LEONA TYLER
10 May 1906
29 April 1993
HISTORICAL
ANTECEDENTS
EARLY YEARS
 Leona Tyler was born in
Chetek, Wisconsin on May 10, 1906
 No one in her family had ever
gone to college, so her parents
supported her and her three
brothers in pursuit of high education.
 Because of this, she was constantly
ahead of her peers academically
and graduated high school at the
age of fifteen.
COLLEGE
 Graduated from junior college at the age of 19
 Went on to the University of Minnesota where she earned a
Bachelor ’s degree in English in 1925.
 Due to the culture at the time, she
began a career as a teacher and
taught junior high school for
13 years in both Minnesota
and Michigan.
INTEREST IN PSYCHOLOGY
 Through teaching, Tyler developed an interest in individual
differences due to the diversity of her students.
 In 1937 she enrolled in a course on individual differences at the
University of Southern Califronia
 She continued to teach junior high while pursuing her master ’s and
PhD.
 She used her students to gather data for her dissertation on
development of interests of adolescent girls.
OBSTACLES &
STRUGGLES
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES
“Throughout my entire life, being female has never made
me feel inferior. I accepted many aspects
of prevailing sex roles without
thinking much about them, and
I have probably been discriminated
against on occasion, but I never
had to struggle with such
discrimination, and I never
saw it as a tremendous obstacle.”
- Leona Tyler (1978)
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES:
SEXISM
 Professionally came of age between the two great women ’s movements of the
20 th Century ( a s c i t e d i n F a s s i n g e r )
 Tyler ’s moth er adaman tly believed in the 19 th Amend m en t
 Tyler took this to heart, having once commen ted :
“My assumption that intellig en t people
no longer considered women inferior persisted .
I never had occasion to question it.” (Tyler, 1988)
 Claimed to have no experien ces of discrim in ation
(as cited in Fassinger)
 Tyler later realized her career probably progressed at a slower rate than her
male colleagues
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES:
SEXISM
 Tyler was rather reserved and modest – she never forced her way
into psychology’s limelight
 Tyler was well accepted by powerful male mentors and peers
 One of the few women in the history of psychology who experienced
uniformly supportive relationships with men
(as cited in Fassinger)
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES:
PERSONAL LIFE
 Tyl e r n e v e r ma r r i e d , n o r h a v e c h i l d r e n
 F o u n d a f e w o f h e r ma l e f r i e n d s t o b e v i a b l e c a n d i d a t e s f o r r o ma n t i c p a r t n e r s - n o n e o f
them were available in this capacity
 Tyl e r f o u n d t h e i d e a o f d a t i n g s t r a n g e r a f t e r s t r a n g e r i n s e a r c h o f t h e “r i g h t o n e ” t o b e
d i s h o ne s t a n d r e p u g n a n t
 S h e n o t e d t h a t a t t h e t i me , i t w a s e x t r e me l y d i ff i c u l t f o r w o me n t o j u g g l e b o t h a c a r e e r
a n d a f a mi l y:
“ I w o u l d h a v e h a d t o m a r r y a m a n w h o w o u l d t a k e c a re o f m y f a m i l y, e n c o u r a g e
m y w o r k , a n d o v e r l o o k m y l a c k o f s o c i a l s k i l l s . ” ( Tyl e r, 1 9 7 7 )
 Tyl e r d i d , h o w e v e r, a c k n o wl e d g e t h a t h e r c e l i b a c y a l l o w e d f o r h e r t o r e ma i n f o c u s e d o n
her work:
“ B e i n g o n m y o w n h a s c o n t r i b u t e d t o m y s u c c e s s , a l t h ou g h i t i s n o t t h e l i f e I
w o u l d h a v e c h o s e n . ‘ S h e t r a v e l s f a s t e s t w h o t r a v e l s a l o n e , ’ t o a d a p t a f a m o u s q u o t a ti o n .”
( Tyl e r, 1 9 8 8 )
 R e g a r d l e s s , Tyl e r ma i n t a i n e d v e r y c l o s e b o n d s w i t h h e r f r i e n d s a n d h e r e x t e n d e d f a mi l y
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES:
PROFESSIONAL CAREER
 While Tyler was an extremely demure woman, at times her modesty was her
own enemy
 During the last 6 years of her career at the University of Oregon, Tyler
served as dean of the Graduate School
 She believed this honor was only given to her owing to a need and not to
her own merit or skill
 She found the role of dean difficult to get used to and considered such a
role unsuitable for women; however, she would later note:
“Had the opportunity come ten years later, after the resurgence of militant
feminism, perhaps my struggle with myself would have been easier ” (Tyler,
1988)
 After a trip abroad, Tyler was astonished to find that herself and her
theories had become so widely recognized in the psychological world
OBSTACLES & STRUGGLES:
A LAST NOTE
 L e o n a Tyl e r d e v o t e d h e r t i m e a n d e f f o r t s t o m a n y a v e n u e s , b o t h a c a d e m i c a n d p h i l a n t h r o p i c
 Her character and drive were able to open doors that very few women walked through at the
time
 A “few” of her accomplishments:
- E l e c t e d p r e s i d e n t o f t h e O r e g o n P s yc h o l o g i c a l
A s s o c i a t i o n , t h e We s t e r n P s yc h o l o g i c a l A s s o c i a t i o n ,
a n d D i v i s i o n 1 7 ( C o u n s e l i n g P s yc h o l o g y ) o f t h e
A m e r i c a n P s yc h o l o g i c a l A s s o c i a t i o n
- T h e A PA h o n o r e d h e r b y n a m i n g i t s h i g h e s t
a w a r d a f t e r h e r – t h e L e o n a Tyl e r Aw a r d –
