Psychologists and psychotherapists impact our lives, shape the way we think, and act as experienced guides as we journey into unchartered territories. They are responsible for invaluable insights into the world of healing, innovative developments for growth, and they lay paths for empowerment. We have chosen to highlight some of the most influential psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and thinkers in history, giving a brief biography of their beginnings and their contributions to their profession.
Psychology began formally in 1879 with Wilhelm Wundt and the foundation of a laboratory for experimental study in Leipzig, Germany. But for centuries before, the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Indians, and Muslims practiced various forms of psychotherapy, attempting even then to explore the many facets of the mind. G. Stanley Hall was one of the first philosophers to introduce America to applied psychology, and it quickly spread to fields of law, industry, and business. At the same time, in Vienna, Sigmund Freud was beginning to gain recognition for his theories, which grew into modern day psychoanalysis.
Throughout the next century, multiple disciplines of psychology emerged, including behaviorism, neurobiology, linguistics, philosophy, and meditation. The most prominent and widely accepted form of psychology that was born during that time was cognitive science, resulting in numerous therapeutic techniques that are still employed today.
The majority of the psychologists represented on the following pages are men, as they were afforded more opportunities for education than women during the infancy of this field. In the last hundred years, however, women have been responsible for pioneering many of the advancements in psychology and their contributions are an integral part of the ever growing field of mental health. From Jung to Maslow, Adler to Ainsworth, many of the practitioners on these pages have long since left this world, but their work lives on. Others are still creating change today, offering their expertise and theories through education, clinical practice, and training.
If there's someone important you'd like us to consider adding to this page, please feel free to suggest your ideas.
Last updated: 06/22/2012