interesting articles about his observations and interventions.

Dictionary definitions of the word "clinic" all stress the examination and treatment of patients in the presence of students for the latter's instruction, and, we hope, for the former's benefit. The Greek work from which "clinic" is derived pertains to "bed." But if we wished to establish an even more ancient and dignified history for the clinical method of teaching and learning, we could go at least as far back as Socrates in the 4th Century, B.C. Socrates was one of the first men to turn his attention away from the study of the external universe and to the study of the inner life of people and their personal relations to other human beings and the cosmos. He regularly gathered small groups of students around him for free-wheeling discussions, leading these with inductive reasoning from particular instances of behavior. These discussions were something like present-day university seminars or case conferences. The clinical method--the presentation of actual people to illustrate a point or encourage inductive theorizing--perhaps at first was included spontaneously, as described in Plato's Symposium when Alcibiades stumbles in drunk and proceeds to bring a rather abstract discussion of love around to the "case history" of Socrates himself.

The recent history of psychology provides us with a more sober example of psychology evolving by means of the clinical method. In Vienna in the late 1800's, two physicians were puzzled and challenged by the problems they encountered in diagnosing and treating certain hysterical patients. These two neurologists, Joseph Breuer and his young colleague, Sigmund Freud, discussed their observations and theories with each other. To supplement their own thinking, they had available the clinical and research literature of the day. They could also consult with the staffs of the local hospitals. But neither the literature nor their colleagues in Vienna seemed able to offer them the help they needed in understanding their patients.

Freud had heard of a man in Paris, however, who regularly presented similar patients at a clinic. So highly did Freud value the clinical method of learning that he traveled on borrowed money and a fellowship to Paris to observe firsthand the great clinician Charcot. Charcot was renowned for his dramatic style of presenting cases and for the vivid clinical illustrations with which he gave concrete meaning to his theoretical discussions. Freud and the future of psychology were thereby profoundly influenced. Subsequently, the clinical method of instruction which began at the bedside in a medical setting, ventured away from the bedside to many nonmedical settings.

In 1896 a psychologist, Lightner Witmer, established The Psychological Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (Brotemarkle, 1954). This was the world's first psychological clinic, and it was here that the profession of clinical psychology was born, in one sense. Note that this clinic was established in connection with a university and for purposes of instruction; these purposes being of an importance equal to the service functions. Policy was directed toward the rendering of the most effective psychological clinical service commensurate with the training of advanced graduate students. Witmer chose the term "clinical" to stress the basic importance of the individual case study. These studies aimed at the understanding of current behavior from a developmental point of view. Comprehensive qualitative and quantitative examinations of the patients were developed, with considerable assistance from other fields such as medicine, education, and sociology. Witmer insisted that "every diagnosis is a prognosis" and consequently the diagnostic studies were give further meaning by their direct relevance to treatment planning.

Witmer's clinic soon expanded into several specialized clinics, and before long other clinics were being founded in various parts of the country. A clinic called the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute was founded in Chicago in 1909 and was the first American child guidance clinic to study and treat personality and behavior disorders in children (Perce, 1954). In the years since then there has been a tremendous growth in the number and types of clinics and other service settings in which psychologists work. Many social forces, including government and university support of mental health services, have contributed to this growth, and thus to the development of a psychology based on face-to-face contact with actual, ordinary, living persons and on attempts to help them live more fulfilling lives.


Brotemarkle, R.A. (1954). The Psychological Clinic, University of Pennsylvania. In E.A. Rubenstein & M. Lorr, Survey of Clinical Practice in Psychology. New York: International Universities Press, pp. 3-18.

Cook, S.W. (1958). The Psychologist of the Future: Scientist, Professional, or Both. American Psychologist, 13 (11), 635-644.

Perce, F.C. (1954). Institute for Juvenile Research, State of Illinois. In E.A. Rubenstein & M. Lorr, Survey of Clinical Practice in Psychology. New York: International Universities Press, pp. 19-31.

Raimy, V.C. (Ed.) (1950). Training in Clinical Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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Saybrook offers graduate education in psychology for mature, self-directed learners. The catalogue promises an "individualized" learning opportunity and "a different way of teaching and learning." Faculty are described as "mentors rather than teachers in the traditional sense." We believe that "This format works especially well for mature students who wish to tailor the pace, the scope, and the process of education to their individual requirements. Students are guided in developing "...familiarity with past and present literature in psychology and human science as it applies to students' particular areas of interest." "...Saybrook encourages students to conduct research which is meaningful personally as well as professionally."

Graduate education in psychology at Saybrook emphasizes the process of meaningful self-directed learning as much as standardized course content and requirements. This is a complex, individual, learner-oriented process including:

1. Student self-assessment of interests, learning goals, strengths and weaknesses.

2. Mentoring and advising discussions between student and faculty.

3. Comparison of the student's proposed individualized program with various recommended models of graduate education in psychology (by Saybrook, APA, Consortium of Diversified Programs in Psychology, state license boards, WASC, etc.).

4. Challenging required courses to get credit for past work. (See policy on challenging courses in catalog.)

5. Negotiation of disagreements between student and faculty.

6. Experiential learning.

Faculty members have strong but varied views about what should be required for a Ph.D. in psychology, which leads to stimulating and productive discussions. Students benefit from the learning and diversity at Saybrook that grow out of these discussions. We do not wish to impose a model program or set of requirements on students, in spite of many pressures in organized psychology to do so. However, we do want students to stretch themselves both in breadth of learning about psychology and depth of learning. Thus, each student works with faculty members to design a program that expresses that student's personal interests and goals while also providing an education in the major aspects of the field of psychology.

I sometimes also teach graduate psychology students at Pepperdine University, which has an APA-approved Psy.D. program. Even while maintaining its APA approval and preparing students for licensing, Pepperdine tries to individualize students' learning:

The primary focus (of the program) must be at the level of the individual student rather than at the level of the academic program, credential, or license. Although the curriculum must be reviewed, academic quality monitored, and classes planned at the program level, the ultimate goal of (the program) is to contribute to the development of the individual student.

I try to bring a similar emphasis in Saybrook's psychology program. At the same time, Saybrook must meet certain WASC requirements for a graduate program in psychology in order to remain accredited, its faculty members have various views about what is essential for a Ph.D. psychologist to know, the American Psychological Association prescribes what it considers a good education in psychology, and the state licensing boards establish requirements graduates must meet in order to sit for licensing exams. The awarding of a Ph.D. in psychology is a public, communal act, and the degree carries certain meanings and bestows certain privileges on the recipient, so it is appropriate that various communities have a say in what must be done to earn this degree.

In response to this collective wisdom, vested interests, political pressure, and socially constructed reality, the Saybrook faculty has put a great deal of thought into designing a program, a set of requirements, and a list of essential content areas and skills. In addition to meeting Saybrook's requirements, students can choose some electives. They are also encouraged to negotiate with faculty to personalize their courses as much as possible, adapting learning guides to their own interests.

We are continually seeking better ways to make the resulting Saybrook program be innovative and unique in graduate education in psychology, especially in regard to improving the science-practice relationship (Hoshmand & Polkinghorne, 1992), and welcome your suggestions.

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Hans Strupp (1974) at the time he was president of APA Division 12:

It is unrealistic to expect that students learn in accordance with flow charts or boxes carrying the labels of particular courses and arranged in a particular order. Instead, students learn what is personally meaningful and useful to them. At the graduate level we should give them credit for the ability to assimilate and integrate on their own a variety of learning experiences. I believe graduate students are perfectly capable of sorting out from material presented in classes, seminars, practica, etc. what they need and what is consonant with their values and career goals. Faculty members surely play a part in this process, but the factors that govern the manner in which learning experiences are organized and integrated by the student are largely beyond the teacher's control.

My point is simply that the process of becoming a clinical psychologist is far more a personal enterprise than is ordinarily recognized and far less a function of what a training program looks like on paper. Perhaps all I am saying is that both faculty members and students are persons. Students may learn particular skills (e.g., how to design an experiment or how to do therapy), but that more significant aspects of the educational enterprise are the personal identity, philosophy, aspirations, and values of the participants and the--largely unpredictable--manner in which these interact. When all is said and done, we still educate individuals, not masses, and the young Ph.D. is not a "product" but a person. (Strupp, 1974, pp 1-2)

Over four decades ago Karl Pottharst and Arthur Kovacs (1962) did a survey of University of Michigan clinical alumni and faculty, asking them for their opinions and recommendations about what was then seen as a crisis in graduate training. They summarized the responses in a composite statement which was widely distributed to psychologists and later revised and published (Pottharst & Kovacs, 1964) . I include several quotes from their 1962 report in this document.

Graduate training in clinical psychology should be custom-tailored much more than has been done to the needs and proclivities of the individual student....We believe individual needs can be met and potentials realized within a wide range of variation and can still keep within limits set by academic standards and professional requirements. (Pottharst & Kovacs, 1962, p. 17)


Brown, R. & Tedeschi, J. (1972). Graduate education in psychology: A comment on Rogers' passionate statement. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 12 (1), 1-15

Brown, R. & Tedeschi, J. (1972). Rejoinder to Rogers. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 12 (2), 87-92.

Hoshmand, L. & Polkinghorne, D. (1992). Redefining the science-practice relationship and professional training. American Psychologist, 47 (1), 55-66.

Michigan Clinical Alumni Statement on Training, Division 12 Newsletter, Fall 1962, 15, 2-3, American Psychological Association.

Polanyi, M. (1958). Personal knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1962). Report to University of Michigan Clinical Alumni and Faculty. June 15, 1962. Unpublished manuscript.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1964). The Crisis in Training Viewed by Clinical Alumni. In L. Blank & H. David (Eds.), Sourcebook for Training in Clinical Psychology. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 278-300.

Rogers, C. (1969). Current assumptions in graduate education: A passionate statement. In C. Rogers, Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill , 169-187.

Rogers, C. ( 1972). Comment on Brown and Tedeschi's article. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 12 (1), 16-21.

Strupp,, H. H. (1974). Graduate Training in Clinical Psychology: A Very Personal Endeavor. The Clinical Psychologist 28 (1), 1-2.

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A great deal has been written about dialogue by various philosophers, psychologists, etc. (See references). Saybrook student Mario Cayer (1997) wrote his dissertation on dialogue. I am interested in exploring how this thinking about dialogue can apply to teaching and learning at Saybrook, and how to make the content and process of learning at Saybrook negotiable between students and faculty through dialogue while meeting the requirements that the faculty, WASC and others deem essential.

Students vary widely in their capacities for self-directed learning and constructive dialogues as peers with faculty. And an individual student may vary in this regard in different learning areas. Part of our responsibility as faculty is to determine what we believe should be learned, the process by which it should be learned, and the criteria for determining when it has been learned.

Saybrook requires certain courses in the belief that they contain material that it is necessary for students to learn to earn doctorates in psychology or human science. Other requirements include that students must use APA style for candidacy essays and dissertations, and that they must learn to think and write clearly. When these minimum standards have been met it becomes easier to shift to a dialogical mode of education

Other professions may have relevance for teaching in this context. For example, people who work as psychotherapists and consultants often encounter people who are their equals or superiors in many areas of life and who insist on being dealt with in true dialogue. Although mystification and authoritarianism can replace dialogue in these situations also, the contract between professional and client is continually open to review and cancellation. Psychotherapists and consultants do not earn a living if they alienate many clients. In contrast, in some academic settings, professors with tenure or good publication records can ignore students' wishes, insist on academic freedom, and invoke privileges allegedly earned by their superior knowledge. Socrates did not do this, but many of his successors have. That is why Saybrook tries to be different and tries to attract students looking for something different.

Humanistic psychology and human science research emphasize the importance of the experiencing, intending, valuing, meaning-creating, choosing person. This means that Saybrook, as a school dedicated to these orientations, includes them in the design and implementation of its programs and in the dialogues that constitute the process of graduate education.


Anderson, R. (1982). Phenomenological dialogue, humanistic psychology and pseudo-walls: A response and extension. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 46, 344-357.

Arnett, R. C. (1981). Toward a phenomenological dialogue. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 45, 201-212.

Arnett, R. C. (1986). Communication and community: Implications of Martin Buber's dialogue. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Arnett, R. C. (1989). What is dialogic communication?: Friedman's contribution and clarification. Person-Centered Review, 4, 42-60.

Ayres, J. (1984). Four approaches to interpersonal communication: Review, observation, prognosis. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 48, 408-440.

Bakhtin, M. M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays (V. W. McGee, Trans; C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Eds.). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Bohm, D. (1990). David Bohm: On dialogue. Ojai, CA: David Bohm Seminars.

Bohm, D., Factor, D., & Garrett, P. (1991). Dialogue--A proposal. (Available from Dialogue, Hawthorn Cottage, Broad Marston Lane, Mickleton, Glos. GL55 6SF England.

Briggs, J. (1989, Sept./Oct.). Quantum leap: A New Age Journal interview with David Bohm. New Age Journal, 44-49, 110-114.

Buber, M. (1973). Meetings (M. Friedman Ed. with Intro). LaSalle, IL: Open Court Publishing Company.

Cayer, M. (1997, Spring). Bohm's dialogue and action science: Two different approaches. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 37 (2).

Cissnna K. & Anderson, R. (1994, Winter). The 1957 Martin Buber-Carl Rogers dialogue, as dialogue. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 34 (1), 11-45.

Clark, A. (1973). Martin Buber, dialogue, and the philosophy of rhetoric. In D. G. Douglas (Ed.), Philosophers on rhetoric (pp. 225-242. Skokie, IL: National Textbook Company.

Dascal, M. (Ed.) (1985). Dialogue: An interdisciplinary approach. Amsterdam: John Bejamins Publishing Company.

Friedman, M. (1985). The healing dialogue in psychotherapy. New York: Jason Aronson.

Friedman, M. (1994, Winter). Reflections of the Buber-Rogers Dialogue. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 34 (1), 46-65.

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Halling, S., Kunz, G., & Rowe, J. (1994, Winter). The contributions of dialogal psychology to phenomenological research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 34 (1), 109-131.

Holquist, M. (1990). Dialogism: Bakhtin and his world. London: Routledge.

Isaacs, W. (1993). Taking flight: Dialogue, collective thinking and organizational learning. Organizational dynamics, 22 (2), 24-39.

Johannesen, R. L. (1971). The emerging concept of communication as dialogue. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 57, 373-382.

Kaplan, A. (1969). The life of dialogue. In J. D. Roslansky (Ed.), Communication: A discussion at the Nobel Conference (pp. 87-108). Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.

Maranhoe, T. (Ed.). (1990). The interpretation of dialogue. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Markova, I. & Foppa, K. (Eds.). (1990). The dynamics of dialogue. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Matson, F. W. & Montagu, A. (Eds.). (1967). The human dialogue: Perspectives on communication. New York: Free Press.

Michelfelder, D. P. & Palmer, R. E. (1989). Dialogue and deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida encounter. Albany: SUNY Press.

