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Geha, R. (1974-75). Phenomenology in Psychology and Psychiatry: A Historical Introduction. Herbert Spiegelberg Evenston: Northwestern University Press, 1972. xiv + 411 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(4):639-640.

(1974-75). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(4):639-640

Phenomenology in Psychology and Psychiatry: A Historical Introduction. Herbert Spiegelberg Evenston: Northwestern University Press, 1972. xiv + 411 pp.

Review by:
Richard Geha

To map the often erratic path cut by philosophical phenomenology as it “infiltrated” psychology and psychiatry, Spiegelberg works his way from bird's-eye assessments to closer-in studies of that movement's most vigorous proponents. The scope of the first half of the book is panoramic, and the stage becomes a bit crowded with prominent philosophers, psychologists, and psychiatrists (e.g., Brentano, Stumpf, Heidegger, Sartre, Ricoeur, Kafka, Kohler, Lewin, Jaspers, and R. D. Laing). A chapter on Psychoanalysis notes that Husserl and Freud simultaneously promulgated their doctrines but—aside from Paul schilder and Ludwig Binswanger—phenomenologists attracted scant attention in Germany from the Freudians; likewise, Husserl, until far along in his life, pretty much ignored psychoanalysis. The two movements resembled ships in the night—bypassing each other on separate courses. Another section reviews the American scene (mostly Carl Rogers and Rollo May). the second half of the volume consists of individual chapters on Jaspers, Binswanger, Minkowski, von Gebsattel, Straus, Buytendijk, Goldstein, Schilder, Boss, and Frankl.

Spiegelberg views phenomenology as

the approach advocated by the original group of Husserl's early collaborators and their successors, who interpreted the motto of “going to the things” as a faithful description of what was intuitively given, including not only particular phenomena but also their essential structures.

Within these broad borders, Spiegelberg ranges wide, well aware of how far he strays from Husserl's “pure phenomenology.

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