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THE CONSULTING PSYCHOLOGIST

THE CONSULTING PSYCHOLOGIST
By Professor C. E. SEASHORE

STATE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

TO the popular mind the "consulting psychologist" is a medium in the rookery on Broadway to whom one may go for paid advice—decidedly practical. But the meaning ascribed to the term by Professor Royce, in his now classic address before the National Educational Association, twelve years ago, has perhaps found some recognition. It is in this sense that I shall use the term.

With the growth of science comes the specialist, and with the development of the specialist comes the consulting specialist—a man who does not engage in competition with the rank and file of the profession, but conserves his energies and fits himself for dealing with special problems. In the past the consulting practise has generally come as a result of preeminent success in ordinary practise, and from a desire to select the most important work. This is illustrated in medicine and engineering. But with the passing of the self-made man, and with the growing differentiation of work, comes an opportunity for the trained specialist, still young, to get recognition for special service. In all the branches of medicine and engineering, and in many other fields, there is now a demand for the man who is master of something specific. Now, as psychology becomes a science and so begins to show signs of being of practical value, there is more and more demand for men who have not only a thorough mastery of the subject, but who will devote themselves to some aspect of its application.

We are just now at an epochal turning point in psychology. The subject is passing its infancy as a pure science and the world has taken us all too seriously in the promise of what we can do to be useful. We stand amazed in the face of the confident and insistent demand from the various walks of life for psychological principles of explanation, organization, guidance, economy, efficiency, conservation, expansion, growth, evolution, development, transference, impression, retention, elaboration, attention, affection, action, fatigue, rest, etc. The demand comes from the arts, the sciences, the professions and the industries, as well as from the patrons of liberal culture. Education as a science knows no other foundation equal to psychology; fine art, in all its branches, is interpreted in terms of psychology; social, charitable and corrective agencies grope for psychological justification in every movement; medicine, as it faces the bewildering ills of mental life, recog-