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For our Unit’s discussion post, I have chosen the prominent figure, Lightner Witmer. According to McReynolds (1996), Witmer had many contributions to the field of psychology both then and influences today’s interpretations of clinical practice. To briefly summarize Witmer’s life gleaned from McReynolds’s (1996) article, Witmer was an opinionated compassionate person with strong moral convictions that were not easily swayed by trends of the day while standing up for what he believed in. Witmer sought to be of use to humanity for the sake of being and not for the sake of intelligence or prestige (McReynolds, 1996). Witmer was known for: advocating for child welfare; is recognized as the founder of clinical psychology; continued pursuits and contributions in research; founding schools for clinical psychology and its development; a charter member of the APA; having a book published in his honor by colleagues; was awarded the Doctoris in Scientia degree; and believed in an individual’s strengths and weakness verses approach by systematic delivery. Witmer begun his formal psychological education after investigating pursuits in law with first in the United States and then finalized in Germany (McReynolds, 1996). What begun as a career in experimental research turned to focusing on the application or practice of psychology for assisting children to overcome their deficits to follow his passion and blaze a path of psychology that did not previously exist (McReynolds, 1996). In 1896, Witmer established the first psychological clinic and published first journal of psychology in 1907 (McReynolds, 1996).
Witmer’s contributions to the field of clinical psychology include: being the founding father; naming the field; publishing the field’s first article; opening the first known clinic devoted to the practice of psychology to improve behavior; founding the first classes in clinical psychology, the first school of, and the development of practitioner training; up holding the belief of behavior change thru environmental control; moved practice from addressing weak minded deficits to more complex such as anxiety and dyslexia; and development of the field thru peer review and collaboration with what was to become the APA (McReynolds, 1996).
What Witmer’s contributions to the field of clinical psychology means in relation to myself includes but is not limited to the fact that the career I am pursuing, applied behavior analysis, is related. According to McReynolds (1996), Witmer held similar beliefs and ethics similar to my own being everyone is a unique individual with both strengths and weaknesses that influence behavior as well as the environmental influences. Because of Witmer’s exploration and development protectory of the field as laid out by McReynolds (1996), mental health is recognized as not solely in the realm of physiology but is capable of adaption through relations and talk therapy which is what I am also drawn to.
As for what impact Witmer has on today’s relevant time, as reported by McReynolds (1996), even today the field continues to uphold the founding ethic of compassionate care encompassing identifying the problem, probable cause, and treatment as its foremost goal and that a person can live up their fullest potential. The field continues to evolve in part because of the philosophy it was founded on with regards to not being a collection of static theorems but an evolving developing understanding of how to best address all forms of behavior deficits (McReynolds, 1996). Because of what Witmer accomplished for establishing and advancing mental health in clinics as well as in school settings, populations have access to appropriate care that is not subjective to physicians, academic, policing, or theology misinterpretations (McReynolds, 1996).
McReynolds, P. (1996). Lightner Witmer: A centennial tribute. American Psychologist, 51(3), 237–240. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.51.3.237. Retrieved from. Purdue Global Online Library.
For our Unit’s discussion post, I have chosen the prominent figure, Lightner Witmer. According to McReynolds (1996), Witmer had many contributions to the field of psychology both then and influences today’s interpretations of clinical practice.