Marvin Frankel

Marvin Frankel

Undergraduate Discipline

Psychology

Graduate Program

Human Genetics Program

BA, City College of New York. PhD, University of Chicago. Clinical internship in client-centered therapy, Counseling Center of the University of Chicago; postdoctoral fellowship at Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey. Contributed recent chapters and articles that deal with the changing nature of the psychotherapeutic relationship, the anatomy of an empathic understanding, we-centered psychotherapeutic relationships, and the clinical education of nondirective and directive psychotherapists. SLC, 1972–

Current undergraduate courses

Talking Cures: The Restoration of Freedom

Year

Over the past century, the concepts of “wisdom” and “ignorance” have been replaced by “health” and “illness.” Vanity has been replaced by narcissism and pretensions by insecurities. We consult psychologists and psychiatrists rather than philosophers in the hope of living “the good life.” We become cured rather than educated. The cure is presumably accomplished through a series of conversations between patient and doctor, but these are not ordinary conversations. Moreover, the relationship between one psychologist and patient is vastly different from the relationship of another psychologist and client. Despite more than a century of practice, there remains little agreement among these practitioners of “health” regarding what the content of the conversations should be or the proper roles of doctor and patient. Consequently, the patient who sees a psychoanalyst has a very different kind of experience from a patient who seeks the help of a person-centered therapist or a behaviorally oriented psychotherapist. This course will examine the rules of conversation that govern various psychotherapeutic relationships and compare those rules with those that govern other kinds of relationships, such as those between friends, teachers and students, and family members.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

The Empathic Attitude

Spring

“It is when we try to grapple with another man’s intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun.” —Joseph Conrad

“We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our soul’s wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we…were.” —Emerson, Divinity School Address, 1838

After graphically describing her predicament to her cousin Molly, Sarah asked: “So, do you understand?” “Yes, I do, I certainly do,” her cousin replied. “You do?” Sarah asked again. “Most emphatically, I do.” “Then you agree with me?” “Oh no.” “You sympathize with me then?” “No, I don’t.” “Then you at least see it from my point of view.” “Hardly.” “Then what do you understand?” “You are simply a fool!” “How dare you judge me?” “If I see it from your point of view, I shall only be a different kind of judge. My dear Sarah, don’t you see that there is no escaping judgment?”

For Conrad, the other is so shrouded in mists that our empathic understanding must necessarily fall short. For Emerson, an empathic rapport is rare but possible. As for Sarah and Molly, what can we say? Do they completely fail to understand each other, or do they understand each other only too well? Indeed, what do we mean by understanding in this context? Too often, understanding is confused with agreement or the absence of judgment. This course will examine what an empathic understanding entails and the function of empathy in defining areas of conflict as well as the resolution of conflict. In brief, the empathic attitude requires us to enjoy and appreciate the differences between ourselves and others even as we attempt to bridge those differences.

Faculty

“The Final Solution”: Psychological Perspectives on Inhumanity

Fall

“I also want to speak very frankly about an extremely important subject...the extermination of the Jewish people. This is something that is easy to talk about...Most of you know what it is to see a pile of 100 or 500 or 1,000 bodies. To have stuck it out and at the same time, barring exceptions caused by human weakness, to have remained decent: this is what has made us tough…This is a glorious page in our history which never has and never will be written.” —Speech by SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler to a meeting of SS generals in Posen, October 4, 1943.

What can psychology offer us by way of a perspective for understanding the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general? We will explore the following themes in some depth: Is it possible to sustain a sense of personal integrity in a world that strips you of the right to have a personal identity? How can the killing of millions be viewed as a sign of moral purity? Has evolution created a “universal neural circuitry” that disposes human beings to always perceive a hostile and murderous opposition between “us” and “them”? If so, can education dissolve such antagonistic oppositions? If not, under what kinds of social conditions does contempt for others yield pleasure? This course will not provide entirely satisfying answers.

Faculty

Previous courses

Individualism and/or Diversity Reconsidered

Fall

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never harm you.” Can anything be further from the truth? This course will examine how reputation in all its guises shadows our lives. Do we not dispense praise and blame to control the lives of others? Can we deny that pride and shame represent the rewards and punishments that we employ to imprison ourselves? Can we inhabit a world that goes beyond pride and shame? For example, consider the following tale: Alexander the Great allegedly came across the philosopher Diogenes, clothed in rags and taking a sunbath while reclining on the street. According to one version of this tale, Alexander asked Diogenes if there were anything he desired. If there were, then certainly Alexander would grant his wish. Diogenes waved his hand and replied: “Stand out of my light.” Addressing his troops, Alexander exclaimed, “If I were not Alexander the Great, I would like to be Diogenes.” What of you, dear student?

Faculty

Individualism Reconsidered

Year

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never harm you.” Can anything be further from the truth? This course will examine how reputation in all its guises shadows our lives. Do we not dispense praise and blame to control the lives of others? Can we deny that pride and shame represent the rewards and punishments that we employ to imprison ourselves? Can we inhabit a world that goes beyond pride and shame? For example, consider the following tale: Alexander the Great allegedly came across the philosopher Diogenes, clothed in rags and taking a sunbath while reclining on the street. According to one version of this tale, Alexander asked Diogenes if there were anything he desired. If there were, then certainly Alexander would grant his wish. Diogenes waved his hand and replied: “Stand out of my light.” Addressing his troops, Alexander exclaimed, “If I were not Alexander the Great, I would like to be Diogenes.” What of you, dear student?

Faculty

The Empathic Attitude I

Fall

This course provides a theoretical and practical understanding of client-centered counseling. Rogerian techniques are applied and integrated into clinical genetic counseling cases. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the emotional content of language in all phases of the genetic counseling process, eliciting a client’s psychological needs, and the choice of vocabulary in explaining complex genetic phenomena.

Faculty

The Empathic Attitude II

Spring

This course is a continuation of The Empathic Attitude I

Faculty

The Empathic - Graduate

Year

This course provides a theoretical and practical understanding of client-centered counseling. Rogerian techniques are applied and integrated into clinical genetic counseling cases. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the emotional content of language in all phases of the genetic counseling process, eliciting a client’s psychological needs, and the choice of vocabulary in explaining complex genetic phenomena.

Faculty

The Talking Cure: The Restoration of Freedom

Year

Over the past century, the concepts of “wisdom” and “ignorance” have been replaced by “health” and “illness.” Vanity has been replaced by narcissism and pretensions by insecurities. We consult psychologists and psychiatrists rather than philosophers in the hope of living “the good life.” We become cured rather than educated. The cure is presumably accomplished through a series of conversations between patient and doctor, but these are not ordinary conversations. Moreover, the relationship between one psychologist and patient is vastly different from the relationship of another psychologist and client. Despite more than a century of practice, there remains little agreement among these practitioners of “health” regarding what the content of these conversations should be or the proper roles of doctor and patient. Consequently, the patient who sees a psychoanalyst has a very different kind of experience from a patient who seeks the help of a person-centered therapist or a behaviorally oriented psychotherapist. This course will examine the rules of conversation that govern various psychotherapeutic relationships and compare those rules with those that govern other kinds of relationships, such as those between friends, teachers and students, and family members.

Faculty