Examining the Scientist – Practitioner Divide in Psychology A Transactional Analysis Typology of Scientists

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Patrick Whitehead


Using transactional analysis models of ego states (Berne 1961, 1964), the author proposes a typology of scientists and diagrams twelve types based on integrated ego states, contaminated Adult, and single ego state with dual exclusion. The typology is presented as the latest in what could be called the psychology of science, whose exemplars include Thomas Kuhn (1962/2012) and Abraham Maslow (1969). Psychology of science is differentiated from philosophy and theory of science, and existing research into the personality of scientists is explored. Of major importance is the apparent divide between scientist and practitioner in clinical and counselling psychologies.

Based on Feyerabend’s (1970) infamous quip about science that “anything goes”, the author shows how using a proposed  transactional analysis of scientist types, Feyerabend’s comment can be understood three ways—Parent: “Scientists shouldn’t be so serious”; Adult: “It seems that anything goes”; and Child: “No rules!” It is only in their integration (P – A – C) that Feyerabend’s meaning can be understood. So, too, for the psychological practitioner, whose practice cannot be divorced from its scientific foundations. The author concludes by using the proposed typology to suggest how the same typology applied to practitioners may explain their responses to research.

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How to Cite
Whitehead, P. (2020). Examining the Scientist – Practitioner Divide in Psychology. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research & Practice, 11(2), 3-13. https://doi.org/10.29044/v11i2p3
Author Biography

Patrick Whitehead

Associate professor of psychology at Albany State University.


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