A Brief History Of Psychology

Although psychology did not surface as a separate discipline until the late 1800s, the history of psychology can be traced back to the time of the early Greeks. In 17th-century, the idea of dualism was introduced by the French philosopher Rene Descartes, who asserted that the mind and body were two separate and individual units. According to him, these two separate entities interacted to form the human experience. Psychology history reveals that many other issues still debated by psychologists today are rooted in these early philosophical traditions.

In the mid-1800s, Wilhelm Wundt, a German physiologist used scientific research methods to examine reaction times. He published a book in 1874, Principles of Physiological Psychology, which shows main connections between the science of physiology and the study of human thought and behavior. The first world’s first psychology lab was opened by him in 1879 at the University of Leipzig, according to the history of psychology. This reflects the official start of looking at psychology as a separate science.

The beginning of psychology in the 1950s saw a development in the humanistic psychology, where the humanistic approach used phenomenology, inter-subjectivity and first-person categories, to study the whole person. Several fundamental human issues like self-identity, freedom, aloneness, death etc were focused on. It laid emphasis on concern for positive growth and subjective meaning, with an added concern for positive growth rather than pathology. The history of psychology reflects some of the founders of these school of thought American psychologists Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers. Abraham Maslow devised a hierarchy of human needs, while Carl Rogers created and developed client-centered therapy. The German-American psychiatrist Fritz Perls, co-founded Gestalt therapy, which became so powerful as to be called the "third force" within psychology.

Looking back at the origin of psychology, in the 1950s and 1960s, German philosopher Martin Heidegger and Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, trained American psychologist Rollo May, who founded an existential breed of psychology. The existential psychologists differed from others in their reasonably neutral view of human nature and their relatively positive assessment of anxiety. Emphasis was laid on the humanistic themes of death, free will, and meaning.

Later, Viktor Frankl , an Austrian existential psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor drew confirmation of meaning's therapeutic power from reflections garnered from his own internment. He was successful in creating a variety of existential psychotherapy called logotherapy. As per the psychology history, Edward B. Titchener, founded psychology’s first major school of thought, according to which the human consciousness could be broken into much smaller parts and using introspection, the subjects would make an effort to break down their responses and reactions to the most basic sensation and perceptions.