Personality Profile of Elyn Saks
The current personality profile looks at Elyn Saks’ personality. Elyn Saks is a high-achiever diagnosed with schizophrenia. She began to have the symptoms in the early childhood, but managed to live with them. Currently, she is a professor at University of Southern California Law School and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Her personality is analyzed using multiple classical approaches of personality psychology represented by such famous theorists as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Erik Erickson, Hans Eysenck, Gordon Allport, Burrhus Frederick Skinner, Albert Bandura, and Abraham Maslow. As he main source, her autobiographical book The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness was used (Hyperion, 2007).
Theory of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud is the founder of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious aspects of personality, of which a person is unaware. The conscious on the other hand is that which is within our awareness. In 1923 Freud described his constructs of the id, ego, and superego. The id is the most primitive part of our personality. It operates according to the pleasure principle and it simply seeks immediate gratification. Freud believed that the unconscious possesses the libido, a flowing, dynamic force. The ego is extremely objective and operates according to the reality principle, dealing with the demands of the environment. It regulates the flow of libido and keeps the id in check, thus acting as a "control center" of the personality. It is the superego, which represents the values and standards of an individual's personality. The superego is a characteristic of the personality which strives for perfection. Freud placed great importance on the early years of childhood and introduced psychosexual development stages (oral, anal, phallic, a period of latency, and genital). If a child spends more time in a particular stage then he/she ought to, it leads to a fixation or an incomplete development of the personality. A critical event during the first five years of life is the experience of Oedipus and Electra conflicts (boys sexual attraction toward their mothers and girls sexual attraction toward their fathers, correspondingly). Another major aspect of psychoanalysis is the development of defense mechanisms. According to the theory defense mechanisms are used by the ego to protect the person from anxiety. They include repression, reaction formation, denial, projection, displacement, sublimation, regression, and rationalization. Psychoanalysis is also a therapy. It is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behavior. Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behavior, traces them back to their historical origins, shows how they have changed, and helps individuals to deal better with the realities of adult life. Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Sigmund Freud’s Theory
One of the best theories to analyze Elyn Saks’ personality is psychoanalytic theory. In her book The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn (2007) claims that her talk therapy, based on psychoanalysis, is as important for her as antipsychotic medication. Moreover, in addition to being a legal professor at the University of South California, she is a research clinical associate at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. Although, Elyn herself prefers Kleinian analysis (a treatment advocating that patients unleash their fantasies during sessions), it found its origin in the work of Sigmund Freud. I will attempt to analyze Elyn’s personality using several concepts of Freudian theory, such as the structure of the mind, psychosexual development, and defense mechanisms. Also, I will tell why Kleinian analysis worked for Elyn better than Freudian. In my opinion, Elyn’s id is strongly suppressed by ego and superego. She never let her sexual libido rule her life. Elyn has an exemplary ability to delay gratification. However, there were several occasions when she followed the pleasure principle, which was in her adolescent period (somewhere in genital stage, according to Freud). She tried illegal drugs: marijuana and mescaline, and Elyn learnt what kind of consequences it brings about. After use of mescaline, her hallucinations persisted, and she felt cognitively dysfunctional for a long time. Also, according to update research, use of marijuana in adolescent period can trigger the onset of schizophrenia (Eggan & Lewis, 2006). However, in later life, I cannot mention any bright examples of Elyn’s id acting out. Her ego kept the id in control, and dealt with the problems of real world more than successfully despite the devastating effect of schizophrenia. She did not lose the ability to plan and act in order to achieve any goal. Regardless the burden of the “thought disorder”, Elyn solved real problems sometimes better than a person without any mental illness. She planned her career, passed her exams and wrote the best papers, as well as managed her finances. I think it proves that Elyn’s ego is very strong. But, in my opinion, her superego is even stronger and has ascendency over her personality. Elyn strived for the perfection; it mostly reveals in her academic achievement. Her high moral standards include helping others. For example, she volunteered provide advocacy for a mentally retarded patient, in order for him to move from the hospital back into community. One of Elyn’s most important “moral rules”, which was instilled from the childhood, is the belief that she must be strong and “fight it”, as well as that she can take everything under her control. This feature of her superego helps her to cope with the symptoms of schizophrenia: she tried to act normal while psychosis, she ignored everyday hallucinations and kept working in spite of the cognitive symptoms. However, sometimes superego made her fell into a pitfall. Her “ideal self” wanted her to be in control of everything, including her mental illness. It led her to the false assumption about her ability to live without medication, and subdue schizophrenia independently. Her superego made her experimenting with the “tapering” and, as a consequence, falling into crisis plenty of times. It took her long years to realize that sometimes we cannot “fight it” on our own, and tame this aspect of her superego. Looking at Elyn’s psychosexual development, it is possible to trace her fixation at the oral stage. She fits the definition of a person who seeks interesting experiences (her experiments with drugs) and knowledge (constant reading and academic achievement). Also, she derived pleasure from being close to others. Although, her mental illness hobbles her in social aspect, she always finds friends and connects to them very strongly. For example, after her friends, Kenny and Margie, left the Vanderbilt University, she “sobbed for hours, inconsolable”, and “for weeks afterwards, had no energy, no focus” (p.48). Each separation for her was a tragedy (the most painful one was with her first therapist, Mrs. Jones). Elyn was attached to her family and all her therapists. Also, she reached full happiness, when her dream about the mate came to fruition, and she met her husband Will. In addition to all those attributes of the fixation at oral stage, Elyn smoked for a long time. Among the defense mechanisms, Elyn used denial most vividly. At some point of her life, Elyn’s ego was threatened to acknowledge that she had the mental illness. She denied the fact that it is permanent and not just a transient problem. In the same manner, she denied the constant need for medication. Fortunately, her therapists and friends helped her to admit those facts and she coped with the problems successfully without employing the denial defense mechanism.
As I have mentioned earlier, for the treatment of schizophrenia, Elyn Saks preferred Kleinian psychoanalysis to Freudian one. According to Freud, psychosis is too narcissistic, too inward-looking, to allow the patient to develop a transference relationship with the analyst (intense feelings, beliefs, and attitudes the patient unconsciously recalls from early life and then directs to the analyst), which is crucial for the client’s progress (Freud, 1924). In contrast, Melanie Klein believed that people with psychosis could benefit from analysis and that the necessary transference would develop. It was her theory that psychotic individuals are filed with (even driven by) great anxiety, and that the way to provide relief is to focus directly on the deepest sources of that anxiety (Klein, 1975). During the sessions, the patient is given the freedom to reveal all hidden fantasies and pronounce all inappropriate thoughts. For that reason, Elyn, being most of the time in control of her disorganized thoughts and emotions, found help in this type of treatment. In public, she suppressed all the features of her illness, while at the therapist’s office she was given an opportunity to reduce the tension. Also, in my opinion, her fixation at the oral stage with the affixed to it proneness for dependency and attachment, assisted Elyn in the development of the transference. The Theory of Carl Jung
Carl Jung was a founder of analytical psychology (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). He is best known for his theories of the collective unconscious, including the concept of archetypes and complexes. Along with Sigmund Freud, Jung pioneered modern theories of the relationships between the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind. But while Freud postulated a psychosexual explanation for human behavior, Jung perceived the primary motivating force to be spiritual in origin. According to Jung, it was from the soul that the complementary drives of differentiation and integration arose, fueling the processes of growth, development, and healing. Mental illness arose when these processes were thwarted. Jung emphasized each person’s uniqueness and believed that the goal of life is individuation, the process of coming to know, giving expression to, and harmonizing the various components of the psyche. Also, in his theory distinguished two general attitudes - introversion and extraversion; and four functions - thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting. In addition, Jung’s theory incorporates the notion of two opposing archetypes that represent the differences between our outward appearances (persona) and our inner selves (shadow). Other two important archetypes are the animus (the male element of a woman) and anima (the female element of a man). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Carl Jung’s Theory
I find it difficult to apply some of Carl Jung’s unique concepts, such as complexes and collective unconsciousness, analyzing personality of Elyn Saks. Among archetypes, I would use only two in order to explain Elyn’s personality. Also, Jung’s attitudes and functions are quite helpful, too. Complexes are unconscious and repressed emotionally-toned symbolic material that is incompatible with consciousness. According to Jung, they can cause constant psychological disturbances, but, with proper intervention, they can become conscious that will greatly reduce their impact (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Applying this notion to Elyn’s personality, and, particularly, to her diagnosis, the controversial opinions might arouse. On one hand, schizophrenia is proved to be organic disorder of the brain, and, thus, cannot be caused by the complexes (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). On the other hand, psychoanalysis based on revealing emotionally charged feeling, thoughts, and ideas that were suppressed into unconsciousness, which Jung defines as complexes, helped Elyn to maintain the balance and cope with her disease (Saks, 2007). The collective unconscious is a large group of archetypes (powerful emotional symbols) (Friedman & Schustack, 2003) that are derived from the emotional reactions of our ancestors to continually repeating events. Examples would be the magician, hero, and the trickster. I could not discern any of those archetypes, or similar to them, in the personality of Elyn Saks. Also, I think that Jung’s believe that the origin of mental illness is “the soul” does not explain schizophrenia of Elyn Saks (and of any other person) in any aspect. However, Elyn can be analyzed from the perspective of Jung’s attitudes and functions. In my opinion, Elyn’s nature is extroversion. She is in need for sociability, and close people are a source of energy for her. In her adolescent years, previous to the onset of her illness, she enjoyed going out with friends. But, unfortunately, schizophrenia marked her for life as an introvert. She became more reflective and in need for privacy and space, especially when her symptoms begin to appear. Also, in my opinion, among four functions of Jung’s theory, thinking and feeling functions are the most developed in Elyn’s personality. The fact that she graduated with the degree in philosophy from Oxford University proves that she has unquestionable logic (with the exception of while having a psychosis). She sees cause and effect relations in every situation, a quality without which she would not be able to achieve what she did. Elyn’s feeling function remained intact by schizophrenia as well: she is creative, warm, and intimate. She did not lose the sense of positive and negative values; she was able to create multiple bonds with other people and a happy family. Although Elyn’s sensing function must have been devastated by her illness, the vivid and exact description of psychosis and disturbed senses in the book The Center Cannot Hold might imply extraordinary sensing function in Elyn. As for intuitive function, I think it was rarely employed in her life: she has always relied on reasoning and judgment more than on intuition. One of my favorite Jung’s archetypes, persona and shadow, are very applicable in description Elyn Saks’ personality. Moreover, she also identified them in her book, but under different names. Persona, or the "mask" we present to the world, is designed to make a particular impression on others, while concealing our true nature. Elyn’s persona is “Professor Saks”, who represents herself to the society as structured and official high-achiever. One of Elyn’s shadows (the side of the personality, which she does not consciously display in public) is “Lady of Charts”, a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia, sometimes pinioned to the hospital’s bed, disheveled and emaciated. Another shadow is “Elyn”, warm, sensitive, and strong women. This shadow is responsible for keeping “Lady of Charts” far away in the closet, as well as for discouraging “Professor Saks” to take everything, including schizophrenia, “under total control”. During one of the therapeutic sessions, Elyn’s doctor, encouraged her to transfer “Elyn” from shadow status to persona status, by disclosing those three sides of her personality and advising to associate her Self with “Elyn”, more than with any other (Saks, 2003).
The Theory of Erik Erikson
Erikson was a Neo-Freudian (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). He has been described as an “ego psychologist” studying the stages of development, spanning the entire lifespan. Each of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development is marked by a conflict, for which successful resolution will result in a favorable outcome, for example, trust vs. mistrust, and by an important event that this conflict resolves itself around, for example, meaning of one's life. Favorable outcomes of each stage are sometimes known as “virtues” (Erikson, 1963). Erikson's research suggests that each individual must learn how to hold both extremes of each specific life-stage challenge in tension with one another, not rejecting one end of the tension or the other. Only when both extremes in a life-stage challenge are understood and accepted as both required and useful, the optimal virtue for that stage can surface (Bukatko & Daehler, 2004). The Erikson life-stage virtues, in the order of the stages in which they may be acquired, are: (1) Trust vs. Mistrust, (2) Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, (3) Initiative vs. Guilt (4) Industry vs. Inferiority, (5) Identity vs. Role Confusion, (6) Intimacy vs. Isolation, (7) Generatively vs. Stagnation, and (8) Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Erik Erikson’s Theory
I think Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is useful in explaining Elyn’s personality. In my opinion, on the stages she has already gone through, she resolved most of the conflicts successfully. I believe on the first stage, during the first year of life, we can conclude that Elyn developed the trust and hope. She gained confidence and security in the world around her because her parents were “loving, hardworking, … and more often than not, kind” (p. 11). In other words, her caregivers were reliable enough to provide her with the background that helped her trust the people around her (e.g., her therapists) and not to give up in the battle with her mental illness. On the second stage, which takes place between age one and three, Elyn acquired autonomy and will. Assumingly, her parents did not criticize or overly control her, but rather gave Elyn the opportunity to assert herself by encouraging and supporting her increased independence. Due to this reason, she became more confident