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James Broderick, PhD, ABPP Board Certified in Clinical Psychology

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Inspired by the words of Einstein, the goal of this text is not to view psychology and history from the same thinking that has been unable to solve some of the most critical problems in history. The text is based on the belief that history becomes more deeply meaningful when it is experienced by active engagement, beyond reflective study. History comes alive when there is awareness that history lives within each human being, and when history is personally engaging, it becomes transformative because history is not just about the past, but the present and the future.

Having taught a history and systems course for over 12 years, I have been unable to find a text that inspired students to see themselves as active participants in a dynamic and emancipatory historic process. I wanted them to reject the belief that history is over because, in many ways, it is just beginning as one looks at the current state of a world that seems unable to learn from history. My hope is that each chapter will be approached from the Einstein spirit to think differently, to suspend previously held biases because all the great thinkers in psychology wanted to make a unique and transformative contribution and were often frustrated toward the end of their lives because their vision appeared unattainable.

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Something changed dramatically when I brought symbols to my history and systems classes. Students began to see deeper meaning in the historic events in psychology. There was an awareness that history was beyond understanding great visionaries or their theories. Symbols spoke to a connection beyond American ethnocentrism, a link to the universal experience of being human. This inspired my vision for a different textbook that would guide the reader through symbolic representations of psychological theories. This led to Danuta Bennett, a visual artist and active member of the artistic community in Santa Barbara, California. Danuta’s artwork continually moves between the abstract and realistic styles. Usage of visual metaphor is a key aspect of her artistic expression and a tool for communicating complex ideas or emotions.

Danuta has been an active participant in the local psychological world, a cofounder of the Aeolian Center for Psychotherapy and Creativity that provides lectures and workshops with a focus on psychology and the arts. Danuta is the creator of the symbolic artwork and digital collages throughout the text. For three years, both the author and the artist have been inspired by how symbols changed our understanding of the history of psychology and created the possibility for personal transformation.