Harry stack sullivans interpersonal theory essay

He believed that anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms arise in fundamental conflicts between individuals and their human environments and that personality development also takes place by a series of interactions with other people. He made substantial contributions to clinical psychiatry, especially the psychotherapy of schizophreniaand suggested that the mental functions of schizophrenics, though impaired, are not damaged past repair and can be recovered through therapy. Possessing an extraordinary ability to communicate with schizophrenic patients, he described their behaviour with clarity and insight unrivalled at that time. Sullivan received an M.

Harry stack sullivans interpersonal theory essay

He teaches courses in the areas of social and political philosophy. The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. Surprisingly, such an effort might be welcomed by Sullivan himself. In explicating his own notion of "dynamism" Sullivan notes that, "Whitehead, among the philosophers, has conceived the universe as an organism, and certainly there is no difficulty in seeing living organisms as particular dynamisms.

Whitehead did not focus to any great extent on the subject of psychology as such, but tended to discuss psychological topics more in terms of particular exemplifications of his larger schema. Part one will examine the extent to which both thinkers were influenced by the insights of Harry stack sullivans interpersonal theory essay physics in formulating their view of the human person.

Harry stack sullivans interpersonal theory essay

Part three will then highlight the significance that each thinker assigns to the role of language. In order to treat their patients, however, psychiatrists must tacitly rely upon some operative model of the self and of the personality.

This theoretical framework necessarily entails a whole matrix of assumptions and theories about what a healthy, normal human person should be, and some criteria for determining and assessing desirable modes of interpersonal relationships.

This orientation enabled Freud to theorize about human persons analogically as though they were steam engines, in which finite amounts of energy had to be accounted for within a closed system.

Following classical mechanics, Freud emphasized the independence of individuals and stressed that direct contact was necessary to explain human actions. Rather than envisioning the individual personality as an object for study as though it were an independent, discrete entity, Sullivan believed that personality manifests itself only in relation to others.

To suggest, however, that an individual personality could be discussed in vacuo would be to fall prey to what Whitehead described as the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness" SMW To both thinkers, personality can only be viewed as a relational term.

Investigating these observable patterns constitutes the nature of the psychiatric enterprise. If personality is a relation, then it remains to be seen precisely what is related. According to his model, personality is conceived as a dynamic living organism made up of a number of interacting dynamisms and subdynamisms recognizable by a recurring pattern of identity.

To explain more fully what he meant by the term "pattern," Sullivan invoked his own original definition, namely "a pattern is the envelope of insignificant particular differences" ITP Thus, the human organism is not a fixed, static object enduring self-identically through time but rather an ongoing dynamic relationship composed of component dynamisms in a continuous state of flux or process.

A sense of personal identity is preserved, albeit always in an approximate manner, because of the similarities which are manifested in the pattern over time. Obviously, when one expands the matrix within which personality must be situated, there are significant ramifications for clinical practice.

Not only must one view the individual patient as an operating biological organism, one must also seek to understand both the environing medium for that person, which includes all other persons with whom functional activity occurs, and the specific culture that to a large extent shapes the perceptual patterns by which that individual experiences the world.

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Consequently, in psychotherapy, therapists and patients together must attempt to come to terms with the whole range of relationships manifested in these three areas. The first of these is a secondary dynamism which Sullivan ultimately came to call the self-system.

Sullivan classified the self-system as secondary "in that it does not have any particular zone of interaction, any particular physiological apparatus, behind it; but literally uses all zones of interaction and all physiological apparatus which is integrative and meaningful from the interpersonal standpoint" ITP The purpose of the self-system is to maximize the potential for well being and minimize the presence of tension or anxiety within the organism, which arises from either organic needs or social insecurity.

Its development is brought about by its reflective assessment of the educative experiences of approbation and disapproval. When interpersonal experiences result in an increase of tenderness or the expression of approval, the infant begins to develop the feeling of "good me.

The third personification, however, goes well beyond the normal levels of anxiety that would be generated by the first two personifications. This "not me" response may be encountered in a dream, in an a schizophrenic episode, or in instances of grave mental disorders.

Harry Stack Sullivan - Wikipedia

The way a person deals with the anxiety which accompanies this surprising revelation is simply to block it out and deny its source, thus taking refuge behind the "not me" aspect of the self-system. A healthy personality utilizes these three modes of security operations, which might also be classified as learned modes of responding, not only to seek and maintain levels of emotional stability.

Unlike Freud, who saw unconscious motivations functioning autonomously behind such a process, Sullivan believed that this exclusionary procedure was fundamentally conscious and could be revealed to be so through the simply interpersonal activities of conversation and observation.

This basic concept enables one to explain why certain persons seem totally oblivious to aspects of their environment which appear obvious to others.

Like the notion of the self-system, it provides Sullivan with an additional mode of explaining how the personality incorporates data into a dynamic model of experience. By virtue of his own research Sullivan arrived at the same fundamental vision about the nature of reality that Whitehead professed and molded it quite independently into a viable personality theory, suitable for use in psychotherapy.

Essentially, in conceptualizing the human person, Sullivan, like Whitehead, rejects a model of personality which relies upon a "morphology of stuff" and insists on one that accentuates the dynamic theme of process. Where Sullivan speaks of the body in terms of interacting dynamisms and subdynamisms, Whitehead says, "the body is composed of various centres of experience imposing the expression of themselves on each other" MT Each relies on the presupposition that the present moment contains within it the sum total of the past to that point.

For Whitehead, as indeed for Sullivan, the present always seeks to maximize the greatest actualization of value which can be attained from the data available in that actual world.

A fuller understanding of what Whitehead means by "actual world" would help one to contextualize the matrix within which the formation of security operations by an organism occur. Governed by its subjective aim, a concrescence will naturally follow the historic routes which have led to previous satisfactions and avoid those which have minimized or trivialized value realization.

While both men sought to implement a dynamic view of experience, Whitehead chose to focus on the microcosmic level which resulted in his philosophy of organism, whereas Sullivan devoted his efforts to the particular realm of human existence which yielded his interpersonal theory of psychiatry.

After briefly highlighting the Sullivanian stages, we will consider relevant views of Whitehead which must be garnered from references scattered throughout the entire corpus. During this period, the importance of the maternal relationship, especially with respect to the beginnings of the self-system, cannot be underestimated.Henry Stack-Sullivan, who is considered the father of interpersonal psychiatry, developed the Interpersonal Theory of kaja-net.com theory explained the role of interpersonal relationships and social experiences in regards to the shaping of personalities, as well as the importance of life events to psychopathology.

Sullivan’s Developmental Theory Essay Words 5 Pages The man behind the child developmental theory, Harry Stack Sullivan was born in an American family on 21 February This essay attempts to make a contribution to that ongoing dialogue by corroborating some of the central features of Harry Stack Sullivan’s interpersonal theory of psychiatry in light of Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophical insights about the nature of .

Harry Stack-Sullivan was trained in psychoanalysis in the United States, but soon drifted from the specific psychoanalytic beliefs while retaining much of the core concepts of Freud. Interestingly, Sullivan placed a lot of focus on both the social aspects of personality and cognitive.

Interpersonal Theory Harry Stack Sullivan Introduction * Harry Stack Sullivan insisted that personality is shaped almost entirely by the relationships we have with other people. INTERPERSONAL THEORY Harry Stack Sullivan Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising.

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Harry stack sullivans interpersonal theory essay
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