and secure in her own ability to survive in the world. She left parent’s home when she started college, and since then she was able to maintain her independence throughout her life in spite of the difficulties she faced. That developed a remarkable will in her personality, which is indicated in every aspect of her life (e.g., achievement in career, coping with schizophrenia symptoms, ability to delay gratification). On the third stage (age 3-6), Elyn resolved the conflict toward initiative and purpose. It can be inferred from her book that Elyn’s parents did not control her to the point of being excessive and criticize her own decisions. They were tolerant even to her “little quirks” (e.g., aligning shoes “just right”, or washing hands several times). As a consequence, Elyn developed a sense of initiative and the ability to lead others and make decisions. On the fourth stage (age 6 to puberty), Elyn developed the sense of industry. She was encouraged and reinforced for her accomplishments (e.g., good grades), especially by her mom: “Dad was not a praiser, so he never complimented anyone. But Mom did, and Warren [brother] and I competed for her attention” (p. 15). It developed the feeling of confidence in her ability to achieve the goals, which played a crucial role in reaching her full potential. Her industry helped her to acquire the notable competence in different areas: philosophy, law, and mental illness. However, during her adolescent years, Elyn resolved the conflict of the fifth stage toward unfavorable outcome: role confusion. According to Erikson, during this period, adolescents explore possibilities and begin to form their own identity based upon the outcome of their explorations. Elyn’s explorations that started in Mexico led to the drug use, and her parents did not want her to “explore” in this direction. After she stated that if she wanted to use pot, she would, and “there is not much you can do about it” (p. 25), her parents sent her to rehabilitation center. She had to conform. As a result, she had difficulty to answer such questions as Who am I? How do I fit in? Where am I going in life? As a result, took her many years before she settled down in the professional aspect: first she got her degree in philosophy, and only afterwards she realized that she wants to go to law school. On the sixth stage, which starts in young adulthood, Elyn acquired the sense of intimacy and love. She developed many long-term close friend relationships. Although, she did not settle down in young adulthood because she still was in school, as soon as she acquired a tenure (middle adulthood), she made a long-term commitment with her husband, Will. Currently, Elyn is on the seventh stage of her psychosocial development. During this stage the measures of accomplishments and failures takes place. I can make the prognosis that Elyn will solve the conflict on this stage toward the favorable outcome, generatively. She has achieved a lot in her career; she is settled in the relationships; she published a book that helped thousands of people; she is still learning a lot (the attendance of the school of psychoanalysis). In my opinion, there are no indications for her settling with stagnation. Similarly, I would predict favorable outcome (Ego-Integrity) on the eight stage of Elyn’s life. However, she still has it ahead of her. The Theory of Hans Eysenck
Eysenck’s theory is based primarily on physiology and genetics (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Although he is a behaviorist who considers learned habits of great importance, he considers personality differences as growing out of our genetic inheritance. He is, therefore, primarily interested in what is usually called temperament. Eysenck's original research found three main dimensions of temperament: neuroticism, extraversion-introversion, and psycoticism. Neuroticism is the factor that Eysenck determined encompassed people who are calm and collected to those who are high strung or nervous. A primary example of this is a person's response to emergencies. Some people are calm and able to deal with things, some are fearful and emotional, and some are terrified by even minor incidence. Eysenck hypothesized that explanation to this might be that neurotic people have a more responsive sympathetic nervous system than others. The introversion-extroversion concept includes the idea that extroverts have a relatively low brain arousal, and so they seek stimulation. Introverts, on the other hand, are thought to have a higher level of central nervous system arousal, and so they tend to shy away from stimulating social environments. Psychoticism includes the tendency toward a psychopathology, involving impulsivity and cruelty, tough-mindedness, and shrewdness. High psychoticism does not mean a person is psychotic or doomed to become so. According to Eysenck, he/she exhibits some qualities commonly found among psychotics, and may be more susceptible, given certain environments, to becoming psychotic. The qualities found in high psychoticistic people include certain recklessness, a disregard for common sense or conventions, and a degree of inappropriate emotional expression (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Hans Eysenck’s Theory
