Action for Mental Health: Final Report, 1961

By Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health | Go to book overview

Appendix V

Footnotes

Footnote 4-I: Dr. Tiedeman favors a "nutrition-like" theory of mental health which he says is rudimentary but evolving. He comments:

Throughout his life man engages in a process of "becoming." In "becoming," man searches for a station in life that gives meaning to his being. Guidance psychology aims squarely at facilitating this "becoming" of each person. The postures and attitudes a youth adopts toward assimilation, self, and occupation (in the most general sense) control his potential resolution of problems in "becoming" to a marked degree. Schools and colleges employ counselors to help each person achieve resolutions in his quest for meaning in being that are productively oriented. Persons with productive character orientations generally act confidently and accept the consequences of their action without unduly blaming self or others. Persons of productive character orientation also have deeply elaborated self-systems which offer strength for sustaining ego in times of stress.

The primary medium of guidance psychology for facilitating this formation of identity is short-term ego-counseling. This counseling is frequently organized in relation to important points of decision in "becoming," viz:

(I) upon entry into high school; (2) upon transition from school to college or work; (3) upon choice of major in college; and (4) upon transition from college to work or graduate school. Enlightened graduate schools, governments, and industries are gradually realizing that "becoming" is a continual process and are providing professional counseling for their students or employees. It is now recognized that a school counselor at any rate cannot serve his charges adequately if they outnumber him by more than about 250. This ratio probably cannot be exceeded in college without sacrifice in the service. In fact the college years are so much an exercise in "becoming" that the ratio of 250 students to one counselor may well be too high. The useful ratio in industry and government will depend upon how many "problems" an employer will let his employee have. Actually the stew of "becoming" intensifies during one's twenties and thirties as well as near retirement. Society would gain if employers provided enough adequate counseling assistance for people of these kinds. Such services are an im

-318-

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