The Origin Of A Person
Alvin R. Mahrer, Ph.d

Howard Gontovnick Publications

In his recent book, Alvin R. Mahrer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Ottawa, explains his distinctive approach to the analysis of personality, which he calls the “experiential approach.” The author maintains that the period from conception (approximately) to shortly after birth contains the origins of lifelong feelings, worries, troubles, behaviour, and so on – all of which constitute personality. While the alternative approach in psychotherapy sees events in the mother as “transmitted largely through the umbilical cord,” the experiential approach views them as “also happening in the baby.”

“The experiential approach departs from the alternative approach in that the parent can provide the infant with a relatively sophisticated personality even before what is called biological conception.” This is a “revolutionary” approach, according to Raymond Corsini in the sixth edition of Current Psychotherapies, that has far-reaching implications for the treatment of personality disorders. Professor Mahrer points out that the experiential approach could also have significant consequences for education, religion, and attitudinal change.

The book is a companionable introduction (for the layperson as well as for future parents) to an influential and pioneering approach on the making of a person.mRb