Method and Content in Personality Assessment and Psychobiography


Book Pages: 294 Illustrations: Published: December 1989

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How can we know what another human being is like in some meaningful, dynamic way? Can we distill the signature-like features of an individual personality? What is the relationship between personal experience and our attempts to describe the person who has that experience?
This work by a highly respected senior psychologist is an effort to answer these questions. Irving E. Alexander presents a case for considering the personal narrative of a human life as the most compelling aspect of that life to be decoded and understood. In part a critique of an exclusive reliance on general theories about the development of personality and ways of knowing based primarily on comparison with others, Personology is illustrated with material drawn from the lives, personal writings, and theories of Freud, Jung, and Sullivan. Alexander develops new insights into the lives of these men and offers methods and guidelines for investigating and teaching personology and psychobiography.


“[Personology] is fascinating reading. . . . It sheds valuable new light on Freud, and Jung, and their relationship, and brilliantly explores a number of central issues in the life of Harry Stack Sullivan. Its outline of methodological guidelines in personality assessment and psychobiography in Chapter 1 is an outstanding summary of a lifetime of guides to clinical inference . . . . It does more than any book I know of in relating general principles of personality assessment to the study of individual lives and the field of psychobiography.” — William McKinley Runyon

“A splendid book. . . . It will be immediately recognized as a leading example of scholarship in this vein, unique in providing explicit guidelines on how to do it, and valuable examples of how it is done. . . . [This work] stands alone in its close intensive look at three of the greatest originators, Freud, Jung, and Sullivan.” — M. Brewster Smith


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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1020-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-0996-3
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