I found the histories and systems of the psychology unit to be fascinating and informative. The materials that were offered for the course were relevant and contributed greatly to my view of gender, race, and sexuality issues. This course further broadened my understanding of psychology in various relevant fields such as its pre-history, history and systems associated with it. I used the ORID model whereby the objectives, reflections, interpretations and decisions I made after studying the course are analyzed. This paper is a reflection on the topics covered in the course and how the material influenced and shaped my thoughts.
I enjoyed the topic of the pre-history of psychology and the quote that psychology has a long past, but a short history still lingers on my mind. The course and especially the YouTube video on the study of the history of psychology shows that psychology can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Some notable ancient psychologists, including Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates, were mainly interested in memory, learning, perception, motivation, and abnormal behavior. Today’s psychology as we know it began in the 19th century when scientific tools of experimentation began to be used. Upon reflection, using historical data, I can predict that psychology will continue to mature as a science in the future.
The most controversial and intriguing subject on the histories and systems of psychology was the topic of eugenics. The term was coined by Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), a man known to be more of a philosopher than a scientist. Galton argued that intelligence was influenced by the heredity genes more than a person’s environment. For this reason, immigrants entering the US in the early 1900s had their intelligence tested. I learned from the topic that the terms idiot, imbecile, and moron were formulated by psychologist Henry Goddard to classify children with low IQ. Classifying children and even adults based on their intelligence was developed by French psychologists Albert Binet and Theodore Simon, whom Goddard learned from. These methods had some shortcomings, including favoring people with prior knowledge in the English language. I learned that it was later improved by using patterns and mathematics, but it could not measure all types of intelligence.
I drew a couple of lessons from Beverly Greene’s interview with Feministvoices.com on her training in psychotherapy. An African American feminist, Greene says that psychoanalytical thinking dominated her graduate training. She argues that the training should look more at issues around women, sexual orientation, and the role of race, things that were not included in her training. She made me reflect on whether these topics were included in my course and found that they were well covered. In addition to the training, Greene suggests that temperament is an essential component when conducting psychotherapy. She also advocates for a psychotherapist to integrate what happens in the therapy room to what goes on outside. I also learned that upon receiving information from any source, I should not take it at face value. Instead, I should make decisions after considering all alternatives. As a young Hispanic female, I was greatly inspired by Beverly Greene a woman of color who was improving lives of many people through psychotherapy.
In her YouTube video, Alexandra Rutherford, an associate professor at York University Toronto links feminism with psychology. She Interviews a group of feminists on the subject of race, gender, race and sexuality. I learned from this video that women played a significant role in psychology but were limited by gender roles and stereotypes. However, after the 1960s’ gender liberations movements, women psychologists found a voice to fight the institutionalized sexism and gender-based biases in society. From the many interviews conducted by the professor, I could not help but question my positionality on race issues. For instance, I realized that women who belonged to minority groups faced different challenges from men. I also questioned my stand GBTQ and saw that their rights need to be respected.
The course material I was exposed to showed that a significant number of women played different roles the history of psychology. One of these women is Dr. Ruth Howards who was the second African American woman to complete a Doctorate program in psychology. Dr. Howards says she was exposed to all types of social work as her father was a minister of a local church while she was growing up. Her interest in knowing human dynamics made her take a career in psychology. She further has written many papers on psychology that have been well received. I was also exposed to Denise Sekaquaptewa, who talks about being a social psychologist as a native woman.
In summary, going through the course broadened my knowledge in the pre-history of psychology, psychology in the 1900s and its modern state. I understood more about the history and systems of psychology than I thought existed. I knew more about eugenics and how some psychological arguments were made only to be corrected in the future. I questioned myself many times if it could be true that people of different races have a different degree of intelligence. Furthermore, I knew that I had been wrong previously thinking that women played a minor role in the advancement of psychology and was proud to be a study woman in the field. I also expanded my knowledge on psychotherapy, and the techniques one can use to become a better psychotherapist. I adopted a lot of quotes from the previous scholars, some of which I will integrate into my daily talk.