In my opinion, only a part of Hans Eysenck’s Theory explains the personality of Elyn Saks. I would identify her as highly neurotic and introvert, but, perhaps, surprisingly, I am hesitant to call her psychotistic. I think Elyn is definitely neuroticistic and introverted. Eysenck identified that people with obsessive-compulsive disorders and phobias tended to be high on neuroticism and introversion (Eysenck, 1967). He explained it by hypothesizing that highly neuroticistic people over-respond to fearful stimuli. If they are introverts, they will learn to avoid the situations that cause panic very quickly and very thoroughly, even to the point of becoming panicky at small indications of those situations. In one of her interviews, Elyn confessed: “I was fearful. I had some phobias. I had some obsessions. I had some kind of intense fears” (Saks, 2008). It is confirmed in her book (Saks, 2007). For example, in the childhood she could not leave her room unless her “shoes were all lined up”, she could not go to sleep until her “books were organized just so” (p. 11), and she had to wash her hand sometimes two or three times. Also, she had some irrational fears (similar to the fear of bogyman) much longer than other children. Evaluating Elyn on the third dimension of Eysenck’s model, psychoticism, I tend to think of her personality as of non-psychotistic. Although Elyn is schizophrenic and has lots of psychotic episodes, which sometimes include even homicide ideation, it is unjustifiable to call her personality psychoticistic. Eysenck attributes to those people such qualities as impulsivity, cruelty, and tough-mindedness, which are just the opposite of the Elyn’s personality most of the time, while she is stable and non-psychotic (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). This controversial situation proves once more that our psyche is very complex, and it is difficult to differentiate some of its aspects. The Theory of Gordon Allport
Allport is known as a trait psychologist. He argued that some characteristics of human personality are shared (he termed these common traits) and some are peculiar to the individual (he termed those personal dispositions). Personal dispositions that exercise an overwhelming influence on behavior are called cardinal dispositions. Personal dispositions that are the basic building blocks that shape most of our behavior (although they are not as overwhelming as cardinal traits) are called central traits. Central traits are general characteristic found in some degree in every person. An example of a central trait would be honesty (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Gordon Allport’s Theory
Theory of Gordon Allport does a very good job in explaining Elyn’s personality due to the fact that Allport concentrated on the uniqueness of personality (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Cardinal disposition of Elyn Saks can probably be assigned to her being a highly functioning person with schizophrenia (Saks, 2007). Her central dispositions are probably constant seeking of knowledge and striving for the control over one’s life. Also, such common traits as desire for success and achievement-motivation are explicit in Elyn’s personality. The Theory of Burrhus Frederick Skinner
Skinner’s concept of operant conditioning assumes that the behavior that is reinforced is more likely to be repeated in the future, and less likely to be repeated if punished. Skinner argued that responses shaped by environmental consequences, taken together, are what we call personality. He emphasized that environment is of primary importance even in hereditary characteristics. According to Skinner, psychopathology is learned in the same manner as all other behaviors: the adaptive or maladaptive behavior is learned by reinforcement (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of B. F. Skinner’s Theory
In my opinion, Skinner’s theory explains some aspects of personality (behavior) of Elyn Saks, while some of the concepts I find not to be applicable. I think Elyn’s achievement-motivation can be explained by the fact that she was reinforced from the early childhood by her parents to attain goals, such as good grades (Saks, 2007). Also, her desire for control over her life is probably quite conditioned. Her parents, as well as people at rehabilitation center, praised her for being in control. For example, while being a teenager, she lost a lot of weight by controlling her diet. Her parents wanted her to put the weight back on, and they could do it only by challenging her “to prove that she is in control” (p.16). After she came back to her normal weight, they stopped reprimanding her, which is the example of negative reinforcement. However, Skinner’s explanation of psychopathology, in my opinion, does not fit Elyn. Skinner claimed that people with mental problems have either not learned the appropriate response and have a behavioral deficit, or they have learned the wrong response. Thus the treatment for mental illness is to create environmental settings that reward desirable behavior (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Although, this approach works quite well for children with cognitive and emotional disabilities, I think it does not in case of schizophrenia. It is widely known that schizophrenia is a brain disorder, not a learned behavior, and general clinical practice, as well as Elyn’s personal example, proves it. The Theory of Albert Bandura
The main concept of Bandura’s theory is observational learning, or vicarious learning, which is also called modeling because a person forms himself or herself in the image of another. Bandura theorized mechanisms by which people can learn simply by watching others perform a behavior. They learn without performing the behavior themselves and without being directly rewarded or punished for the behavior (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Albert Bandura’s Theory
In my opinion, it is almost impossible to explain Elyn Saks’ personality by Albert Bandura’s theory, using the references I possess. None of them provide information about her using a model for any type of Elyn’s behavior. Describing her childhood, she does not refer to anybody, even her parents, as a role model. I guess she was learning primary through operant conditioning than through observational learning. The Theory of Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow’s name is strongly associated with the hierarchy of needs (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). His hierarchy includes: physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization motives. Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, or the innate process by which one tends to grow spiritual and realize one’s potential (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn Saks from the Prospective of Abraham Maslow’s Theory
