Psychology is not only a science, but it is also an art of changing the mental behaviors. Through the course of history, there have been many great psychologists and psychiatrists who have devoted their entire lives to an in depth and unbiased understanding of human behaviors whether normal or abnormal. It is because of their works that today we have a better understanding about the mental and psychiatric disorders. Before them, people held false and baseless conceptions about the origins of disorders and their impact on the human personality, but that is not the case these days. Today various forms of mental illness are evaluated through various inventories and psychological assessment techniques which have made the results and treatments more reliable and positivistic. Not to forget the in depth studies which were made on the unconscious mind (The 3rd level of the human psyche which comes to exercise a great control on our behaviors, but we have no direct access to it).The purpose of this top ten ranking is to show gratitude and a standing ovation to these influential thinkers. Below is the list of the top ten psychologists and psychiatrists of all times.
10. Kurt Lewin
Widely recognized as the father of social psychology, Kurt Lewin is on our number 10th spot. He was indeed one of the first psychologists who have studied group dynamics and various forms of organizational behaviors in a scientific and practical way. The way he classified various forms of work place environments and leadership exemplifies his commitment and passion for studying the human behaviors in the context of the work place. In addition, he had also tried to measure the human behavior in terms of mathematical calculations by giving the Lewin’s Equation. In short, the gist of his works is that the development of human behavior depends upon the environment in which the individual exists. The practical applications of his works can be seen in the Human resource management departments of various top notch companies.
9. Erik Erikson
Known to be one of the most experienced psychoanalyst and developmental psychologists of his time, Erik Erikson is on our number 9th spot. His major contribution to the psychology was his Psycho-Social Theory of Human Development in which he had elucidated the developmental stages. In contrast to other psychiatrists and psychologists, Erikson had given 8 stages of human development. Yet another contribution of Erikson in psychology was his work on the Ego. His works clearly pointed out the importance and central role of the Ego in our everyday lives. After his death his work and theory was continued by his wife, who herself was a passionate psychologist.
8. William James
William James was not only a psychologist, but also a well-known philosopher of the 20th century. He is also referred to as the Father of American Psychology. This is primarily because of his works and contributions to the field of psychology in those days when psychology was in its initial stages of evolution. His major works pointed out to the role of emotions, free will and religion in our lives and how all these factors lead to psychological stability. In addition, he had also done a great amount of research on the development of the self-concept in each individual. Not to forget his works on pragmatism, spiritualism, associations and morality.
7. Jean Piaget
At number 7 we have the most influential developmental psychologist of all times, Jean Piaget. He had spent his entire life towards studying the intellectual, psychological, social and biological development of individuals, especially children. It is due to his works that psychologists of today are better able to treat the mentally retarded and deprived children and are able to cure them. His most famous theory was known as the four stage development theory. He was also described by Einstein in the following words (Piaget is a discoverer of the processes which play a major role in human development). In doing various forms of research and data collection, he had made use of psychometrics and various forms of scientific observation procedures.
6. Alfred Adler (Neo-Freudian)
Known as the father of individual psychology, Alfred Adler is on our number 6th spot. Adler was an Austrian psychiatrist who had done a great amount of work on human feelings, especially on the feelings of superiority and inferiority. He was also one of the most respected members of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Society and had worked in close collaboration with Freud. He was a supporter of the doctrine of the (Unconscious Mind) and its role in the development of various forms of mental illness and maladaptive behaviors. He believed that each individual is constantly striving for superiority. By this Adler did not mean superiority over others, but rather he meant a struggle for self-perfection and betterment. In addition he had also pointed out to the importance of birth order in a family and how the order comes to influence the psyche of the individual.
5. Carl Rogers
Known as one the fathers of Humanistic Psychology, Carl Rogers is on our number 5th spot. He was one of those individuals who had given a new face to the use of psychotherapy during regular sessions with the patients. His theory about the (Self) is still considered to be one of the most important in understanding the human behavior in various contexts. He emphasized towards the positive and optimal development of human behavior which is evident in all of his works. At the same time, he had also paid a great deal of attention towards the role of experience, creativity, free will, thrill, and contextual behavior. In simple words, he asserted that the humans should live each moment happily and fully so that they can have a peace of mind.
4. B.F Skinner
One of the founders of the school of behaviorism and one of the top psychologists of the 20th century, B.F Skinner is on our number 4th spot. He adopted a technological approach towards human behavior because he had a strong belief that human behavior is controlled by the environment in which it is developed. At the same time, he had asserted that we can come to control the behaviors of others by various forms of reward and punishment. His works and inventions like the air crib, Skinner box, Teaching Machine and pigeon guided missile pointed out his primary motive which was to understand and measure behavior. He emphasized a student’s performance and grades in the class can be improved and maintained through verbal and non-verbal rewards from the side of the teachers and parents.
3. Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow is also regarded as the father of humanistic psychology along with Carl Rogers. Maslow’s major assumption was that the psychologists and psychoanalysts should try to study the positive sides of the human mind, than only studying the mentally psychotic and neurotic patients. He had also emphasized the concept of self-actualization which is indeed the end point of human life. The qualities such as truth, goodness, order, simplicity, playfulness, wholeness and self-sufficiency are mostly found in the self-actualized individuals. In order to elucidate and validate his theory he had proposed his model of hierarchy of human needs all of which must be fulfilled in order be self-actualized. The purpose of Maslow’s works was to see the good in everything.
2. Carl Jung (Neo-Freudian)
At number 2 we have the founder of analytic psychology and no doubt one of the most powerful forces in the field of psychology, Carl Gustav Jung. Jung was a Swiss Psychiatrist, who had done a great deal of work on the unconscious mind, dream analysis, individuation, alchemy, complexes, religion, spirituality, literature, astrology and mysticism. As he was one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis and a close associate to Sigmund Freud, his emphasis on the unconscious mind was not much of a surprise. He believed that the process of integration between the conscious and the unconscious mind plays a central and prime role in human development. He is also the person who had filed the terms of introversion and extraversion. The most famous of all his concepts is the concept of the (Collective Unconscious) which according to Jung is the deepest level of the human psyche where all the ideas, thoughts, emotions which are shared by all humans, are hidden. In short, the ideas and experiences which we have inherited from our human as well as animal ancestors and the whole human race are waxed in our collective unconscious.
1. Sigmund Freud
At number 1 we have the father of psychology and psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Freud was an Austrian Psychiatrist who had given the concept of the Unconscious Mind. His terms and concepts like Ego, Id, Super-ego, Libido, Oedipus Complex, Electra Complex and many more are being widely used in our everyday lives, but indeed most of us don’t even know the real meaning of these terms, especially the Ego. There are a number of people who criticize him on the element of extreme sexuality which he had placed in his theories, but whatever he had stated and worked was based on reality. Reality is indeed very hard to accept by the conservative minds and uninformed minds. He had presented the Psycho-Sexual theory of human development which still holds a great deal of validity. In addition, he had also done various case studies and dream analysis on many neurotic and psychotic patients which indeed points out to this vast experience in the domain of mental illness. As a matter of fact, the practical applications of all his theories can be best observed and tested in this era of lust and extreme sexuality which indeed nullifies all the baseless claims of the critiques like Karl Popper, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Kate Millett and many more. No matter what the critiques say, his contribution to humanity is indeed unexampled and unparalleled.