Adjustment and Personality

Adjustment and Personality

Adjustment and Personality

Adjustment and Personality

Excerpt

An author usually writes a textbook because he feels dissatisfied with the existing ones and because he believes he has unique things to offer. Either he conceives his field differently from other textbook writers, or he thinks that other books are pitched at too high or too low a level to employ successfully. In formulating lectures to supply what is needed, he finds himself with the makings of a new text. This has been true in my case.

Next to an introductory course in psychology, one of the courses most frequently offered in colleges and universities is on the psychology of adjustment. The course, variously described as "adjustment," "mental hygiene," and "personality development," is not necessarily directed toward students who intend to major in psychology but toward the large number of students drawn toward the subject matter out of curiosity or personal need. This popularity is not surprising in view of the increasing public awareness of psychology and the universality of problems of adjustment.

Great interest in the psychology of adjustment is indicated not only by the high frequency of college courses on the subject but also by the considerable number of lay books, from the early best seller by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, through a succession including Overstreet's The Mature Mind, Bishop Sheen's Peace of Soul, Rabbi Leibman's Peace of Mind, and Norman Vincent Peale's widely read book, The Power of Positive Thinking. Most newspapers throughout the country include columns offering advice on interpersonal relations, analyzing personal problems, and suggesting child-rearing practices guaranteed to make youngsters healthy and interpersonally competent. Along with cancer and heart-disease research, mental-health programs are beginning to be the order of the day.

As I have been at pains to show in Chapter 15, these books and articles that strive to advise the reader on matters of adjustment, although hungrily read by the public, have very little significant effect . . .

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