Rogers, C. R. (1987). Comments on the issue of equality in therapy. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 27 (1), 38-40.

Schein, E. H. (1993). On dialogue, culture, and organizational learning. Organizational Dynamics, 22 (2), 40-51.

Schultz, E. A. (1990). Dialogue at the margins: Whorf, Bakhtin, and
linguistic relativity
. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Snyder, M. (1994, Winter). The development of social intelligence in psychotherapy: Empathic and dialogic processes. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 34 (1), 84-108.

Stewart, J. (1978). Foundations of dialogic communication. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 64, 183-201.

Tannen, D. (1989). Talking voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery in
conversational discourse
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Todorov, T. (1984). Mikhail Bakhtin: The dialogical principle. (W. Godzich, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

See also the special issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology on dialogue: Winter 1994, Vol 34, No 1.


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There has been much discussion in psychology, and at Saybrook Institute, about whether the "person" exists in any meaningful or useful sense and whether psychology should support the study of and the enhancement of "persons." Carl Rogers (1961) called his work "person-centered" therapy, group work, diplomacy, etc., and founded the Center for Studies of the Person. Other psychologists such as Allport, James, May, Maslow and Murray regarded the experiencing person as real and worthwhile. But some writers consider the concept of the person antiquated, individualistic, privileging of white males, and antithetical to social progress. The Soviet Union, and thus Soviet psychology, denounced individualism and saw the salvation of humanity in the collective. In the United States, behaviorists such as Skinner (1971) also reject the concept of an autonomous, experiencing person as an irrelevant and counter-productive myth for psychology and for the collective human scientific enterprise:

In the scientific picture a person is a member of a species shaped by evolutionary contingencies of survival, displaying behavioral processes which bring him under the control of the environment in which he lives, and largely under the control of a social environment which he and millions of others like him have constructed and maintained during the evolution of a culture. (Skinner, 1971, p. 211)

Environmental contingencies now take over functions once attributed to autonomous man....Is man then "abolished"? Certainly not as a species or as an individual achiever. It is the autonomous inner man who is abolished, and that is a step forward. (Skinner, 1971, p. 221)

I suggest that we at Saybrook consider carefully whether the abolishment of the autonomous inner person is indeed "a step forward." A contrasting proposal is offered by the William James scholar, Eugene Taylor (1992), who calls for "a reinstatement of the person at the center of psychology's endeavors" and "the evolution of such a person-centered science" (p. 47). As a creature who has always longed to become a person, I support this proposal.

Gordon Allport was one of the participants in the 1964 Old Saybrook Conference where the substance and direction of humanistic psychology were charted. He, too, emphasized the importance of the person in psychology:

Why should we not start with individual behavior as a source of hunches...and then seek our generalization...but finally come back to the individual not for the mechanical application of laws (as we do now) but for a fuller and more accurate assessment than we are now able to give? I suspect that the reason our present assessments are now so often feeble and sometimes even ridiculous, is because we do not take this final step. We stop with our wobbly laws of generality and seldom confront them with the concrete person.

G. D. Allport, (1962). The General and the Unique in Psychological Science. Journal of Personality 30, 405-422.

D. H. Lawrence celebrated each person as a marvelous contradiction of determinism, a uniqueness that appears in the universe out of "nothing:"

There is in the nature of the infant that which is utterly unknown in the natures of the parents. Something which could not be derived from the natures of all the existent individuals or previous individuals. There is in the nature of the infant something entirely new, underived, something which is, and which will forever remain, causeless. And this something is the unanalysable, undefinable reality of individuality. Every time at the moment of conception of every higher organism an individual nature incomprehensibly arises in the universe, out of nowhere. Granted the whole cause-and-effect process of generation and evolution, still the individual is not explained....On the contrary, individuality appears in defiance of scientific law, in defiance even of reason. (Lawrence, 1921, p. 214.)

Even such an eminent scientist as R.C. Lewontin, the Harvard geneticist, points out that the Human Genome Project cannot explain away the inexplicable component of individuality:

The DNA I got from my mother differs by about one-tenth of one percent, or about 3,000,000 nucleotides, from the DNA I got from my father, and I differ by about that much from any other human being. The final catalog of "the" human DNA sequence will be a mosaic of some hypothetical average person corresponding to no one. (Lewontin, 1992, p. 35)

In a letter to Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton (1961) wrote:

Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are....To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the "impersonal law" and to abstract "nature." That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature....

There is a vivid example of this denial of the personhood of the other toward the end of Arthur Miller's play, Incident at Vichy. The German major becomes angry at the attempt by the Jewish psychiatrist Leduc to talk to him as a human being about love, decency and honor:

MAJOR: It's amazing; you don't understand anything.

Nothing of that kind is left, don't you understand that yet?

LEDUC: It is left in me.

MAJOR: (More loudly, a fury rising in him.) There are no persons any more, don't you see that? There will never be persons again.

Some American psychologists seem intent on proving the German major right. I'd like to see Saybrook join people like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton in dedicating itself to proving him wrong.


Allport, G.D. (1962). The General and the Unique in Psychological Science. Journal of Personality 30, 405-422.

Lawrence, D.H. (1921). Psychoanalysis and the unconscious. In Fantasia of the unconscious and Psychoanalysis and the unconscious. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.

Lewontin, R.C. (1992). The dream of the human genome. The New York Review of Books, May 28, 1992.

Miller, A. ( ). Incident at Vichy.

Merton, T. (1961). Letter to Dorothy Day, December 20. In W. Shannon (Ed.), The Hidden Ground of Love. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1985.

Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Skinner, B.F. (1971). Beyond freedom and dignity. New York: Knopf.

Taylor, E. (1992). Fechner's "Das Buchlein vom Leben nach dem Tode": A reply to David Bakan. The Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 27, 44-51.

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Psychologists seem increasingly reluctant to affirm and practice psychology as a unique science and profession. I am concerned about a trend toward the medicalization of psychology by psychologists who give primacy to biomedical, genetic, neurological, "brain disease," "mental illness" models of deviant, disordered and troubled human behavior and experience. Some employ a medical model in cases where there is insufficient or ambiguous evidence of causal organic pathology. They then advocate chemical, electrical, or surgical "treatment" of these "diseases."

Psychology has a unique mission and a body of theory and practice that distinguish it from medicine, surgery, pharmacology, endocrinology, criminal justice and law enforcement. I do not deny the powerful effects of genetics and diseases, or the importance of medical treatment of diseases and organic pathologies, or the necessity to control illegal behavior. However, other professions specialize in those areas. Psychologists should maintain close relations with those professions, but not dilute psychology by mimicking them.

This is not an argument against interdisciplinary collaboration. Some psychologists engage in valuable interdisciplinary theory-building, research and interventions involving such diverse fields as neurology, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, political science, social work, law enforcement, the ministry, philosophy, literature and the arts. Psychology, however, is a distinctive field which addresses psychological, emotional, cognitive, and value-based causes and results in human affairs. Psychology needs its own theories, training and research programs and professional organizations to support its particular mission, and to provide a solid and defined base from which to relate to other professions when appropriate.

Wertz (1998) points out that even Freud, trained as a neurologist, warned against the dangers of training in conventional medicine and science.

Freud insisted on many occasions that training in mathematics, natural sciences, and medicine was not only irrelevant but harmful for psychologists since it directs students away from properly psychological attitudes and subject matter (Freud, 1916, 1926). Instead, he advocated study of the humanities and the arts along with extensive and detailed observations of individual persons' expressive behavior (see Wertz, 1994).

