Henry Murray Essay

907 words - 4 pages

I chose Henry Alexander Murray for my lesser known therapist. He was born in New York City in 1983 and he had two siblings (Kazdin, 2000). Murray attended and graduated from Harvard College and he married and had one child. When I first decided to write about Murray, I didn’t know very much about him. One fact that surprised me is that Murray was actually uninterested in psychology in college. For instance, Kazdin (2000) asserts that “the only formal course he ever took in psychology was with Hugo Munsterberg, but he walked out after the first class when he found out the material had no relevance to personal experience” (p. 358). He was more interested in the medical field. Murray did not ...view middle of the document...

Murray influenced the field of psychology with his theory of Personology and he focused on the whole of a person. Murray used the term “Personology” because his theory was completely focused on “the full life course of the individual” (Barrest & Juckes, 1997). The main idea in this theory is that a person is more than their outward appearance. People are complex and the history of a person is significant. In fact, according to Barrest and Juckes (1997), Henry Murray vastly emphasized the significance of a person’s history:
The organism consists of an infinitely complex series of temporally related activities extending from birth to death. Because of the meaningful connection of sequences the life cycle of a single individual should be taken as a unit, the long unit for psychology. It is feasible to study the organism during one episode of its existence, but it should be recognized that this is but an arbitrarily selected part of the whole. The history of an organism is the organism… (pg. 703).
What Murray is conveying here is that individuals are made up of far more than one single event, and to obtain any significant meaning about an individual requires an acknowledgment, if not an understanding, of all of the history of the individual.
Furthermore, Murray also contributed to psychology through his development of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). The TAT was a “methodology that tapped first-person imaginative narrative structures that went beyond autobiographical materials and could be used to identify motivations outside of personal awareness” (Barresi & Juckes, 1997). In other words, he used this test to tap into the unconscious mind. He wanted to discover everything about the person who he studied, including any hidden motives or other hidden information that...

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