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Gestalt psychology is the one of the leading approaches in the Western psychology. It appeared in the late 19th century in Germany and Austria as an explanation of the phenomena of psychic life. Gestalt psychology has adopted the principle of integrity and indivisible elements of mental activity to the simple sum of its parts. The term “gestalt” from German is a structure, integral form, which is also close to the term “configuration”.
For the first time the phenomenon of “gestalt” was identified in the studies of Wertheimer and Koffka. The illusion of motion of two consecutive points of the flare was first explained by the presence of a perceptive field. Perceived movement was a function of bare incentives and depended on their relationship within a certain gestalt. Originally, it was the most active research conducted in the field of perception in order to identify its integrity. Experimental studies of the Gestalt psychologists (Wertheimer) have identified a key mechanism of thinking - the discovery of new aspects of mental activity by its intervention in the relationships through the process of their restructuring. The conception of psychophysical isomorphism by Wertheimer shows that consciousness is determined by the activity of force fields in the brain. The Law of Praegnanz is based on the fact that the human mind as any dynamic system tends to stability. It means that by shaping the figure out from the background, people generally tend to give more easy form to it in order to satisfy the initial interest. That form is characterized by simplicity, regularity, proximity and completeness.
In the 30th, Lewin used the model “organism – environment” to explain dynamics of community. He developed his theory by studying the problem of motivation. At his point of view, the flow of activities depends entirely on the separate set of field’s conditions at the moment. The conception of “field” includes internal factors (the subject) and external (environment) situation.
Interpenetration of medicine and psychology is based on the connection of biological and social factors of a person due to ones mental activity. Hippocrates was the first who identified the role of the adaptive capacity of the body and the importance for interpersonal relations between the doctor and patient. However, it took a long time before the clinical psychology has become a separate science.
The term “clinical psychology” appeared at the end of the 19th century, when American psychologist L. Witmer found the world’s first psychological clinic in Pennsylvania. In fact, this clinic was a psychological and educational center for treatment the children with mental disabilities. He used the term “clinical” in a narrow sense. According to Witmer, it is a special method of individual work with children, in which the diagnosis plays a major role. From the Whitmer’s point of view, the correction of the children’s behavior depends on creating adequate social conditions at school and at home.
Mesmer studied the practical application of magnetism. In his opinion, the planet affects human’s body by some magnetic forces that could be collected and transmitted for treating various diseases.
Charcot has studied the treatment of patients that suffer from hysteria with the help of hypnosis. His student, Janet, continued his studies. He believed that the reason of hysteria phenomena is in narrowing the field of consciousness, the splitting of consciousness, and as a result some mental functions are out of consciousness’s control.
The Austrian neurologist, Freud, invented a new method of treatment of neuroses called the psychoanalysis. It is when the individual is watching while the one phenomenon implies the other, cause-related, and the situation is under a control of consciousness. Freud considered the association in order to completely turn off the consciousness. The object of his study is a whole human being. He studied identity as a product of biological evolution with a close connection to the social community. At the same time, priority is given to the unconscious sexual, ideological factors. The primary purpose of life is a reproduction of irritations that are in a meaning of psychosexual energy. According to Freud, all mental processes are caused by the principles of permanence, pleasure, and reality. Unconscious processes are subordinated to the pleasure principle, which is determined by the individual features of the psyche. Freud states that the structure of personality consists of id, ego, and super-ego. Libido is the energy inherent instincts of life, aggressive energy inherent in destructive instincts.
Jung introduces significant changes in psychoanalysis, which gives rise to the so-called “analytical psychology”. Jung's most important contribution is to consider the use of the term “collective unconscious”, which contents on the archetypes. Archetypes is the accumulated human experience, which settles on the mind in the form of images, behavior, a worldview, and acts in a similar way that the instincts. According to Jung, one of the fundamental archetypes is the archetype of oneself. The task for each person is to find itself without falling into the heresy of narcissism. Jung called it individuation. He notes that the individual has many components, and each archetype is becoming a part of the person. It is extremely important to preserve this harmony between them without tilting to one side at the expense of another. The way in which the archetypes appear can be seen in one’s dreams. Besides, the desires are the Freud’s elements of sleeping too.
Adler criticized the Freud’s “sexual theory” considering it as too biological. He argued that Freud underestimated consciousness, giving too much emphasis on the unconscious sphere. He pointed on the ambiguity of the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis. Theory of psychoanalysis has influenced the further development of the world’s psychology.
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