At this time in history there appears to be no strong national organization of psychologists that affirms psychology as psychology. Instead, biomedical and genetic theories seem to be exercising a strong influence on psychology, often in a reductionistic manner. For example, the American Psychological Association and many state psychological associations are campaigning for prescription privileges and support views such as the one promoted by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill that depression and schizophrenia are brain diseases.

This is a long-standing issue in psychology. I am grateful to Amedeo Giorgi for bringing to my attention a relevant chapter published many years ago by Madison Bentley (1930), "A Psychology for Psychologists." Bentley deplores that:

...outside concerns and foreign interests have played too great a part in shaping and defining our field....Really psychological points of view and interests have been made secondary to evolutionism, the doctrine of heredity, zoological classifications, animal hierarchies, physiological and neurological hypotheses, clinical medicine, psychiatry....Biology has mainly injected physical, physiological, and speculative matters into psychology; medicine has warped it toward the abnormal....Is it possible, now, to restore psychology to a better balance to make it more fundamentally psychological and less accessory to other things?...The equitable partition of work as between biology...and psychology is our first concern. It has been made very difficult by the temporal priority and development of the biological group, which long regarded itself as the totality of the sciences of life....The primary contention of the present article has been that any psychology that is to stand upon the level of the older sciences should squarely face all the relevant facts at hand and should deal with them in a distinctive psychological way and not as merely accessory to other subjects....(pp. 95-114)

Similarly, Philip W. Anderson (1972), a physicist and Nobel laureate, published an essay "More is Different" in Science in which he contends that not only particle physics but all reductionist approaches have only limited ability to explain reality.

At each stage, entirely new laws, concepts and generalizations are necessary, requiring inspiration and creativity to just as great a degree as in the previous one. Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry. (p. 108)

Another Nobel laureate, Roger Sperry (1995), writes:

Countering prior physicalist views, the new principles of causality affirm that subjective human values are today the most strategically powerful driving force governing the course of events in the civilized world--and the key to our global predicament and its solution. (p. 8)

And yet, contemporary clinical psychology seems increasingly enamored with what Sperry calls "physicalist views." What can be done? APA's Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) might support reviving a non-reductionistic psychology as psychology but it is a small division that does not include the many non-humanistic psychologists with concerns about the medicalization of psychology. APA's Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) is a large division that probably includes many members who share these concerns, but does not represent non-psychoanalytic psychologists. The American Association of Applied and Preventative Psychology opposes the seeking of prescription privileges by psychologists as a trend undermining psychology, but attracts mainly academic psychologists and not the many practitioners who share the position expressed here. It appears that there is a need for a new organization to support the differentiation and development of psychology as psychology

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Here is an exercise that can help readers clarify how they view the field of psychology and its relationships with other fields.

The College of Letters and Science at UCLA has four academic divisions:


Physical Sciences

Social Sciences

Life Sciences

In which of these divisions would you place psychology?

The university's definitions of these divisions appear below.

I have omitted psychology from the definitions, because the purpose of this questionnaire is to ask you to place it in one of the divisions.

1. Humanities

Study of historical and contemporary perspectives of human traditions through the study of languages, literature, philosophy, culture and the arts.

2. Life Sciences

Study of all living beings and their interactive relationships with their environment. Includes biology, microbiology, kinesiology. Preparation for majors in this area includes course work in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.

3. Physical Sciences

Study of the origins, properties and processes of our material world and expanding universe. Preparation for majors in this area includes laboratory and classroom course work in mathematics, physics and chemistry.

4. Social Sciences

Study in this division includes anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, history, urban studies and organizational studies.


Draw four circles representing the four divisions.

Draw the circles so that they overlap or are separate to whatever degree you believe represents the ways the divisions are related. Then, on the resulting diagram of four circles, place psychology where you believe it should be. It may fall entirely within one circle, or may be within the boundaries of more than one overlapping circles. The resulting diagram will represent how you believe psychology should be related to the other areas of learning. UCLA places psychology in the Life Sciences along with biology, not in the Social Sciences or Humanities. I want to see Saybrook locate it differently.

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Closely related to the question of where psychology belongs in a university is the question of what psychologists should study. Here are opinions by psychologists who have been very involved with the teaching and training of psychologists. Koch (1993) points out that only some aspects of psychology are closely related to the biological sciences, while others need close liaison with the humanities:

Because of the immense range of the psychological studies, different areas studied will bear affinities to different members of the broad grouping of inquiry as historically conceived. Fields such as sensory, physiological (or broadly neuroscience-oriented) psychology may certainly be seen as solidly within the family of the biological and, in some reaches, natural sciences. But psychologists must finally accept the circumstance that extensive and important regions of psychological study require modes of inquiry (and correlative researcher sensibilities and training backgrounds) rather more like those of the humanities than those of the sciences. (pp. 902-904)

Similarly, Pottharst and Kovacs (1962), summarizing the results of a survey of graduates of the University of Michigan doctoral program, reached a similar conclusion:

The clinical curriculum should be enriched with larger doses of the humanities and social sciences. Anyone who must work closely with people needs to be steeped in the history and cultures of (hu)mankind as much if not more than he (or she) needs to be steeped in research methodology, mathematics, and the hard sciences. (p. 18)

When I was an undergraduate at Yale, I quickly transferred out of engineering and majored in psychology and literature; I am still trying to integrate the two. I dropped a course called "Contemporary Theories of Psychology" because it was only about Skinner, Hull, Guthrie, Thorndike, etc. Instead, the undergraduate course that most inspired me to study other aspects of psychology was on modern French literature taught by Henri Peyre. I am reminded of Mikhail Bakhtin's assertion, "After all, the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, between literature and nonliterature and so forth are not laid up in heaven." Perhaps this viewpoint is responsible for the fact that I still have the poetry book I stole from my high school English class in 1947, and often turn to it when bored or appalled by psychology.

I became an existential-humanistic psychologist because, much as I valued my psychoanalytic training and personal analysis, and much as I find the methods of behavior therapy practical and effective within limits, I was frustrated by reductionistic aspects of both, and searched for something more. That search led me to existential-humanistic psychology and Rollo May, and eventually to becoming a faculty member at Saybrook Graduate School.

But even there I ran into the old biases. One day a colleague asserted that students must master quantitative research so they can understand and evaluate "the literature of psychology." What, I asked, is "the literature of psychology," and who gets to define it? Partly to be provocative, but also speaking more seriously that I realized at the time, I proposed that the literature of psychology should also include poetry, and that therefore a psychology doctoral program should require students to be able to write and understand poetry.

I am relieved to find that I am not alone, even within the psychological establishment. Consider this quote from a former president of the American Psychological Association (Farley, 1994):

The spiritual side, the poetic side, the giving and forgiving side, the generous and loving side, are humankind's finest features. Hebb defined psychology many years ago as not being poetry. Although Hebb was my scientific hero, I demur from defining psychology without poetry.

Farley, F. (1994, January). From the Heart. APA Monitor, 25 (1), 3.

In supervision sessions with doctoral students learning to do psychotherapy in an APA accredited program, I made references to Faust and Siddhartha to illustrate points I was making about clients' struggles. The students had no idea what I was talking about. Later, during an APA site visit I mentioned this to a member of the accreditation team, and jokingly asked, "Do you feel safe walking the streets at night knowing there are psychologists out there who don't know who Faust and Siddhartha are?" He looked at me oddly. In its embrace of quantitative science and biomedical models, has psychology made a Faustian bargain? If the ferryman in Siddhartha applied to a graduate program in psychology, would he have a chance of being admitted?

