My Influences at Harvard & at Menninger’s

Professor Robert W. White guided my eight years of graduate study at Harvard, from my first year to my last when he read my Ph.D. dissertation and informally awarded me a “Summa cum laude” [“with the highest distinction”] for my career at Harvard. I was privileged to be the co-author on the following entry in the Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, Springer, concerning my Harvard Professor: White, Robert W.

Professor White introduced me to his own mentor at Harvard - Henry Alexander Murray, M.D., Ph.D. I got to know him and his wife Nina well. He is famous for inventing with his colleague, Christiana Morgan, a widely used Projective Personality Test [the T.A.T., the Thematic Apperception Test]. The following link provides more information about his accomplishments:

Professor Murray hired Erik Homburger Erikson to work at Harvard originally in 1933. Professor White later championed Erikson’s appointment in 1960 to become a Professor of Human Development at Harvard. I participated in a Tutorial with Professor Erikson, studying his famous Psychosocial Developmental Stages throughout the life cycle. For more on this Harvard Professor of mine, please see the following.

The Menninger Family has played a vital role in the evolution of psychiatry and clinical psychology in the U.S.A. Please see the following for a summary of how the family has contributed so much.

It was my privilege to attend the “Colloquium with Dr. Karl” during my training at Menninger’s. Karl Augustus Menninger, M.D. was both an iconic and iconoclastic figure in American psychiatry and psychology. It was he who first invited Dr. Rapaport as a Clinical Psychologist to conduct what was then called “medical psychotherapy” [and at that time restricted to physicians as a method of treating emotionally disturbed patients]. This allowed Dr. Rapaport to conduct psychotherapy with individuals so that his Psychological Test Reports could be more helpful when it came to “Treatment Implications of the Test Findings.” The more Dr. Rapaport increased his experience as a psychotherapist, the more useful his Test Reports became to the psychiatrists treating patients.

Among Dr. Karl Menninger’s diverse publications, his landmark book The Crime of Punishment, originally published in 1966, became crucial for all those involved in crime prevention. It is well known among those attorneys involved with Criminal Law cases.

I was most fortunate to have Dr. Karl as one of my mentors during my training. Here is a reference to more information about Dr. Karl Menninger.

It should be noted that Dr. Karl A. Menninger hired the Jewish Hungarian psychologist who was fleeing Hitler’s persecution to head up efforts in using Psychological Testing with individuals. His name was David Rapaport, Ph.D.

He became the First Author of a classic work on Psychological Testing entitled Diagnostic Psychological Testing. His co-authors were the psychiatrist Merton M. Gill, M.D. and Roy Schafer who was pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology. The work stresses how important the relationship is between the tester and the client as they collaborate in unison to better understand the psychological functioning of the client. It emphasizes the usefulness of using a battery or collection of psychological tests instead of depending just on one test. The emphatic finding of this “Bible” of Psychological Testing is that it is ultimately the “mind of the psychologist” which is the best and most sensitive “tool” to understand a fellow human being. The two volume work was condensed into one by Robert R. Holt, Ph.D. and this Revised Edition was published in 1968.

The stature of David Rapaport’s contributions to the field can be seen in the 943 pages of The Collected Papers of David Rapaport, edited by Merton M. Gill, M.D. (NY: Basic Books, 1967). What is especially noteworthy is that he died at the young age of 49! The psychological testing tradition in which I was trained at Menninger’s is called simply, “The Rapaport Tradition.” Please see the following for more information about this Titan of Psychological Testing.

Perhaps the most famous of David Rapaport’s students is his co-author, Roy Schafer, Ph.D. He was the “apprentice” to the “Master” (Dr. David Rapaport) at Menninger’s. Dr. Rapaport authored the “Forward” to Dr. Schafer’s book: The Clinical Application of Psychological Tests: Diagnostic Summaries and Case Studies (The Menninger Foundation Monograph Series No. 6) [NY: International Universities Press, Inc., 1948].

This book is an invaluable companion to Diagnostic Psychological Testing. Dr. Schafer made another critical contribution to “The Rapaport Tradition” with his masterful Psychoanalytic Interpretation in Rorschach Testing: Theory and Application (NY: Grune & Stratton, 1954). The Rorschach Test is the famous projective personality test created by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in 1921 using ink blots.

ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE MY TEACHERS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING AND IN UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTIONING OF HUMAN PERSONALITIES. Please let me know if I can clarify any of their contributions to my professional training.