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Encountering America: Humanistic Psychology, Sixties Culture, and the Shaping of the Modern Self Paperback – December 26, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (December 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061834769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061834769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Spot-on reporting, an unbiased presentation, and an admirable attention to detail make this a valuable resource for psychologists and scholars of American counterculture movements. -Publisher's Weekly


Encountering America weaves together a tapestry and history of a humane ideal for living that continues to define our societal world view. It is a work of deep cultural understanding that breaks down complex issues in a coherent manner, bursting with oversized personalities and thought-provoking ideas. - Shelf Awareness

Jessica Grogan reveals the seminal, but frequently overlooked, influence of the postwar humanistic psychology movement in creating what is sometimes described as today's "therapy culture," which includes employee retreats, seminars on sensitivity training, the proliferation of support groups and more....
"Encountering America" is an illuminating cultural history.
Kirkus Review 

Encountering America weaves together a tapestry and history of a humane ideal for living that continues to define our societal world view. It is a work of deep cultural understanding that breaks down complex issues in a coherent manner, bursting with oversized personalities and thought-provoking ideas.” (Shelf Awareness)

“Spot-on reporting, an unbiased presentation, and an admirable attention to detail make this a valuable resource for psychologists and scholars of American counterculture movements.” (Publishers Weekly)

“An illuminating cultural history.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Clear and insightful book…Grogan’s well-written and well-researched book is as much a cultural study as it is a psychological one. While mapping the movement’s rise and decline, she makes a case for its legacy.” (Pasatiempo)

“[A] disciplined and persuasive defense of the movement... Grogan eloquently insists that humanistic psychology subtly revolutionized Americans’ conception of the self and the role of therapy.” (New York Times Book Review)

About the Author

Jessica Grogan has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has taught courses on American history, culture, and psychology at Southwestern University, the University of Texas, and Mount Holyoke College. This is her first book.


More About the Author

Jessica Grogan, PhD is the author of Encountering America: Humanistic Psychology, Sixties Culture, and the Shaping of the Modern Self (January 2013, Harper Perennial). After majoring in psychology at Vassar college, she performed her graduate work at the University of Texas and Texas State in American studies and professional counseling. She has taught courses on American history, sixties culture, and psychology at Southwestern University, the University of Texas, and Mount Holyoke College.

Grogan's research covers a range of topics related to psychology and American culture. She has presented papers on humanistic psychology, American psychotherapy, psychedelics, Alcoholics Anonymous, the philosophy of psychological science, and the relationship of psychology to women's liberation and civil rights for the American Studies Association, the American Historical Association, Cheiron International Association for the History of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the American Psychology Association.

Her personal website is jessicagrogan.com.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dMick on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ever wonder what happened to the human potential movement with its encounter groups, drug experimentation, sexual liberation and flower power? Did you think that the counterculture would exert sustained influence in the culture only to find that the close of the Vietnam era and the hard right turn of Ronald Reagan's election eliminated all vestiges?

Reports of the death of the most widely reported cultural movements of the 60s and 70s are somewhat exaggerated, and encountering America is a remarkable history detailing the founding, influence and apparent demise of humanistic psychology, a central thread of the Vietnam era.

Exhaustively researched and tightly written, this account makes it clear that the important contributions of the human potential movement are today continuing to inform and influence relationships between people and groups.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookeater on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Encountering America puts an important era into focus through in-depth research and excellent story telling. It's compelling for anyone interested in American intellectual history, and gives fresh insights into many of the practices we take for granted today. Corporate retreats, finding meaning at work, needing to have a soulmate and friend in one's spouse are all ideas stemming from this era. Really interesting!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FredM on February 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Those of us who lived through the cultural changes of the 1960's and 1970's will recognize the names Abraham Maslow,
Rollo May, Carl Rogers and, of course, Timothy Leary. They were the leaders of a popular movement known as humanistic psychology. It penetrated the popular psyche as no movement ever had. May's book "Love and Will," written in 1969, was an instant best seller. Jessica Grogan has provided us with a definitive and well-written account of this period. Her scholarship is impeccable. Her book is a must read for those who were affected by this movement and who perhaps participated in encounter groups or Erhard seminar training. I can also see this book as a valuable resource for professors teaching psychology or cultural history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Niela Miller on June 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
It was enthralling to read a well-balanced history of the movement I grew up in and which influenced the direction of my career. It was particularly interesting to me to read about the behind-the-scenes arguments re science vs. empiricism and I am grateful that there are organizations (eg Institute of Noetic Sciences) that take a both-and approach rather than either-or. The humanistic-existential zeitgeist is alive and well today. One of the few disappointments for me was the -bad boy- description of Fritz Perls and not enough about the contributions he and Gestalt therapy/psychology have made to the culture. I would also have liked to see a link made between the current field of Emotional Intelligence and its roots in the work of the pioneers of the human potential movement. Even so,this book has been a long time in coming and will be of great value to anyone interested in the evolution of our culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Don Blohowiak, PhD on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Review of "Encountering America"

Quick Take: This book has scholarly depth and provenance, with a style that can be easily and pleasurably read by most anyone interested in this fascinating, and typically mischaracterized, chapter of Americana.

DEPTH REVIEW
Humanistic psychology is as much philosophy as theory, as much social protest as academic discipline. Humanistic psychology arose in the United States (its major leaders had ties to the American Midwest) as a self-proclaimed "movement." Humanistic psychology evolved at a very particular time -- following World War II, reaching its peak during the Cold War amid the heat of the civil rights struggle.

"Encountering America" skillfully weaves these contextual factors, and many other details, into a complex but very readable narrative describing the history of humanistic psychology. Dr. Jessica Grogan offers us a credible and valid interpretation of the history, import, and lasting legacy of humanistic psychology.

Grogan's work is grounded by *hundreds* of endnotes; she assembled an impressive research foundation for her historical account and analysis based on a deep literature review, archival research, and interviews with primary sources.

In recounting the history of humanistic psychology, Grogan delivers a stellar, sweeping scholarly review. Dr. Grogan draws on many sources, published and not. All the expected suspects show up: Rogers, Maslow, May, Allport, Fromm, Murray, Goldstein. Delightfully, Grogan also pays attention to some lesser known, but equally important figures of the era: Tony Sutich, Charlotte Bühler, Clark Moustakas, Sidney Jourard, George A. Kelly, Fred Massarik, Floyd Matson.
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