From Nonsense Syllables to Holding Hands: Sixty Years as a Psychologist
by Jan Smedslund
This book is the professional autobiography of a psychologist with an extensive background both as an experimenter, a practitioner and a theorist. A main theme is his persistent search for an integrated view and conceptual framework for psychology, and an increasingly critical attitude to the mainstream. He has worked with Piaget in Geneva, Bruner at Harvard, at The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and also at many other universities including Oxford, Cambridge, and Stanford. He was inspired by the philosopher Arne Næss, the linguist Anna Wierzbicka, by Egon Brunswik, and above all by Fritz Heider, but his contributions go beyond and differ from all of these.
In over 30 years as a licensed clinical psychologist he worked in institutions with crisis-intervention, family-therapy, and drug addicts, and in private practice. His theoretical contributions to psychology include psycho-logic which is a formalization of psychological common sense, the concept of the pseudo-empirical, referring to empirical studies of what is already known, and the bricoleur-model for practice, emphasizing not-knowing and focusing on the concrete nd unique.
As suggested in the title, the content covers a life-time development beginning with viewing psychology as a natural science, and concluding with viewing the work of psychologists as a special type of encounter and dialogue with fellow human beings.
Jan Smedslund. Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Pb 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway.