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Road to Malpsychia: Humanistic Psychology and Our Discontents Hardcover – Aug 1 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; 1 edition (Aug. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554467
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,729,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Offering vivid portrayals of the major players in the humanistic psychology movement is Joyce Milton's The Road to Malpsychia: Humanistic Psychology and Our Discontents. This cultural movement which sprouted from an impatience with human limitations and a desire to put the self at the center of the universe had its heyday in the 1960s. Milton (The First Partner: Hilary Rodham Clinton) writes about psychologist Abraham Maslow, the movement's prophet, and of its followers, including Carl Rogers, a Californian who instructed people to get in touch with the dark impulses of their true selves.'
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Vivid portrayals of the major players in the humanistic psychology movement."

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having basically grown up in the context of this movement, studied it, I think I am qualified to talk about it. The movement has and had excesses. It also has a lot of twisting and BS that has nothing at all to do with what the founders did, said or thought. That is most of what Joyce attacks.
Fundamentally, the movement was and is about honesty. Honesty about what one is really about and why one does things. Honesty about the reality of relationships. This can be and is abused, no question about it. There are plenty of people who simply use the forms to perform their sadism, manipulations, excuse addictions, what have you.
But so is priestly authority abused. So is political authority of almost every kind. So is the demagogic authority of talk show hosts and TV preachers who take advantage of the uneasiness and fears of others for personal gain.
People are made this way, and it is part of the parcel of life.
This book is full of cheap shots at great people. Everyone has problems in their lives. Einstein was not very nice and liked the ladies. Does that invalidate his physics?
No. It doesn't. Poor scholarship, sloppy thinking, and cheap shots are the primary content of this book. It has some points worth making, but they could be made in a few pages.
The basic thought that people have a responsibility to society as well as to themselves seems to be the theme here. Or that's the underlying thread I got. Real humanism most definitely is in agreement with that.
I have no objections to her attack on idiot pop-psych. But she goes way too far and hurts her argument.
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Format: Hardcover
As a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst I have been exposed to many theories about the human mind. I have had ample opportunity to see which of these theories when applied to a given situation is most likely to be of help. It has been startling to me how many elaborate models of the mind and corresponding therapies are not only obscure but disorganized, unverifiable, and unaccountable. Joyce Milton's fast paced book is clear and concise in examining the parents of Humanistic Psychology and its theories. (I had not known where all that silly stuff about encounter groups,
LSD, etc. came from but now I do.) In examining this movement Ms. Milton suggests origins for many of the cultural and political aberancies which have been so antithetical to the best of American institutions and values.
The Humanistic Psychology Movement seemed to assert that the highest form of human mental activity was the quest for the Ecstacy of Self-Congratulation. Ms. Milton wryly describes the resultant frenetic, self-deluded, and self-serving Flakiness which often passed for Advanced Deep Thought and which justified in the mind of the affected the wholesale overhaul of everything. The ability to discern Nonsense in our culture has been greatly enhanced by this book. Another great part of this lively book is the dark humor to be continuously found in the absurdities of popular Psycholgy. I highly recommend The Road to Malpsychia...
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Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a good history of recent psychology - this isn't it. The author's agenda is clear from the start, but the writing and research is sloppy. Distinguished scientists like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers get lumped in with misguided idealists like Timothy Leary and con men like Werner Erhard. I remember from college that Carl Rogers' therapy was one of the most thoroughly researched and validated of them all - you wouldn't know that from reading this. There's lots of dirt on private lives, lots of horror stories about insensitivity, but few facts to back up her blame of psychology for narcissism, divorce, feminism, etc.
There might be valid critiques of humanistic psychology in here, but they're hard to separate from the ax-grinding. The author also wrote hatchet jobs on Hillary Clinton and Charlie Chaplin, which explains some of the vitriol. Get this for the Rush Limbaugh fans on your list - people who want a reliable history of humanistic psychology are out of luck.
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Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a good history of recent psychology - this isn't it. The author's agenda is clear from the start, but the writing and research is sloppy. Distinguished scientists like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers get lumped in with misguided idealists like Timothy Leary and con men like Werner Erhard. I remember from college that Carl Rogers' therapy was one of the most thoroughly researched and validated of them all - you wouldn't know that from reading this. There's lots of dirt on private lives, lots of horror stories about insensitivity, but few facts to back up her blame of psychology for narcissism, divorce, feminism, etc.
There might be valid critiques of humanistic psychology in here, but they're hard to separate from the ax-grinding. The author also wrote hatchet jobs on Hillary Clinton and Charlie Chaplin, which explains some of the vitriol. Get this for the Rush Limbaugh fans on your list - people who want a reliable history of humanistic psychology are out of luck.
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Format: Hardcover
The humanistic psychology movement was indeed populated by intellectual mediocrities peddling dubious ideas at best. And it was subjected to withering critiques by a number of scholars in political science, history, philosophy, and psychology at the time of its ascendency in the 1960s and early 1970s. By far the best of these was Russell Jacoby's "Social Amnesia," first published around 1974 and subsequently translated into a dozen other languages and reprinted in this country more than once. But Joyce Milton cites neither Jacoby nor any of the other contemporaray critics of the movement. I think it's safe to assume that the reason for Milton's silence on these earlier works is partly a matter of self-promotion and partly a matter of political emnity. Most of the earlier works in this area--and certainly Jacoby's--were written from a left Freudian point of view by men and women who had been students of such figures as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, precisely the sorts of individuals Milton would like to lump together with the likes of Maslow, Rogers, et al.
Milton's book on the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg was unfairly and rather stupidly attacked by many left-wing intellectuals--die-hards who can't seem to accept the fact that the American left had been (at least partly) wrong about the Rosenberg trial. The attack against Milton was based more on politics than on scholarly consideration and debate. In her latest book, Milton has returned the favor, producing a thinly disguised political screed masquerading as intellectual history.
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