As psychology struggles to define its own complex and multi-faceted identity, it is important that it simultaneously develop fruitful—but not reductionistic—liaisons with many other fields.


Anderson. P. W. (1972). As quoted in Horgan, 1995).

Bentley, M. (1990). A Psychology for Psychologists. In C. Murchison (Ed.), Psychologies of 1930, Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, 95-114.

Farley, F. (1994, January). From the Heart. APA Monitor, 25 (1), 3.

Freud, S. (1916). Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. New York: WW Norton.

Freud, S. (1926/1978). The question of lay analysis. New York: WW Norton.

Horgan, J. (1995, June). From Complexity to Perplexity. Scientific American. 272(6), p. 104-109.

Koch., S. (1993). "Psychology" or "The Psychological Studies"? American Psychologist, 48 (8), 902-904.

Michigan Clinical Alumni Statement on Training, Division 12 Newsletter, Fall 1962, 15, 2-3. American Psychological Association.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1962). Report to University of Michigan Clinical Alumni and Faculty. June 15, 1962. Unpublished manuscript.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1964). The Crisis in Training Viewed by Clinical Alumni. In L. Blank & H. David (Eds.), Sourcebook for Training in Clinical Psychology. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 278-300.

Sperry, R. (1995, Spring). The Riddle of Consciousness and the Changing Scientific Worldview. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 35 (2), 7-21

Wertz, F. (1994). The phenomenology of Sigmund Freud. Journal of Phenomenology, 24(1).

Wertz, F. (1998). The role of the humanistic movement in the history of psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 38(1).

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What we cannot be at all, we cannot understand either.

Karl Jaspers

There is nothing but water in the holy pools.

I know, I have been swimming in them.

All the gods sculpted of wood and ivory can't say a word.

I know, I have been crying out to them.

The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words.

I looked through their covers one day sideways.

What Kabir talks about is only what he has lived through.

If you have not lived through something, it is not true.

Kabir. Translation by Robert Bly.

Saybrook has a Committee on Experiential Learning which drafted the following statement, a version of which soon will appear in the catalog. I'd be interested in your thoughts about the statement and your suggestions for ways experiential learning can be included in Saybrook courses.

The Saybrook Institute faculty, with the encouragement of the WASC accreditation committee, has adopted a policy of more actively inviting and facilitating the integration of a wider range of experiences and ways of learning for Saybrook students. We will continue to place a high value on critical thinking, reading and scholarly writing, while also encouraging other modes of learning and development, including field work, social action, body disciplines, meditation, psychotherapy, the arts, etc.

Central to this effort at integration will be the processes of immersion, self-awareness and self-reflection. Participation is encouraged in various forms of learning in groups (social action, research, therapy, personal growth, etc.). Clinical internships and action research, for example, provide relevant opportunities.

The goal is to bridge theory and practice in ways that will be more rich and rigorous than when separated.

Here are some examples of how Saybrook students have integrated experiential learning into their academic course work. They did this largely at their own initiative, but with some encouragement and structuring from me.

1. Deborah Rahilly went to Jim Bugental's experiential training workshops for psychotherapists, then did reading and writing for credit.

2. Patrick Faggianelli practices Aikido, and reads and writes about it. His candidacy essay for me was "The Centered Therapist: A Literature Review of Aikido and Psychotherapy." Although the essay was not directly about his Aikido experience, his perspective and writing were enriched by that personal immersion in the topic. His dissertation is an extension of this work.

3. Bert Montiegel went to a workshop on psychodrama, read about it, and then wrote about the combination of his intellectual and direct experiential learning, including a critique.

4. Several students have written about their psychotherapy cases to illustrate academic papers in History and Systems of Psychology, Ethics, Personality Theory, and Cognitive Psychology.

5. Students have illustrated points in theoretical papers with examples from their own lives. For example, Mario Cayer did an astute review and critique of his own intellectual development and cognitive style to illustrate points he made in the Cognitive Psychology course.

The faculty will include encouragement and suggestions for experiential learning in future revisions of learning guides. We welcome your suggestions also.

To support one particular form of experiential learning, Saybrook is developing a system whereby students can do internships in the field with sufficient Saybrook supervision of an academic component to receive credit entered on their transcripts.

Here is a quotation about learning in clinical settings from a theorist not always viewed as open-minded:

Cases which are thus destined at the start to scientific purposes and treated accordingly suffer in consequence; while the most successful cases are those in which one proceeds, as it were, aimlessly, and allows oneself to be overtaken by any surprises, always presenting to them an open mind, free from any expectations.

(Freud, 1925, 326-327)

The following quotation refers to undergraduate education in psychology, but seem relevant to graduate education also:

We recommend an additional component for all undergraduate majors in psychology. An interpersonal skills and group process laboratory to develop students' ability to work in groups is included in all of our proposed models. Whenever possible, we recommend that this laboratory (or the senior-year

applied project) be combined with a community-service component. A volunteer experience should be an integral part of every student's undergraduate education. Such an experience would give psychology majors an opportunity to apply interpersonal problem-solving and decision-making skills, develop their leadership potential, and provide career-related insights.

(McGovern et al., 1991, 598-605).

The study by Karl Pottharst and Arthur Kovacs (1962) cited earlier discusses the importance of direct experience for research and theory-building:

Significant research contributions to the science of human behavior can grow, in an immediate and vital way, only out of actual, direct contacts with people....there is too little cross-fertilization between psychologists who do elegant research on insignificant problems and psychologists who are alone with their existential dread in the face of tormented chaotic humanness. We feel that clinical training and continued clinical experience are important ingredients not only for those who will serve, but also for those who will observe and communicate the fruits of their observations to the profession and to society. (p. 12)

Significant research undertakings growing out of clinical work, however, are long-term, do not produce certain results, and involve skills difficult to acquire. (p. 13)

When the Association for Humanistic Psychology founded a different kind of graduate school in 1971 we intended to create a place where education in psychology would transcend the depersonalizing limitations and academic abstractions we had endured as students in conventional APA approved programs. Now, many years later, we continue to work to make Saybrook's psychology program meaningful to students as experiencing persons.


Boyd, E. & Fales, A. Reflective learning: Key to learning from experience. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 23 (2), 1983

Conrad, D. & Hedin, D. (1981). National assessment of experiential education: Summary & implications. Journal of Experiential Education, 4(2), 6-20.

Corcoran, K. Experiential empathy: A theory of a felt level experience. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 21 (1), 1981.

Crosby, A. (1981). A critical look: The philosophical foundations of experiential education. Journal of Experiential Education, 4(1), 9-15.

Freud, S. (1925). Recommendations for Physicians on the Psychoanalytic Method of Treatment. Collected Papers, 11, 326-327. London: Hogarth Press.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as a source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

McGovern, T.V., Furumoto, L., Halpern, D.F., Kimble, G.A. & McKeachie, W.J. (1991). Liberal Education, Study in Depth, and the Arts and Sciences Major--Psychology. American Psychologist 46 (6), 598-605.

Michigan Clinical Alumni Statement on Training, Division 12 Newsletter, Fall 1962, 15, 2-3, American Psychological Association.

Miller, R. Educating the true self: Spiritual roots of the holistic worldview. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 31 (4), 1991.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1962). Report to University of Michigan Clinical Alumni and Faculty. June 15, 1962. Unpublished manuscript.

Pottharst, K. & Kovacs, A. (1964). The Crisis in Training Viewed by Clinical Alumni. In L. Blank & H. David (Eds.), Sourcebook for Training in Clinical Psychology. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 278-300.

Rogers, C. R. (1969). Freedom to learn: A view of what education might become. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.

