Harry Stack Sullivan
1892-1948

SULLIVAN
INTERPERSONAL
THEORY
Respond Efficiently to Different
Behavior
Sullivan’s CORE IDEAS
First American to construct a Comprehensive
Personality Theory
Emphasizes childhood friendships in t...
Sullivan’s Background
 Sullivan was born in 1892 in Norwich, New
 York son of a poor working man and
the

farmer
 He gr...
Tensions


potentially for action or actions themselves (i.e., energy
transformations) that may not be experienced in awa...
Anxiety
anxiety is disjunctive and calls for no consistent actions for its
relief.
 Anxiety is the chief disruptive
force...
Energy Transformation
Tensions that are transformed into actions, either overt
or  Needs to represent an imbalance betwee...
3 Major Dynamisms
3 Self Personifications
7 Developmental Stages
Abnormality
Concept of Humanity

Anxiety & Energy Transfo...
DYNAMISM
 Typical

behavior
patterns that
characterize a person
throughout a lifetime.



The ways in which an
individua...


wishing evil to others.



Disjunctive destructive patterns of
behavior related to malevolence.


Feeling of living a...


Conjunctive beneficial patterns of
behavior such as intimacy and the selfsystem.



Grows out of early needs for
tend...


Isolating patterns of behavior that are
unrelated to interpersonal behavior
(e.g., lust).


Self-centered needs



Ba...




Representations of self and
other



Mental images that we acquire
during development to help us
understand ourselv...


grows from experiences of punishment and
disapproval



Represents those aspects of the self that are
considered negat...





results from experiences with reward and
approval
 Experiences associated with
tenderness and intimacy
Everything...


anxiety provoking experiences that invoke
security operations may become dissociated
from self to form the not-me.


S...
7 Developmental
Stages



Each stage involves specific
interpersonal challenges or tasks,
and specific types of interpers...
A. Infancy
Tenderness from mothering one
Learns anxiety from the mother through
empathy
B. Childhood
Imaginary playmate (i...
F. Late Adolescence
Feel both intimacy and lust toward the
same person


Learn how to live in the adult world



Discove...
 MENTAL




DISORDERS

All mental disorders have an
interpersonal origin and can be
understood only with reference to t...
 Sullivan

saw personality as being largely formed
from interpersonal relations.


Insisted that humans have no existenc...
Sullivan interpersonal theory
Sullivan interpersonal theory
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Sullivan interpersonal theory

  1. 1. Harry Stack Sullivan 1892-1948 SULLIVAN INTERPERSONAL THEORY Respond Efficiently to Different Behavior
  2. 2. Sullivan’s CORE IDEAS First American to construct a Comprehensive Personality Theory Emphasizes childhood friendships in the formation of personality - Chumship, intimacy, & Security Personality is shaped from our relationships with others Personality can never be isolated from the complex of interpersonal relations in which the person lives - i.e., Personality cannot be separated from our social worlds
  3. 3. Sullivan’s Background  Sullivan was born in 1892 in Norwich, New  York son of a poor working man and the farmer  He grew up isolated, and was a loner  Obtained his MD at 25 from a small Chicago medical school, then was a psychiatrist at a mental hospital in Maryland  Viewed as a ―clinical wizard‖ in the treatment of schizophrenia  Never Married  He moved from obscurity to fame in 8 years
  4. 4. Tensions  potentially for action or actions themselves (i.e., energy transformations) that may not be experienced in awareness.  Needs  Tensions brought on by a biological imbalance between the person and the physiochemical environment, both inside and outside the organism.  Can be physiological or interpersonal  The most basic interpersonal need is that of tenderness.
  5. 5. Anxiety anxiety is disjunctive and calls for no consistent actions for its relief.  Anxiety is the chief disruptive force blocking our development of good interpersonal relations.
  6. 6. Energy Transformation Tensions that are transformed into actions, either overt or  Needs to represent an imbalance between biology and the covert. environment that signal the individual to engage in action.
  7. 7. 3 Major Dynamisms 3 Self Personifications 7 Developmental Stages Abnormality Concept of Humanity Anxiety & Energy Transformations
  8. 8. DYNAMISM  Typical behavior patterns that characterize a person throughout a lifetime.  The ways in which an individual typically meets his or her needs or deals with anxiety DYNAMISM S Disjunctive/malevolent – negative interpersonal behavior Conjunctive/ intimacy – positive interpersonal behavior Isolating/ Lust – unrelated to interpersonal
  9. 9.  wishing evil to others.  Disjunctive destructive patterns of behavior related to malevolence.  Feeling of living among one„s enemies  Arises around age 2 or 3  Caused by parental neglect or rejection
  10. 10.  Conjunctive beneficial patterns of behavior such as intimacy and the selfsystem.   Grows out of early needs for tenderness Emerges in the “chumship”   Prepubescent best friend relationship with a peer of equal status Decreases anxiety and loneliness
  11. 11.  Isolating patterns of behavior that are unrelated to interpersonal behavior (e.g., lust).  Self-centered needs  Based largely on sexual gratification
  12. 12.   Representations of self and other  Mental images that we acquire during development to help us understand ourselves and the world Personifications help maintain emotional equilibrium and reduce anxiety  Separation of the good vs. bad Self Personifications The Bad Me  A cognitive approach to understanding personality. The Good Me The Not Me PERSONIFICATIONS
  13. 13.  grows from experiences of punishment and disapproval  Represents those aspects of the self that are considered negative and hidden from others and possibly the self.  Anxiety results from recognition of the bad me   Recalling an embarrassing moment a past action Guilt about
  14. 14.    results from experiences with reward and approval  Experiences associated with tenderness and intimacy Everything we like about ourselves The part of us we share with others and prefer to focus on because it produces no anxiety  Persona ?
  15. 15.  anxiety provoking experiences that invoke security operations may become dissociated from self to form the not-me.  Security operations = Sullivan„s concept of defense mechanisms  Experiences that are denied  Experiences that are kept out of awareness and repressed  Acknowledging not-me experiences creates high anxiety/ negative emotion.
  16. 16. 7 Developmental Stages  Each stage involves specific interpersonal challenges or tasks, and specific types of interpersonal relationships  Personality change is most likely during the transitions between stages  Personality continues to evolve from infancy through adulthood Infancy Childhood Juvenile Era Preadolescence Early Adolescence Late Adolescence Adulthood STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
  17. 17. A. Infancy Tenderness from mothering one Learns anxiety from the mother through empathy B. Childhood Imaginary playmate (i.e., eidetic  Practice social personification) relations/ rehearsal  Safe, secure relationships to practice with no threat of negative consequences C. Juvenile Era Need for peers of equal status  Children learn how to compete, compromise, and cooperate.
  18. 18. F. Late Adolescence Feel both intimacy and lust toward the same person  Learn how to live in the adult world  Discovery of self G. Adulthood Person establishes a stable relationship with a significant other person.
  19. 19.  MENTAL   DISORDERS All mental disorders have an interpersonal origin and can be understood only with reference to the person„s social environment. Interpersonal theories emerge in 1980„s and 1990„s  Psychotherapy  Promoted Interpersonal Psychotherapy  Pioneered the notion of the therapist as a participant observer. Originated Group Psychotherapy  ABNORMALITY
  20. 20.  Sullivan saw personality as being largely formed from interpersonal relations.  Insisted that humans have no existence outside the interpersonal situation.  Theory emphasizes:  social influences over biological ones;  Rates high on unconscious determinants,  average on free choice, optimism, and causality,  and low on uniqueness CONCEPT OF HUMANITY
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