What Is Phenomenology

Topics: Memory processes, Memory, Psychology Pages: 7 (3139 words) Published: April 20, 2015
What is phenomenology?
Phenomenology (a compound of the Greek words phainomenon and logos) is the study of human experience and the way in which things are perceived as they appear to consciousness. More broadly, phenomenology is the name given to the philosophical movement beginning with Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) and then developed by Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) and his followers. This movement played a central part in philosophical thinking in the twentieth century and has led to many of the current strands of philosophy active today. This philosophical movement also has had an influence on many disciplines, psychology included, and the intersection of phenomenological philosophy and psychology forms the core of clinical psychology.

Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century. The work of these phenomenologists later influenced at least two main fields of contemporary psychology: the phenomenological psychological approach and the experimental approaches. Phenomenological psychologists have also figured prominently in the history of the humanistic psychology movement.

The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and in particular in the work of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty), "experience" is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or being, or existence itself) is an "in-relation-to" phenomenon, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment, and worldliness, which are evoked by the term "Being-in-the-World". The phenomenological formulation of Being-in-the-World, where person and world are mutually constitutive, is central here.

The philosophical psychology prevalent before the end of the 19th century relied heavily on introspection. The speculations concerning the mind based on those observations were criticized by the pioneering advocates of a more scientific approach to psychology, such as William James and the behaviorists Edward Thorndike, Clark Hull, John B. Watson, and B. F. Skinner. However, not everyone agrees that introspection is intrinsically problematic, such as Francisco Varela, who has trained experimental participants in the structured "introspection" of phenomenological reduction.

Philosophers have long confronted the problem of "qualia". In principle, the same difficulty arises in feelings (the subjective experience of emotion), in the experience of effort, and especially in the "meaning" of concepts. As a result, many qualitative psychologists have claimed phenomenological inquiry to be essentially a matter of "meaning-making" and thus a question to be addressed by interpretive approaches.

Carl Rogers' person-centered psychotherapy theory is based directly on the "phenomenal field" personality theory of Combs and Snygg. That theory in turn was grounded in phenomenological thinking. Rogers attempts to put a therapist in closer contact with a person by listening to the person's report of their recent subjective experiences, especially emotions of which the person is not fully aware. The phenomenal field focuses on "how one feels right now". Sullivan – Interpersonal Theory

Harry Stack Sullivan (1892–1949)
Father of interpersonal psychiatry or Interpersonal Psychoanalysis He proposed interpersonal theory of personality.
He explained the role of interpersonal relationships and social experiences in shaping personality. He also explained about the importance of current life events to psychopathology. The theory further states that the purpose of all behavior is to get needs met through interpersonal interactions and decrease or avoid anxiety.

Harry Stack Sullivan was the first...
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