From the Maslow’s view point, Elyn most likely would be defined as self-actualized person. Self-actualized people tend to be independent, resist social pressures, and freedom-loving, and have a high need for privacy (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). Elyn fits all of those definitions, in my opinion. She went through the process of establishing herself as a whole person and developed the abilities to understand herself. As a result, she self-actualized herself in her career. At University of Southern California, she throws herself into writing and spends nearly every waking hour in her crowded office in the law school. Since her arrival at USC, she has been among the school’s most productive and respected scholarly writers (University of Southern California Faculty Directory, 2008). Furthermore, the main aspect of her self-actualization is the desire to help other people with mental illness and their families. During the presentation of her book, she states: “I wanted to write this book to give hope to people who suffer from schizophrenia and understanding to people who don’t…I hope this story will help implode the myths that surround mental illness”. Moreover, revealing her secret, she realized that her hard-earned career could come crashing down. A colleague suggested that Saks write under a pseudonym. But Elyn refused to that because that would send the wrong message, as she explained (Saks, 2008). “Elyn,” her colleague reasoned, “do you want to be known as a schizophrenic with a job?”And she did have her doubts, because even while properly medicated, she still harbors several irrational thoughts each day, but she manages to dismiss the obsessions. However, she published her book, and now it gets wonderful reviews from prestigious publishers, doctors, as well as patients and their families, whom this book gave a real hope.
Elyn R. Saks, training to be a psychoanalyst, specializes in mental health law, criminal law, and children and the law. Her recent research focused on ethical dimensions of psychiatric research and forced treatment of the mentally ill. She also teaches at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Law at the Keck School of Medicine at USC and is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. In her capacity as associate dean, Dean Saks oversees research and grants at USC Law. Before joining the USC Law faculty in 1989, Dean Saks was an attorney in Connecticut and instructor at the University of Bridgeport School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University before earning her master of letters from Oxford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she also edited the Yale Law Journal. To analyze her personality, it was beneficial to look at it from the many theoretical perspectives provided by personality psychology. These approaches included: psychoanalytic, neo-analytic, biological, trait, behavioral, and humanistic (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). From the current personality profile, it is possible to conclude that the main factors that influenced her personality were the need for high achievement and a mental illness, schizophrenia. Unfortunately, none of the personality theories defined this mental illness as a brain disorder (Friedman & Schustack, 2003). However, overall development of Elyn Saks’ personality and her high achievements were explained very well by the majority of the theories listed in this personality profile. In my opinion, psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches were the most applicable.
Bukatko D., & Daehler M. (2004). Child Development (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. Eggan, S., & D. Lewis (2006). Immunocytochemical Distribution of the Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor in the Primate Neocortex: A Regional and Laminar Analysis. Oxford University Press. Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society (2nd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Freud, S. (1917/1924). A general introduction to psychoanalysis. J. Riviere (Trans.). New York: Washington Square Press. Friedman, H.S., & Schustack, M.W. (2003). Personality: Classic theories and modern research (2nd Edition). Boston, MS: Allyn & Bacon. Klein, M. (1975). The writings of Melanie Klein. London: Hogarth Press. Saks, E. (2007). The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Hyperion Press. Saks, E. (2007). Presentation of the Book: Elyn Saks - The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. USC law professor battles schizophrenia. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from the Elyn Saks Personal Web site: http://mylaw.usc.edu/blog/video Schizophrenia Bulletin. (2007, December). Interviews with Elyn Saks. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from the Schizophrenia Bulletin Web-site: www.schizophreniabulletin.com/thecentercannothold/intervsaks University of Southern California Law School (2008, October). Faculty Directory. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from the University of Southern California Law School Web site: http://law.usc.edu/contact/contactinfo.cfm?detailid=300 University of Southern California (2008, October). Personal Web-site of Elyn Saks. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from the University of Southern California Law School Web site: http://mylaw.usc.edu/blog/index.cfm