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Some Observations on the Organization of Personality

changes have for the individual. We are admitted freely into the backstage of the
person's living
where we can observe from within some of the dramas of internal change, which are
often far
more compelling and moving than the drama which is presented on the stage viewed by
the
public. Only a novelist or a poet could do justice to the deep struggles which we are
permitted
to observe from within the client's own world of reality.
This rare opportunity to observe so directly and so clearly the inner dynamics of
personality is a
learning experience of the deepest sort for the clinician. Most of clinical psychology and
psychiatry involves judgments about the individual, judgments which must, of necessity,
be
based on some framework brought to the situation by the clinician. To try continually to
see and
think with the individual, as in client-centered therapy, is a mindstretching experience in
which
learning goes on apace because the clinician brings to the interview no pre-determined
yardstick by which to judge the material.
I wish in this paper to try to bring you some of the clinical observations which we have
made as
we have repeatedly peered through these psychological windows into personality, and to
raise
with you some of the questions about the organization of personality which these
observations
have forced upon us. I shall not attempt to present these observations in logical order,
but
rather in the order in which they impressed themselves upon our notice. What I shall
offer is not
a series of research findings, but only the first step in that process of gradual
approximation
which we call science, a description of some observed phenomena which appear to be
significant, and some highly tentative explanations of these phenomena.
The Relation of the Organized Perceptual Field to Behavior
One simple observation, which is repeated over and over again in each successful
therapeutic
case, seems to have rather deep theoretical implications. It is that as changes occur in
the
perception of self and in the perception of reality, changes occur in behavior. In therapy,
these
perceptual changes are more often concerned with the self than with the external world.
Hence
we find in therapy that as the perception of self alters, behavior alters. Perhaps an
illustration
will indicate the type of observation upon which this statement is based.
A young woman, a graduate student whom we shall call Miss Vib, came in for nine
interviews. If
we compare the first interview with the last, striking changes are evident. Perhaps some
features of this change may be conveyed by taking from the first and last interviews all
the
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