How Humans Relate: A New Interpersonal Theory

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 1996 - Psychology - 302 pages
In this book, John Birtchnell offers a new theory as the basis for a science of relating. While links can be made between it and classical interpersonal theory, it has many new and original features.; The theory states that the relating of humans must have evolved out of, and be in continuity with, the relating of all other animals. The fundamental relating objective of both humans and animals can most easily be defined Identifying That Basic Framework Of Motives Which Is Common To Both.; Birtchnell proposes that such a framework is best constructed around two major axes, a horizontal one concerning the degree to which we need to become involved with or separated from others, and a vertical one concerning the degree to which we choose to exercise power over others or permit others to exercise their power over us. We differ from other animals in the horizontal axis in the extent to which we have expanded our proclivity for close involvement, and on the vertical axis in the extent to which we have become prepared to utilize such forms of power as we have, or have acquired, for the benefit of others. As a consequence of our greater involvement, we are capable of being concerned about and respectful of the needs of others, and trusting of those who are prepared to utilize their power for our benefit, though we remain capable of being disrespectful and non-trusting.; The four objectives derived from the proposed framework are called closeness, distance, upperness and lowerness, and a large part of the book is devoted to describing their characteristics. The book also explores the use of the framework as a means of classifying personality disorders and mental illness.; This book shoud be of interest to professionals and students interested in human relationsships, including psychiatrists, clinical and social psychologists, and psychotherapists.

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The Two Axes of Relating
Further Development of the Two Axes
Maturational Processes within the Two Axes
The Interpersonal Octagon
the Persons Relating to Others Questionnaire
The Interpersonal Circle
Benjamins three surfaces

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