The Making of Psychotherapists: An Anthropological Analysis

Psychology, Anthropology, and a Science of Human Beings
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To be sure, disciplines other than anthropology are concerned with the study of human beings. Our animal nature is the subject of intense research by biologists, geneticists, and physiologists.

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In medicine alone, hundreds of additional specialists investigate the human body, and psychiatrists and psychologists, rank upon rank, seek the essence of the human mind and soul. Many other disciplines examine our cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic behavior.

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Different techniques for data gathering were used, including participant observation for a period of 9 months, ethnographic interviews, the keeping of diaries by mothers and grandmothers, and the recording of the life histories of mothers and grandmothers. The study of indigenous models of persons, selves, and experiences, ethnopsychology takes as problematic the Western psychology-based conceptions of these terms. McLeroy, K. In psychology, occasional use of cross-language data is only found in the field of human development. On the other hand, the dialogue will open up discussion about the health promoters' assumptions and norms. Verified by Psychology Today. Devereux , pp.

These disciplines include sociology, human geography, social psychology, political science, economics, linguistics, theology, philosophy, musicology, art, literature, and architecture. There are also many "area specialists," who study the languages and life-styles of particular peoples, nations, or regions: "Latin Americanists," "Indianists," "Sinologists," and so on.

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In view of this profusion of disciplines that describe, explain, and Interpret aspects of human life, what justification can there be for a single discipline that claims to be the general science of the human species? Research and publications are accumulating in each of the four fields of anthropology at an exponential rate.

Anthropological research methods

Few anthropologists nowadays master more than one field. And anthropologists increasingly find themselves working not with fellow anthropologists of another field but with members of entirely different scientific or humanistic specialties. For example, cultural anthropologists interested in the relationship between cultural practices and the natural environment may be obliged to pay closer attention to agronomy or ecology than to linguistics. Physical anthropologists interested in the relationship between human and protohuman fossils may, because of the Importance of teeth in the fossil record, become more familiar with dentistry journals than with journals devoted to ethnography or linguistics.

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Cultural anthropologists interested in the relationship between culture and individual personality are sometimes more at home professionally with psychiatrists and social psychologists than with the archaeologists in theIr own university departments. Hence, many more than four fields are represented in the ongoing research of modern anthropology.

The specialized nature of most anthropological research makes it Imperative that the general significance of anthropological facts and theories be preserved. This is the task of general anthropology. General anthropology does not pretend to survey the entire subject matter of physical, cultural, archaeological, and linguistic anthropology. Much less does It pretend to survey the work of the legions of scholars in other disciplines who also study the biological, linguistic, and cultural aspects of human existence.

Rather, it strives to achieve a particular orientation toward all the human sciences, disciplines, and fields. Perhaps the best word for this orientation is ecumenical. General anthropology does not teach all that one must know in order to master the four fields or all that one must know in order to become an anthropologist.

The Making of Psychotherapists: An Anthropological Analysis

Instead, general anthropology teaches how to evaluate facts and theories about human nature and human culture by placing them in a total, universalist perspective. In the words of Frederica De Laguna,. Anthropology is the only discipline that offers a conceptual schema for the whole context of human experience.. It is like the carrying frame onto which may be fitted all the several subjects of a liberal education, and by organizing the load, making it more wieldy and capable of being carried. I believe that the importance of general anthropology is that It is panhuman, evolutionary, and comparative.

The previously mentioned disciplines are concerned with only a particular segment of human experience or a particular time or phase of our cultural or biological development. But general anthropology is systematically and uncompromisingly comparative. Its findings are never based upon the study of a single population, race, "tribe," class, or nation. General anthropology insists first and foremost that conclusions based upon the study of one particular human group or civilization be checked against the evidence of other groups or civilizations under both similar and different conditions.

In this way the relevance of general anthropology transcends the interests of any particular "tribe," race, nation, or culture. In anthropological perspective, all peoples and civilizations are fundamentally local and evanescent. Karnac Books on Twitter. Karnac Books on Facebook. Attachment Theory.

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