What is Modern Psychology? How did it start? Is it a special type of psychology? We have so many questions when it comes to something we don’t know, and often times it’s hard to know where to start because of all the overwhelming amount of information we have today. When the topic was shown to me, I took a great interest in it. When I first started, the only thing I knew about Modern Psychology was the name. Through this paper I want to help you understand what Modern Psychology is from a Christian worldview.
The definition of psychology goes as follows 1) The scientific study of the human mind and it’s function. Esp, those affecting behavior in a given context 2) the mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group 3) The mental and emotional factors governing a situation or activity. (“ What is Modern Psychology-Modern Psychology Defined,” 2) The main goal in psychology is to understand individual people and groups. One way psychologist can do that is to establish principles.
Each principle has been established through research. Their end goal is for the health and well-being of every individual. “ What is Modern Psychology-Modern Psychology Defined,” 1) Though these definitions seem endless, they are not. In fact, the modern science of Psychology can be broken down into seven groups of thought. Each group is categorized by the major theories in the field of Psychology study: Biopsychology, Behavioral Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Evolutionary Psychology. (“ What is Modern Psychology-Modern Psychology Defined,” 2) The origins of psychology can be traced back to two different periods in history spanning 2,000 years apart.
This makes psychology one of the oldest scholarly practice, and one of the newest. One starting point we can trace back to is in the ancient philosophical writings. The problems written back then have come in a modern formal discipline known as psychology. The study of philosophy can be traced back to the time of Plato and Aristotle. Many of the problems which confuses them about human behaviour and nature still complex the minds of psychologists today. ( Shultz, 3 ) Philosophers studied human nature by hypothesizing, apprehending, and abstracting based on personal experiences.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, philosophers started to apply the methods and tools used in the physical and biological sciences. They applied these tools and methods to studying the human nature. But to understand the complex issues that define and divide psychology today, we need to look back at the nineteenth century. In that age, psychology became an autonomous discipline with clear methods of inquiry and theoretical rationales. ( Shultz, 3 ) Nineteenth century physiologists were studying the mechanisms elemental mental processes.
Their mode of study was different than that of the philosophers. Ironically, the philosophers were making headroom for experimental attacks on the human mind which was a problem, however, the philosophers were also approaching similar problems. There was, however, a collaboration between the two that produced a new area of study. This new study earned its on own identity and stature. ( Shultz, 4) Ancient Greeks were among the leading front-runners for psychology. From the Greeks emerged Aristotle. Aristotle was one of the leading men to establish foundations in the history of psychology.
Aritsotle psychology was convoluted with his philosophy. (Shuttleworth, 2) It has been said that Aritsotle’s psychology proposed the idea that the mind was the reason for existence and function of the body. He believed that both the mind and reason could exist outside of the body. That thought was supported through his zoology that there are three defining life: the plant soul, the animal soul, and the human soul. He believed this was why humans could reason and create. He also believed that desire and reason were the determined actions between impulse and urges.
It was through his psychology the idea of having a balance between desire and reason or else the imbalance would lead to bad actions, came into prominence. (Shuttleworth, 3) Sigmund Freud is considered a groundbreaking man. Not only did he develop new techniques for comprehending human behavior, but through his work work psychoanalysis ( a study that focuses on the unconscious aspects of personality ) was born. ( Rana, 1,2 ) He described the mind like a tip of an iceberg, there is conscious which we are aware of, but even more unconsciousness that we don’t know about.
He breaks down the mind into 3 parts: id, ego, and the superego. ( Rana, 2 ) He believed that the development and the disparity of these three things could determine someone’s behavior in a certain situation, which can ultimately lead to the development of someone’s personality. For him, psychoanalysis was defined by two things: the development of the humans phsycosexual years we go through as children, and the development of defense mechanisms. ( Rana, 2,3) Psychoanalysis can also be used in therapy.
This is when the psychologist observes the person that is talking to determine the emotions and behaviors that the individual may not have realized they were feeling. ( Rana, 3 ) Charles Darwin’s philosophy had a major impact in the sciences. He hypothesized that man and animals have a common ancestor. For a long time, scientists had done research on animals and made inferences to humans, but after Darwin posed his theory, scientists made inferences to human nature based on how humans study, their emotions, and the interactions they have with other humans based on observations and experiemnts with animals.
Darwin proposed that humans and animals have many things in common, which lead to comparative psychology increasing in the 1900s and 2000s. ( Tanner, 1) His theories had a major impact on psychology. Much of the psychology today has firm biological underpinnings, which can be traced back to Darwin. His views have impacted both ethological psychology and evolutionary psychology. ( Tanner, 2 ) Though many people from all different worldviews would agree with some aspects of modern psychology, the worldview that would fully support it is Secularism.
Many points of modern psychology would be in alignment with Secularism. For example, a secularists believes in evolution, and that we evolved from monkeys. For some aspects of modern psychology, scientists try to rationalize through natural selection, naturalism, and materialism to try to explain why humans act and think the way we do. But, Modern Psychology isn’t just meant to be for one worldview. Many Christians have been using the methods of modern psychology in their own lives to bring people to the Lord.
For example, my Uncle Rodger. He is a doctor of psychology and applies it in his everyday life. He is able to understand any person’s psychological behavior, and be able to reason with them using their own thinking process. When he does this, he is able to help people understand their need for a savior, and help people overcome the addictions they may be facing. Every idea has its share of effects and consequences. Modern Psychology, though it can be useful, has opened many doors of consequences. The first consequence is pornography.
Through Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, many have come to understand sex, if used properly, can be an asset. Sigmund believe that children go through psychosexual stages. He believed that there are five stages in which children go through: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latent, and Genital. The genital stage is when children realize their desire for sexual intercourse. It is also believed that there could be mental abnormalities if the stages aren’t completely filled. ( McLeod, 4 ) One way to make sure that they can be mentally normal, is to let the kids have sex when they hit the genital stage.
Though not all parents agree, society has been pushing its ideas into the home by making condoms appeal to the teenage demographic, making it appear on the shows they watch, and making pornography accessible to them through youtube or through their websites. What this has done, is make a sex crave culture, mostly by young adults and teens. Society has made it socially acceptable, and have tried to reinforce it. Another consequence of modern psychology is that it has opened the flood gate to atheism. Through Darwin’s ideas, evolution has become integrated with modern psychology.
To many people, you can’t have a complete view of modern psychology unless you believe in ALL of its aspects. Many psychologists and scientists are trying to prove the theory of evolution. After all, according to modern psychology natural selection and evolution have been attributed to the reason why we are a modern society. Because of this view, a need for a God becomes irrelevant and superstitious. Though modern psychology has shaped our cultural into a sex driven, godless society, there is good in modern psychology. A good aspect of modern psychology is how we have tried to understand a person’s behavior, and how we can help them.
For example, an autistic person back in the 1800s would’ve been viewed as a crazy person, but today we are able to recognize the disease and help the person be able to understand and reason, though not in the way a normal person could. In talk back therapy sessions, psychologists are able to listen to the person, understand their thought pattern, and help them with their needs mentally or emotionally. A way this has helped the Christian community is that if a young man with homosexual feelings came in and sought help, we could help him understand the root problem, and be able to help the young man walk back to the way of the Lord.
Overall, I personally find Modern Psychology very fascinating. Throughout this study, I’ve been able to find what I agree and disagree with in Modern Psychology. I believe that Modern Psychology is good and can help us gain insight to mankind in a way that we haven’t been able to before. I also believe that, Modern Psychology has been corrupted with people who want nothing to do with God so they take Psychology and rid it of any religious implications. It is my hope to see this become an even bigger tool in evangelism.