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Timeline of Psychology

During the time that Phyllis Blanchard was working with children and adolescents, the world of psychology was elsewhere.

Through the 1920s and 1930s most psychologists were either following or altering Watson. Watson's behaviorism ignored the study of consciousness and explained actions through conditioning. He rejected the idea of introspection in an attempt to make psychology more like a physical science. Other forms of behaviorism were not this extreme, and some did in fact deal with consciousness. (Wozniak)

Looking at just the titles of Blanchard's books, it is clear she was not a behaviorist. In fact, psychoanalysis must assume that there is consciousness and it is important to study. In her articles, one can see her dream work with children is one example of this. Dr. Blanchard also was not so quick to reduce actions to the processes that behaviorists were looking at. She also did not seperate society from the child, but rather continued to focus on the entire picture.

Following Watson, schools and psychologists alike were aligning themselves with either Tolman or Hull, who were both busy studying rats in mazes. When America entered World War II, psychology took a different turn, and at the completion of the war, veterans flooded colleges and universities, many of them interested in cognitive psychology.(Wozniak)

This "revolution" had been going on quite some time with Dr. Blanchard. Instead of aligning herself with Tolman or Hull or studying lab rats, she looked to Freud and Hall and helped real children. She was interested in development and practical solutions, which the majority of psychologists did not deal with until years later. I believe this is part of the reason that today Phyllis Blanchard still remains overlooked. Her work simply did not flow with the majority of work in psychology in her era. But perhaps what is more important than recognition is the knowledge that thousands of children were being helped instead of experimented on, and heard instead of recorded.