January 4

P. Cushman photo Read pages 1 – 69 of Cushman’s Constructing the Self, Constructing America: A Cultural History of Psychotherapy.

This week, rather than responding to the reading, please post some comments about your plans for the course paper. I realize that most people have not given too much thought to the paper during the first term, so I am not looking for elaborate plans. However, to complete a successful project it is important to get off to a quick start in the second term. In the dialogue forum please write a few paragraphs about the ideas that you are considering pursuing. This might simply be a list of topics, authors or articles you have come across in the first term and have found interesting enough to consider following up. On the other hand you may have already looked at a few things and can tell us something of what you think you might be able to do with the topic. By describing the possibilities you are considering on the dialogue forum you allow all of us to engage in a sort of group brainstorming activity that should help everyone move their ideas along. I will respond to all of the posts with further possibilities and suggestions that your ideas bring to mind; and I encourage everyone to comment with their own associations and possible leads as they read through the posts. In the past I have found that some of the best tips come from other students who point out connections to readings or research with which they are familiar.

Please complete your post before the class meets on Thursday, January 4.

The purpose of the paper is to document your investigation of some aspect of alternative approaches to Psychology. Many students in past offerings of the course have reconsidered the topic of their BA thesis and used the course paper as an opportunity to pursue alternative ways of formulating their thesis questions or to propose alternative methodologies to that actually employed. Other students have found an idea mentioned only briefly in one of the readings interesting enough to pursue in greater depth. Others have chosen to read and comment on the work of a psychologist associated with alternative approaches but whom we did not have the opportunity to read in the course. One other kind of paper frequently received has been that of commentary (from the point of view of the course material) on a set of recent studies in a specific area of Psychology. By no means is this list exhaustive of the possibilities; it is only meant to help get the brainstorming process started.

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