Stehno, J. J. (1986). The application and integration of experiential education in higher education. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, Touch of Nature Environmental Center. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No ED 285 465).

Tritt, D. G. (1991). Cognitions of self as learner: A necessary objective in experiential education. Psychological Reports, 69, 591-598.


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Read carefully the sections on internships and licensing in the catalog. I will be glad to discuss these topics with you. Keep up to date on the ever-changing licensing scene. Find out who currently administers the Saybrook procedures necessary to record your internships on your transcript. I have supervised many psychological assistants who have gone through the process of accumulating hours and passing the licensing exam in California, and can offer some suggestions.

The faculty will encourage and assist students to keep the requisite records. The responsibility for being eligible to take the licensing exam, however, remains the student's. State laws regarding eligibility for licensure change, and students have sometimes had to take additional post-doctoral courses or provide extensive documentation of course work and clinical training.

There are many advanced Saybrook psychology students and graduates who can attest to the value of Saybrook's approach and who can assist the faculty in communicating its advantages for serious career psychologists.


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(Adapted by Tom Greening from a statement written several years ago )

1. Faculty members initiating contact either to check in with the student, or to pass on knowledge and information, or provide new references that might be useful.

2. Faculty making extensive feedback on papers, comments in the body of the paper as well as general comments.

3. Faculty taking the initiative to ask students if they perceive the teacher as unclear, confused or unfair about the student's work.

4. Sending articles, clippings, book information to students in their areas of interest.

5. Being generous with knowledge and information rather than turning questions back to the students and requiring them to fish for information.

6. Taking the time to learn about a student and his or her interests.

7. Criticizing students' thinking and writing without criticizing the person.

8. Providing consistent feedback so papers or essay drafts do not come back with requests for changes on points that were accepted in earlier drafts.

9. Having a telephone manner that communicates involvement, interest and availability.

10. Editing and helping students with writing skills, as well as commenting on ideas and subject matter.

11. Providing criticism as well as praise, and specific praise, so that praise is trusted and not perceived as vague and empty.

12. Being up front with faculty biases so faculty and students can bracket them.

13. Faculty members articulating the best arguments for positions contrary to their own, and evaluating students' work on its own merits rather than in terms of whether it agrees with the teacher's position.

14. Providing specific criticisms of an argument rather than vague, global disagreement.

15. During face-to-face contact, making eye contact and keeping a clear focus on the student so that the student's personhood, issues and concerns are honored.

16. Taking the time to listen to and understand a student's point of view, or to understand why a student is having difficulty. This is a different skill than being able to cogently state or argue a point of view, and is an essential teaching skill.

17. Including positive comments as well as negative ones, thus going beyond only criticism.

18. Offering alternative approaches or directions when criticizing, and helping the student build an argument rather than simply tearing the student's argument down.

19. Adhering to the requirements for turn-around time.

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The faculty established a list of criteria for Learning Guides. Here are some I want to call your attention to, in hopes they will encourage you to use the Learning Guides creatively, negotiating changes with me and the other instructors when appropriate.

— The learning guide should teach and encourage critical/creative stances on the part of the student. This is especially important for mid-career, motivated students who want to think for themselves and integrate their professional and life experience with their course work.

— The learning guide author(s) should exemplify a critical stance regarding the theories or praxes presented in the course.

— The assignments should require the students to become aware of research methods, theories, etc. which are different from or critical of the position taken by the course guide.

— Assignments and readings should provide opportunities for students to do independent research and to tailor the course to their particular interests and needs. (This is applicable only to certain courses.)

— If appropriate, the learning guide should take a multidisciplinary, transcultural point of view.

— If appropriate, the theories, methods/practices or skills should be taught within a framework of political/ethical concern for bettering the human condition.

— Learning in the course should involve connecting theory with practice and experience. Our students should be encouraged to write about their own experiences.

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Note: These suggestions are based on my limited experience with psychological phenomenological studies. Researchers more familiar with this research method have various opinions about the value of these questions, and can offer useful suggestions for answering them.

Research Participants

1. How were the participants selected?

2. What are the participants' distinguishing characteristics?
Age, gender, education, geographical location, culture, ethnicity, etc.?

3. What is the sample size; what are the reasons for that size?

4. To what degree and in what ways do you believe the ways the
participants were selected resulted in their being representative
of the population they are supposed to represent?


1. Who did the interviews?

2. What were the possible effects of the persona or stimulus
value of the interviewer?

3. What were the set and setting of the interviews, and possible effects, such as desire to please, socially acceptable responses, stimulus value of setting, subjects' knowledge of interviewer's interests and theory, etc?

4. To what degree and in what ways may the results be limited by their being conscious, verbal self-reports to this particular interviewer in this particular setting?

5. What might be the effects of the subjects' repressions, defenses and unconscious processes on the results?


1. What did you have to bracket? What were your conscious theories,
assumptions, expectations, preconceptions, biases, etc.?

2. Were you able to discover any previously unconscious tendencies
in yourself that needed bracketing?

3. How did you proceed with the bracketing process?

4. What checks did you make on the adequacy of your bracketing?

5. What was your rationale for using or not using cross-validation
from other interviewers, coders, and interpreters of the data?

6. What may have been the effects of your decision regarding cross-validation?

What may be the effects of your answers to all of the above on the reliability, validity and generalizability of the results?

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Below are the lyrics to a song first sung at the closing session of the June 1995 Saybrook residential conference, plus verses I subsequently added with Stan Krippner's help about Charlotte Bühler, Laura Perls, Ida Rolf and Virginia Satir so as to include some women. The revised version has been sung at subsequent dinners after graduation.

I want to thank Saybrook student Frank Christmas for insisting that I carefully fit the words to the beats, and for playing the mellow piano accompaniment at the conferences. And I thank Sandy Smith for singing the song so beautifully and leading the singing. Frank and Sandy had little time to rehearse, but came through like pros.

Some of you may wish to write additional lyrics expressing your thoughts on "What Is This Saybrook All About?" for singing at future conferences. Perhaps I can help you fit your words to the song. The music is "Buddy Bolden's Blues." This is a famous old blues that appears on many records. I recommend the version by Little Brother Montgomery on track #11 of a compact disk called "Rare Chicago Blues, 1962-1968," Bullseye Blues CD BB 9530, made by Rounder Records Corp., One Camp Street, Cambridge, MA 02140. The sheet music is out of print, but I can send you a photocopy if you wish.

What is this Saybrook all about? Well, along with many other things, maybe it is about making music together.

Revised 7/97

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Music: F. J. Morton. Lyrics: Tom Greening.

Adapted from "Buddy Bolden's Blues"

by F. J. Morton (Edwin H. Morris & Co., ASCAP).

1. I thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout
What is this Saybrook all about?
What is this Saybrook all about?
I thought I heard him shout.

2. I thought I heard William James shout
Transcend yourself and trip far out,
Transcend yourself and trip far out,
I thought I heard James shout.

3. I thought I heard Harry Murray shout
The study of lives you must not flout,
The study of lives you must not flout,
I thought I heard him shout.

4. I thought I heard Charlotte Bühler shout
Pursue your values, help them sprout,
Pursue your values, help them sprout,
I thought I heard her shout.

5. I thought I heard Abe Maslow shout
Put behaviorists on the rout,
Put behaviorists on the rout,
I thought I heard Abe shout.

6. I thought I heard Laura Perls shout
You must embrace the whole Gestalt,
You must embrace the whole Gestalt,
I thought I heard her shout.

7. I thought I heard Ida Rolf shout
Bodywork must have more clout,
Bodywork must have more clout,
I thought I heard her shout.

