Summer 2011
Fully Enrolled

SOCS 623
The Dynamics of Character: 1800's to Present

Garrett,Noel R

08/15/2011 - 08/19/2011
Note: Special Schedule 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 422

Special Schedule: One-week immersion, August 15-19 (Monday-Friday) 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Personality can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations (Ryckman, 2004). The word "personality" originates from the Latin persona, which means mask. Significantly, in the theater of the ancient Latin-speaking world, the mask was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, but rather was a convention employed to represent or typify that character.

Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. One emphasis in this area is to construct a coherent picture of a person and his or her major psychological processes (Bradberry, 2007). Another emphasis views personality as the study of individual differences, in other words, how people differ from each other. A third area of emphasis examines human nature and how all people are similar to one another. These three viewpoints merge together in the study of personality.

The study of personality has a rich and varied history in psychology, with an abundance of theoretical traditions. The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist and social learning perspective. There is no consensus on the definition of "personality" in psychology. Most researchers and psychologists do not explicitly identify themselves with a certain perspective and often taken an eclectic approach.

In this class, we will explore one of the problems plaguing the fields of psychiatry and psychology: differentiation, especially when the possibility of borderline character pathology exists. These conditions must be differentiated from, on the one hand, the neuroses and neurotic character pathology and, on the other hand, the psychoses, particularly schizophrenia and the major affective disorders. We will analyze the qualities of various kinds of experience and behavior, such as the ways of thinking, the attitudes (recognized and unrecognized), and the modes of action that characterize the different personality/character conditions.

A review of the description and analysis of the general forms of pathological experience and behavior of these forms or "styles" seems to constitute what might be called the structure of the pathological character and, in turn, determine the form of characteristic symptoms, what Wilhelm Reich called "ways of being."

Texts for this course will include Funder, D. C, The personality puzzle; Kernberg, Otto, Severe Personality Disorders, Psychotherapeutic Strategies; Stone, Michael, Essential Papers on Borderline Disorders: One Hundred Years at the Border; Shapiro, David, Dynamics of Character. Self-regulation in Psychopathology; Shapiro, David, Autonomy and Rigid Character; and Shapiro, David, Neurotic Styles.

This course will be cross-listed as SCIE 623 and SOCS 623. Please take care to enroll in the proper section of the course.

Immersion courses are worth three units of credit and are academically as rigorous as a regular term course, only the class meetings are compressed into a very short time. Students interested in immersion courses should be aware that the syllabus usually requires that students prepare for up to a month prior to the first class meeting and complete assignments in the weeks following the course. Please click here for more information about immersion courses.

This course is not open to auditors.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Wednesday, July 6 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
SOCS 623

Noel Garrett (B.S., Duquesne University; M.A., D.Phil, The New School for Social Research) is dean for the class of 2011.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 8

Texts to purchase for this course:
Kernberg, Otto,Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism, (2000)

Kreisman, Jerold and Straus, Hal, I Hate You Don't Leave Me. Understanding the Borderline Personality.

Payson, Eleanor, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists (2008)

Stout, Martha, The Sociopath Next Door, 2005 (paperback version)

Reading Materials are available at BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 Broad Street, Middletown, 860-685-7323 Order your books online

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