Experiential Psychology Case Study

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was born in the 1950’s in Southern California, the youngest of five siblings. At a young age, I was very interested in how human beings think. I remember the many times when my father and I played the “guessing game”… “What do you think of that person over there?” my father would ask me. These were typically people who were total strangers to us and were just people who we noticed in the general vicinity around us. Having never met these people before, I would answer my father’s questions based on some simple observation, saying something like, “Well, she seems like a nice person”, or, “They appear to be a little outspoken.” or perhaps, “They look happy.” My father did not negate or approve any of my answers but left the questions open-ended…show more content…
I took a number of psychology and sociology courses and obtained a social science Bachelor of Arts degree. One particularly empowering class was held at the Fullerton University and the class was called Experiential Psychology that was led by Dr. Gerald Lee Hershey. He began the first day of class by saying, “If you can demonstrate sufficient mastery over one word in the dictionary you will receive an “A” grade in this class”. As a 19-year-old student I listened very carefully because even though the class would help me know more about human behavior, I wanted that “A” grade.
I remembered the word he said: “The word was constructs .” I had no clue what professor Gerald Hersey was talking about even after he defined the meaning of the word constructs as: “assigning names to things that don’t exist.”
He lectured that there is no such thing as “a good person”, “that individual has a lot of money”, or “that person is smart.” I was confused about the word constructs for several weeks during the beginning part of the semester long class but eventually got the point and received an “A” grade in the class.
The point I learned from Dr. Hershey was that most words have assigned hidden reactive meanings that are based upon contrived agreements called constructs that often reside in the subconscious
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