Two articles now in press at the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will be of interest to AHP readers. Be sure to check out the fantastic images featured in the new article from Ben Harris and Courtney Stevens. Full details follow below.
“Practicing mind? body medicine before Freud: John G. Gehring, the “Wizard of the Androscoggin”,” Ben Harris & Courtney J. Stevens. Abstract:
This article describes the psychotherapy practice of physician John G. Gehring and places it in historical context. Forgotten today, Gehring was a highly sought?after therapist from the 1890s to the 1920s by prominent figures in the arts, sciences, business, and law. He practiced a combination of work therapy, suggestion, and autosuggestion that has similarities to Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Behavioral Activation. Using biographies, memoirs, and archival records, the details of Gehring’s work are reconstructed and the reasons for its success are analyzed. His invisibility in the history of psychiatry is attributed to the later dominance of Freudianism within the field.
“The psychologist’s biographer: Writing lives in the history of psychology,” by Eric F. Luckey. Abstract:
How should historians employ psychological insight when seeking to understand and analyze their historical subjects? That is the essential question explored in this methodological reflection on the relationship between psychology and biography. To answer it, this paper offers a historical, historiographical, and theoretical analysis of life writing in the history of psychology. It touches down in the genres of autobiography, psychobiography, and cultural history to assess how other historians and psychologists have answered this question. And it offers a more detailed analysis of one particularly useful text, Kerry Buckley’s (1989) Mechanical Man, to illuminate specific ways in which historians can simultaneously employ, historicize, and critically analyze the theories of the psychologists they study. Although ostensibly about writing biographies of eminent psychologists, this article speaks to a methodological issue facing any historian contemplating the role psychological theories should play in their historical narratives.