8. I thought I heard Carl Rogers shout
Your clients are persons, there's no doubt,
Your clients are persons, there's no doubt,
I thought I heard Carl shout.

9. I thought I heard Virginia Satir shout
Help families celebrate, not pout,
Help families celebrate, not pout,
I thought I heard her shout.


10. I thought I heard Jim Bugental shout
Let your authenticity out,
Let your authenticity out,
I thought I heard Jim shout.

11. I thought I heard Rollo May shout
Love and will are where it's at,
Love and will are where it's at,
I thought I heard him shout.

12. I thought I heard all the students shout
That's what this Saybrook's all about,
That's what this Saybrook's all about,
I thought I heard them shout.

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The faculty of this famed institute

now finds itself engaged in much dispute

about the proper way to run the place,

and how to do it with some sense of grace.

There are so many groups we try to please—

ourselves, the students, WASC and the trustees—

and thus, to teach psychology it seems

we must resort to rather drastic means.

The outcome of this strife is still unclear,

and this creates an anxious atmosphere,

so while we struggle with unwelcome stress

I thought perhaps it's time that I confess—

My mind is hardly fit for such discourse

and jumps about much like a skittish horse.

Just when my colleagues need me to be sane,

I write these lines that really are inane.

But if my poem lightens up our mood

and makes us somewhat less inclined to brood,

then I will feel that I have done my part

to demonstrate the value of bad art.

Tom Greening

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Published in Saybrook Forum October 1993

Some critics of Western psychology claim that too much emphasis is placed upon the reified concept of the autonomous, over-individualized person. To help correct this problem, insofar as it may exist at Saybrook, I propose some research topics that students might want to choose for their dissertation research. No actual persons will be harmed or even involved in such studies.

1. A Phenomenological Study of Stampeding Cattle.

2. MMPI Assessment of Mid-Life Crises in Trees.

3. Object Relations and Depreciation in the Automobile.

4. Violence and Sexuality Among Television Sets.

5. Food Preferences of Vegetables.

6. Computer Literacy in Cats.

7. Origins of Musical Talent in Electric Guitars.

8. A Post-Modern Critique of Mitosis.

9. A Systems Analysis of Domestic Ant Farms.

10. Cross-Cultural Comparison of Yogurt Cultures.

11. Uncovering Psychotherapy for Ostriches.


Published in Saybrook Forum Winter 1993

I was gratified by the enthusiastic response to my list of proposed dissertation topics published in the October 1993 Saybrook Forum. Students clearly are eager to escape the narrow and unproductive focus upon the experiencing person in psychology, with its emphasis on insular individualism, asocial autonomy, and fractal biomorphism. All of the proposed topics are now being studied in doctoral dissertation research, so I have generated another list for students who wish to contribute to this new research movement that does not depend upon the fiction of the human self..

1. Immigration and Culture Shock in Mediterranean Fruit Flies.

2. Upward Mobility and Fear of Heights in Mountain Goats.

3. Diversity vs. Deviance: Self-Concepts of Straying Sheep.

4. Hotline Support Services for Lemmings.

5. Anthropocentrism in Domesticated Dogs.

6. A Cry for Help: A Humanistic Interpretation of Oral Sadism in Piranha.

7. Ideal Image vs. Natural Self: Sartorial Styles in Penguins.

8. Remorse and Restitutional Behavior in Alcoholic Rats.

9. Ecological Attitudes of Trees and Shrubs.

10. A Kinesthetic Analysis of Political Correctness: Left Wing

Movements in Ducks Flying Over Right Wing Countries.

11. False Memory Syndrome in Elephants.

12. Conflict Resolution for Arsonists and Chaparral.

13. Existential Hermeneutics: Patterns of Nothingness in

Unintentionally Erased Computer Disks.

Suggested Dissertation Topics - Further Thoughts

Tom Greening

One student responded to the list of suggested dissertation topics as follows:

Careful consideration of these topics leads me to believe that they are absurd and really have no place in serious research. Whatever your purpose for developing a list of nonsensical topics to recommend for student dissertations, I do not agree that an institution of higher learning can survive on such suggestions from faculty and I would hope that you can come up with something better to offer for serious-minded students.

As I explained in introducing the topics, they were an attempt to respond to what I understand to be post-modern theories that concepts such as the "self" or "person" are outdated, arbitrary social constructions which have no proper place in psychology. Thus, I thought that suggestions of dissertation topics which avoid an antiquated, sentimental focus on the experiencing, meaning-creating person would be welcomed. Apparently I missed the mark, at least for one student.

My problem is that after many years of serious involvement with psychology, psychologists, and other intellectuals, something periodically snaps in my brain, causing it to emit nonsense without my recognizing it as such. This is a troublesome and embarrassing disability, which some of my colleagues indulge, probably unwisely. I have tried behavior therapy and psychopharmacology to control this behavior, but to no avail. It may be that if others ignore my behavior it will extinguish on its own.

The recent dubious honor bestowed upon me by the Herbert R. Lochenkopf Foundation—"Tasteless and Ridiculous Humorist of the Year"—is small compensation for any tarnish I may have inflicted on Saybrook's reputation.

I do hope that in the future I can avoid making what are perceived as absurd suggestions and offer some that are worthy of consideration by serious students. I do have faith, however, that if I fail, Saybrook as an institution nevertheless will survive thanks to the efforts of my more mature colleagues.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to redeem myself, here are some slightly more serious suggestions for dissertation topics:

1. Self-Expression Through Cutlery: Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and O. J. Simpson.

2. Sartre as Semantic Satyr: The Wanton Worship of Words.

3. Jonathan Swift: A Psychologist for Our Time.

4. Is God Dead or Just on Prozac?

5. Adolph Eichman: Pioneer of Managed Care.

After reading the above list, a student actually criticized me for implying that OJ was guilty of something, and for associating him with Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper. My reply:

In court it was documented that OJ did buy a large knife, presumably for some "self-expression through cutlery." He and Lizzie Borden were both found innocent of murder charges by juries, so they share that commonality. Including Jack the Ripper in the trio could be considered an admirable gesture of diversity—including someone from a different country and who really was found guilty of "Self-Expression Through Cutlery."

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27. Helpful Books and Resources. Revised 12/30/99.

Contact Saybrook librarians for updated information.

This section contains information about the following resources:

American Psychological Association. Publication manual. Fifth Edition.

APA Style for Word Processing 4th edition. Reference Point Software..

American Psychological Association. (1999). APA-Style Helper 2.0: Software for New Writers in the Behavioral Sciences. Available as CE-Rom or purchase and download online. Contact www.apa.org/apa-style/ Gives clear help on how to format references, citations, headings, statistics, tables. Step-by-step instructions. Conforms to fourth edition of the APA Publication Manual.

Bond, L. & Magistrale, A. S. (1987). Writer's guide in psychology. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath & Co.

Cone, J. D. & Foster, S. H.: Dissertations and theses from start to finish. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.

Davis, G. B. & Parker, C. A. (1997). Writing the doctoral dissertation: A systematic approach. Barrons Educational Series.

Gross, R. (1993). The independent scholar's handbook. Ten Speed Press.

Hawley, P. (1993). Being bright is not enough: The unwritten rules of doctoral study. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Locke, L. F., Spirduso, W. W., & Silverman, S. J. (1987). Proposals that work: A guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Madsen, D. (1991). Successful dissertations and theses. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Meloy, J. M. (1994). Writing the qualitative dissertation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Nickerson, E. T. (1993). The dissertation handbook: A guide to successful dissertations. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.

