Sidney M. Jourard (1926--1974) was a leading force in Humanistic Psychology, and a pioneer in the fields of self-disclosure and body-awareness. Sidney was born in Canada and educated at the University of Toronto, where he took his M.A. degree in 1948. He continued his studies at the University of Buffalo (now State University of New York at Buffalo), and obtained his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1953.
Dr. Jourard taught at Emory University and at the University of Alabama Medical College prior to joining the University of Florida in 1958, where he held the rank of Professor until his death in 1974. He was involved in private practice of individual psychotherapy for twenty-five years; and for the last ten years of his life, conducted encounter groups, experiential seminars, and workshops for Esalen Institute, Kairos, Oasis, The Center of Man, and other growth centers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
He was a Past President of the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the author of Personal Adjustment (1958-1963)The Transparent Self (1964-71), Disclosing Man to Himself (1968); Self-Disclosure (1971), and Healthy Personality (1974).
One landmark study that is often referred to when studying the field of human touch was performed by Jourard in the 1960’s. Jourard did an experiment to find out how often people touched each other in different countries. His study consisted of going to cities around the world and simply counting how many times people touched each other while sitting together in a cafe.
In Paris, the average was 110 times an hour. In San Juan (a city in Puerto Rico) — the highest average of any city — people touched each other 180 times per hour! In Florida, it was twice per hour, which wasn't quite as bad as London, where they didn't touch at all.
"We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is. Someone – our parents, teachers, analysts – hypnotizes us to 'see' the world and construe it in the 'right' way. These others label the world, attach names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter, we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other things to us. The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind, and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meaning in the new book of our existence."
- Sidney M. Jourard
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