which honors those who have greatly contributed
t o C o u n s e l i n g P s yc h o l o g y
- E l e c t e d t o t h e A PA B o a r d o f D i r e c t o r s a n d l a t e r
to the Policy and Planning Board
-
I n 1 9 7 2 , s h e b e c a m e t h e 8 1 s t p r e s i d e n t a n d f o u r t h w o m a n t o b e e l e c t e d p r e s i d e n t o f t h e A PA .
EXPERIMENTS &
RESEARCH
RESEARCH
Lifetime fascination of the study of the
individual and characteristics that separated one
person from another (Tyler, 1961)
Looked at how choices
affected peoples’ lives
(Sundberg, 1994)
CHOICE PATTERN TECHNIQUE
Longitudinal, cross-cultural study where
individuals would sort cards that had an
occupation written on them
Explored reasons why they sorted them in that
way (Held, 2010)
Result: Dislikes and avoidances are more
important than likes, when thinking about
careers (Sundberg, 1994)
CHOICE PATTERN TECHNIQUE
 Choice pattern technique is still used in career counseling (Held,
2010)
 Leona Tyler instructed more graduate students for theses and
dissertations than any other faculty member at the University of
Oregon (Sundberg, 1994)
THEORIES WITH
THEIR STRENGTHS &
WEAKNESSES
THEORY OF POSSIBILITIES
The theory that all creatures, based on certain
biological factors, are born with multipotentiality,
and by choosing to actualize only certain
possibilities throughout his or her
life, the creature develops into
the individual that it is now.
These choices are both conscious
and unconscious, driven by both
internal and environmental pressures.
THEORY OF POSSIBILITIES
Strengths
 Appreciates the impact of
environment and context on
the development of the
individual
 Realizes that each choice
leads an individual down a
narrower path (each choice
eliminates other
potentialities)
 Does not hold the individual
completely responsible for
his or her choices*
Weaknesses
 Does not fully account for
biological influences
 Does not hold the individual
completely responsible for
his or her choices*
COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY
“A means of
encouraging natural,
developmental
processes and
exploring cognitive
structures and their
role in organizing
individual experiences
and choices.” (Held
2010)
Strengths
 Offers guidance to ‘normal’
people, rather than only to
people who have some sort of
psychological ‘problem’
MINIMUM CHANGE THERAPY
A type of counseling, or therapy, that brings about the
least amount of change needed to steer the client in a
new direction. “Its most fundamental assumption is
that there are many different ways of living an
individual life richly and well, and that it is natural
for a person to continue to develop throughout his life
in his own unique way.” (Tyler 1960)
MINIMUM CHANGE THERAPY
Strengths
Weaknesses
 Shortens the duration of
counseling
 Allows the client to
maintain most aspects of
his or her personality; a
change in direction
rather than a change in
personality
 May not provide enough
change for clients
LEONA TYLER’S INFLUENCE
 Wr o t e t h e p r i m a r y t e x t b o o k f o r g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t s
i n c o u n s e l i n g p s yc h o l o g y ( Wo r k o f t h e
Counselor)
 Wr o t e t h e l a t e s t e d i t i o n o f D e v e l o p m e n t a l
P s yc h o l o g y w i t h F l o r e n c e G o o d e n o u g h
 C r e a t e d T h e C h o i c e P a t t e r n Te c h n i q u e , a t e s t s h e
developed to research choice patterns, which is
still used today in career counseling
 D e e p e n e d a n d e x p a n d e d p s yc h o l o g y ’s c o n c e p t i o n
of the nature and complexity of individual
differences
 O p e n e d a n d m a n a g e d t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f O r e g o n ’s
Counseling Center
 Advocated the importance and continuation of
c o u n s e l i n g p s yc h o l o g y t h r o u g h h e r l a s t d a ys
 Her greatest legacy was her enduring “concern
for allowing and encouraging people to find
t h e ms e l v e s , t o l e a r n , a n d e s p e c i a l l y t o c l a r i f y
and choose their potentialities in an often
chaotic world.” (Anonymous, 1991)
REFERENCES
 Brooks. , & Gonzales (1999). Timeline of women's suffrage in the united states. Retrieved
from http://dpsinfo.com/women/history/timeline.html
 Fassinger R. E. (2003). Leona Tyler: Pioneer of Possibilities. In G. A. Kimble & M. Wertheimer, Portraits
of Pioneers in Psychology, Volume V . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates .
 Held, L. (2010). Profile of Leona Tyler. In A. Rutherford (Ed.), Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia
Internet Archive. Retrieved from http://www.feministvoices.com/leona --tyler/

O'Connell, A. N., & Russo, N. F. (Eds.) (1990). Women in Psychology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press .
 Sundberg, N. D., & Littman, R. A. (1994). Leona Elizabeth Tyler (1906-1993). American Psychologist,
49(3), 211.

Tyler, L. E (1959). Toward A Workable Psychology Of Individuality. University of Oregon.

Tyler, L. E. (1958). Theoretical Principles Underlying the Counseling Process.
 Tyler, L. E. (1961). Research Explorations in the Realm of Choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology ,
8(3) 195-201.
 Tyler, L. E. (1943). Relationships Between Strong Vocational Interest Scores and Other Attitude and
Personality Factors. University of Oregon.
 Tyler, L. E. (1960). Controlling the Duration of Counseling: Minimum Change Therapy. University of
Oregon.
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