Importance of Mental Hygiene Study
Importance of Mental Hygiene Study
Accepting the longitudinal point of view mentioned above it is necessary that one turn to the life history of the individual and, from the confusing mass of impressions and happenings there presented, attempt to evolve some scheme for the systematic analysis and evaluation of human behaviour.
But the life history of one individual alone is not enough, to attain reliable generalizations the method must be such that the findings concerning the adjustment processes for one individual may be significantly compared with those of others.
When one contemplates studying the life of an individual, the phenomenon presents itself as a succession of events beginning, shall w e say, at birth, and extending in an unbroken sequence until death .
But even these end points in the series are artifacts, for at the beginning there must be inserted those earlier events of conception and pre natal life, and behind these, of the transmission of life from the germ plasm of the parents And similarly, at least of the individual with offspring, one cannot strictly say that the life his come to an end w hen physical death overtakes him since he has already begotten a new life in the process We have thus in order to commence, to make a selection, either of a single life-span or some portion thereof, and various considerations may and will arise to determine one’s selection for purposes of concrete study prevailed .
We have, of course, no desire to belittle the importance of heredity in man with respect to points that have been scientifically demonstrated, but in the interests of accurate investigation as well as of mental hygiene problems we strongly protest against those claims of either every or layman which attribute any fruit to the family tree that has not actually been demonstrated to belong there Mere over belief in this connection on the part of parents or relatives may become too paralyzing as an environmental influence for the point to be allowed to pass without challenge In fairness, the burden of proof, we believe, should be made to rest with the advocates who advance the doctrine In practice, at any rate, one has to take for granted the equipment of the individual as presented at birth and search for those environmental factors which then control the outcome.
If however, we are liberated from the bondage of biological determinism, we must beware lest v e fall victims to the new est idols of the cave, that type of psychological determinism. which sees in the early life of the child decisive episodes which are to govern his whole later Life This view of the determining significance of early experience is much,. in vogue at present, even with those who most loudly decry the biological form of determinism It is important to ask how this view has arisen and what evidence is advanced to substantiate it.
Undoubtedly the claims of Freud m regard to psychic traumata of early childhood as causes of adult neuroses have largely fostered a rather uncritical assumption in regard to the form-hive influences of early childhood .
But the Freudian method is scarcely susceptible of confirmation or proof If one does not arrive at their findings or conclusions, it is said to be because one is not fully initiated into the proper technique, or perhaps because one first requires to be analysed oneself But the facts of case analyses by this procedure are very difficult to verify or interpret Uncover a patient’s experience by what means you w ill hypnotism, dream analysis, free association , select some incident and suggest to the patient that that occurrence.
For the sake of special traits or capacities Accepting from the biologists the problematical character of the inheritance of most physical characteristics in man, it must be recognised that on the psychological side the positive evidence completely vanishes, for example, IN hen we turn to traits of character—temper, selfishness, honesty., and the like These and other complex patterns of behavior cannot be regarded as inherited unit characteristics, rather they are built up through the action and interaction of the individual with his environment.
Our reasons for stressing the dangers of misconception regarding doctrines of heredity in connection mental hygiene study are not merely theoretical but intensely practical Frequently there has come to our notice m consultation the relief expressed by parents on being assured that his or her belief in the hereditary basis of their child’s behavior is not founded on scientific fact.
Their whole attitude towards the child and the situation is often radically modified by this elementary piece of information bringing optimism and co operation where on 13 hopelessness had is the clue to his disorder, and, provided he believes you, this may do as w ell as any other instrument to effect a change in his outlook and symptoms .
In this approach there is no say of guaranteeing that the actual train of causes in the patient s life is faithfully portrayed in the analyst s reconstruction, or of knowing exactly what mental processes are not brought into operation, or Nether an episode of the sort alleged NI as actually responsible for the consequences attributed fo it by the analyst In fact, belief, rather than the ordinarily accepted process of scientific verification, is herd the basis of appeal in distinction from this, unless one can demonstrate a causal series not hypothetical by this type of backward tracing, but followed form and step by step through a history of the recorded observable facts of developmental, one cannot hope for anything approaching proof of the significance of particular
In thus emphasizing the genetic or developmental approach for purposes of mental hygiene study, we wish to impress that not merely one part, either early or late, but rather the IA hole life cycle must ultunately be the objectne But in practice this does not mean that special segments should not be selected for examination Indeed this becomes an obvious necessity, because an attempt to deal with the whole leads only to confusion and superficiality How best to segment the life-span of the individual, how ever, for study, is a question Probably the tune stock basis in terms of years, or, as we mentioned above, of decades for the later portion is not an adequate plan of division because of the varying’rates of development and the gross chronological displacements of crucial periods in the lives of different individuals .
The critical points in auto genetic development do not greatly alter throughout the centuries, even though we may find newer if less richly colored language for their description rims ore possible basis of demarcation might be.
The pre-school period
The school age
Parenthood Middle life Old age
Each such stage has its characteristic problems, and the successful adjustment during one stage is the best guarantee of a corresponding success for the individual in the next From this point of view , as was said before, the very priority of the first period gives it unique importance Thus it is less likely, though riot impossible, for a person with a maladjusted childhood to be happy and serene in later life than it is for one who early learned adequately to adjust himself Nevertheless the complexion of events may at any time be changed by the mcalculables of environmental influences It is, how else the interrelation of the series and the importance of giving due w eight to each part that must be emphasized as the fundamental note of the genetic approach.
Importance of Mental Hygiene Study Article Source is : Parents and the Pre School Child by Wiliam E Blatz