This text chronicles the life and times of a major figure in early American psychology - Lightner Witmer, widely recognized as the founder of clinical psychology, who can also be considered as a pioneer of school psychology and a major figure in the development of special education. Moreover, in a role associated with these accomplishments but going beyond them, Witmer was an early, outspoken, and effective advocate for the rights and improved treatment of children. The seminal and perhaps most enduring accomplishment of Witmer's career, was his establishment of the world's first psychological clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in 1896. This date is only 17 years after Wilhelm Wundt (under whom Witner studied), had established what is generally considered the first experimental laboratory of psychology in Leipzig, and it was only four years prior to Sigmund Freud's ""Interpretation of Dreams"". Apart from chronology, however, what may be most important on is that Witmer advanced and advocated the idea that the fruits of scientific psychology could have practical benefits for human beings - that is, that psychology could be mobilized to help people having personal difficulties in living. Presenting Witmer's life in a largely chronological, narrative fashion, this book focuses on personal events and circumstances, but also offers insights into the professional, scientific, academic, and clinical aspects. It places Witmer's life in the economic and political context of his times, and illustrates how his overall perception of psychology flowed both with and against the existing trends.
Early Life; College Years; Philadelphia and Leipzig; Professional Beginnings; The First Psychological Clinic; At the Turn of the Century; A New Profession; Clinical Psychology; The Restoration of Children; Travels, Talks, and Tests; The War Era; New Directions; Slowing Down; Later Career and Retirement; Epilogue - The Significance of Witmer's Lifework.