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April 13: CIA Mind Control — and Sidney Gottlieb

The Central Intelligence Agency launched MK-Ultra, a covert investigation into the behavioral manipulation of human beings through drugs, hypnosis, abuse, sensory deprivation, and torture on this date in 1953. The program involved 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies, and was headed for more than two decades by Sidney Gottlieb (born […]

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March 30: Psychoanalysis for Kids

Melanie Klein, the first person to use traditional psychoanalysis with young children, was born in Austria on this date in 1882. Klein became a psychoanalyst after World War I and moved to Great Britain in 1926, where she remained until her death in 1960. She was a lay psychoanalyst, without academic degrees, in a field […]

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March 22: A Father of Psychopharmacology

Nathan S. Kline, a psychiatrist credited with founding the field of psychopharmacology, was born on this date in 1916. In 1953, he explored the use of reserpine, a new tranquilizer, to treat schizophrenia. He also pioneered in using lithium as an anti-depressant. Kline’s efforts to treat medically two of the major categories of mental illness […]

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May 13: Preventing Suicide

Edwin S. Shneidman, a psychologist who co-founded America’s first comprehensive suicide prevention center in Los Angeles, was born in York, Pennsylvania on this date in 1918. Shneidman was a pioneer in suicide prevention at a time when the topic was generally shunned. When he founded the Los Angeles center in 1958, there was no such […]

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March 24: Wilhelm Reich

Radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who tried to integrate Freudian and Marxist theory but ended his career pursuing pseudoscientific theories and being harassed and ultimately imprisoned by the U.S. government, was born in Galicia on this date in 1897. Reich worked with Sigmund Freud in the 1920s and believed the social conditions in which people lived […]

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December 7: Noam Chomsky

Linguist, philosopher, and political radical Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1928. A professor at MIT for 55 years and the author of more than 100 books, Chomsky opened up a modern understanding of linguistics as a branch of cognitive psychology, with insights about language leading to insights about human nature […]

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September 23: Freud’s Last Day

After suffering multiple surgeries over the course of sixteen years for cancer of the jaw, Sigmund Freud committed suicide with morphine injections in London on this date in 1939, with the help of a friend, Max Schur. The pioneer of psychoanalysis and a “paradigm shifter” of Western culture at large, Freud began his career as […]

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Relational Therapy and the Feminist Movement

The Personal Is, Indeed, Political by Susan Gutwill “First become a blessing to yourself that you may be a blessing to others.”  -Samson Raphael Hirsch For thirty years now, whenever I enter my office, I am grateful to be involved in my profession. I see relational psychoanalytic thinking and practice as a path of liberation, […]

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May 24: A Different Voice

Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development was published on this date in 1982. The book asserted that women’s moral and psychological sensibilities are shaped by women’s oppression and are also concretely different from men’s. Whereas men tend to think in terms of rules, hierarchy, justice, and individuation, women tend to […]

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March 16: Amos Tversky

Psychologist Amos Tversky, a pioneer of cognitive science who helped establish the foundations of behavioral economics, was born on this date in 1937 in Haifa, Israel. Tversky and his longtime collaborator, Daniel Kahneman, charted the cognitive biases and judgment patterns of human beings, particularly regarding risk and ambiguity, and helped explain why people sometimes make […]

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