Niles & Associates. EndNote 3.0.

Peters, R. L. (1997). Getting what you came for: The smart student's guide to earning a Master's or a Ph.D. Noonday Press.

Rudestam, K. E. & Newton, R. R. (1992). Surviving your dissertation:
A comprehensive guide to content and process
. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Steinberg, D. (1981). How to complete and survive a doctoral dissertation. St. Martin's Press.

Steinberg, R. J. (1993). The psychologist's companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers. (3rd. ed.) New York: Cambridge University Press.

Niles & Associates. EndNote 3.0

EndNote, from Niles & Associates Inc., is a bibliography management, creation and editing database that creates bibliographies automatically within users' word processors utilizing more than 300 pre-defined styles in a wide variety of disciplines. Niles Software, Inc. has announced a major upgrade to EndNote that allows users to search remote bibliographic databases on the Internet and includes better integration with electronic publications.

Currently researchers must go through a complicated multiple-step process to download references from online databases and import them into their personal bibliographic database. This process is complex because online searching must be done in one program, and the bibliographic tasks in another. EndNote 3.0 renders this multiple-step process obsolete by

integrating the two functions into one program.

The new version also includes a feature allowing users to launch a web

browser from within EndNote and directs it to a URL. The new program will ship with more than 100 connection files that will instantly link the user to resources such as university card catalogs, the Library of Congress and more specialized databases such as Medline, PsycInfo, and Chemical

Abstracts. This new functionality makes EndNote 3.0 the first search client that creates bibliographies.

Contact: Niles & Associates Inc., Berkeley, CA. (510) 559-8592.

Writing Dissertations: A Bibliography (modified from Arne Collen, 2001)

Some Basic References

American Psychological Association (1994). Publication Manual. Fourth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Cone, J. and Foster, S. (1993). Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Grossman, J. (1993). The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers. Fourteenth edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Krathwohl, D. (1988). How to Prepare a Research Proposal: Guidelines for Funding and Dissertations in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Third edition. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Locke, L., Spirduso, W., & Silverman, S. (1993). Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals. Third edition. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Strunk, W., Jr. and White, E. (1979). The Elements of Style. Third edition. New York: Macmillan.

Turabian, K. (1987). A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Fourth edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Further References

There are three kinds of resources listed below. Some focus on the dissertation process as disciplined inquiry, such as the choices and decisions to be made in formulating and conducting the dissertation project. Others center on the experiences and stories of doing the dissertation, in terms of the human relationships involved, high points and low points, and achievements and frustrations with the project. And still others concern the writing experience itself, writing strategies, styles, formats, and mechanics of writing the document.

Bond, L. & Magistrale, A. S. (1987). Writer's Guide in Psychology. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath & Co.

Davis, G. B. & Parker, C. A. (1997). Writing the doctoral dissertation: A systematic approach. Barrons Educational Series.

Gross, R. (1993). The independent scholar's handbook. Ten Speed Press.

Hawley, P. (1993). Being bright is not enough: The unwritten rules of doctoral study. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Madsen, D. (1991). Successful dissertations and theses. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Meloy, J. M. (1994). Writing the qualitative dissertation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Nickerson, E. T. (1993). The dissertation handbook: A guide to successful dissertations. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.

Peters, R. L. (1997). Getting what you came for: The smart student's guide to earning a Master's or a Ph.D. Noonday Press.

Rudestam, K. E. & Newton, R. R. (1992). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Steinberg, D. (1981). How to complete and survive a doctoral dissertation. St. Martin's Press.

Steinberg, R. J. (1993). The psychologist's companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers. (3rd. ed.) New York: Cambridge University Press.

Guide to Content and Order of the Full Dissertation

(This model, developed by Arne Collen, gives one general model of the contents of the dissertation.)

Title Page

Approval Page

Copyright Page



Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures





Preliminary Analysis

Research Questions (Objectives, Test of the Hypotheses)

Supplemental Findings


Research Questions (Objectives, Hypotheses)

Supplemental Findings

Limitations and Issues

Directions for Future Research

Summary and Conclusion







1. Communication Format: To be familiar with the APA and dissertation formats used for writing and presenting research reports, theses and dissertations.

2. Abstracting: To be able to write an abstract of a research proposal and a research report in both APA and dissertation formats.

3. Information Search: To be able to conduct a search of information sources of a circumscribed subject domain, search the web, and use library resources effectively.

4. Critical Review: To be able to review critically a circumscribed body of published literature for the purpose of evaluating what is and is not known, and proposing a research question and a research project.

5. Question Formulation: To be able to focus an idea, question, problem, or issue in a subject domain and express the focus in terms of a researchable question.

6. Method: To be able to identify, discuss, and critique the principal features of a research project exemplary of a specific research tradition.

7. Process: To be able to identify the decisions to be made to carry out a proposed research project in a research tradition, and discuss and critique the process of conducting a research project typical of that research tradition.

8. Methodology: To be able to discuss and apply general concepts and principles of research methodology, such as validity, reliability, question formulation, design, observation, measurement, data collection, data processing, interpretation, and reporting, to a subject matter domain.

9. Method Selection: To be able to work the process of making the fit between the research question and the chosen research method to answer that question.

10. Proposal Rationale: To be able to articulate and argue the reasons to justify a proposed research project.

11. Research Design: To be able to identify, discuss, and critique the appropriateness of the connections among the chosen research method, data collection, and data processing to answer the research question.

12. Research Plan: To be able to identify, sequence, discuss, and make the decisions necessary to carry out a research project.

13. Research Ethics: To be able to identify and discuss the issues, recommend precautions and procedures that will account for and protect those who will serve as the participants in a proposed research project, and know SIRB procedures.

14. Data Collection: To be able to identify, describe, and execute the exact procedures required to make observations and collect data needed to answer the research question.

15. Data Processing: To be able to identify, describe, and execute the exact procedures required to analyze and synthesize the data collected to answer the research question.

16. Interpretation: To be able to give meaning to the results of data processing in regard to the research question, the human experience, the research context, and the subject domain reviewed previously.

17. Reporting: To communicate the research project in a cogent, succinct, and systematic form that is in accordance with APA and dissertation formats and the research tradition it follows.

Developed by the Research Committee of Saybrook Graduate School for application to the graduate programs, effective September 2000.

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28. Expectations and Logistics
(Don Moss wrote this, and I find it useful)

Students should rely heavily on peer reviewed sources for all literature reviews. Peer reviewed sources are primarily scholarly journals, which subject each article to an unbiased review by consulting editors before acceptance. At least 65 % of the sources cited for each paper should be peer reviewed texts. In addition, all sources of factual material should be cited, following the APA Publication Manual, fifth edition. Any text passage which is cited verbatim must also be cited. Use of any verbatim text without clear citation of the source will be regarded as plagiarism, and can result in a non-passing course evaluation.

Online sources are acceptable and often contain valuable information, but are less reliable for scholarly work. Some websites include scholarly articles already published in peer reviewed journals, and these are more trustworthy. Any web-based citation must be referenced carefully in APA format. This means that the exact web link must be included, so that the reader can follow the link to the precise place where the cited text is found. The reference also must include the date you retrieved the information from the website, which tells the reader how recently this web-link was working. Remember that web-based materials must be supplemented by a larger number of peer reviewed sources.

Students should submit their specific assignment topics to the instructor in advance for discussion. Completed assignments should be submitted via email, one at a time. This allows student-faculty discussion of each assignment, before the student proceeds to the next assignment. This student-faculty dialogue is crucial to the Saybrook mentored learning model.