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Van Bark, B.S. (1947). People in Quandaries. By Wendell Johnson. 532 pp. 1946. Harper and Bros. $4.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 7(1):58-61.

(1947). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 7(1):58-61

People in Quandaries. By Wendell Johnson. 532 pp. 1946. Harper and Bros. $4.

Review by:
Bella S. Van Bark, M.D.

Many people today are interested in personality development and in the improvement of human relations. Varied theories have been advanced explaining the origin of our human problems and setting forth some means for solving them. The author of People in Quandaries believes that many personality difficulties arise from the structure of our language and the ways in which it is used. He is convinced that the application of the techniques of general semantics is most effective in the treatment of the more common maladjustments. He has been using this method for the past eleven years as clinical psychologist at the University of Iowa.

General semantics is defined as a systematic attempt to use the scientific method in devising a language whose structure would correspond to the structure of reality. The essentials of the scientific method which are used in general semantics are: attention is focused on differences; orientation is of a dynamic and process character which corresponds to the nature of reality; processes cannot be seen directly but can be inferred; assumptions are known; language is clear, valid and meaningful and revision of beliefs and assumptions are possible.

In order to construct a language which helps a person to understand himself and others, we must be aware that reality is changing, changeable, continuously differentiated, and variable.

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