Seymour B. Sarason Essay

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Considered the founder of community psychology and a leader in the practice of clinical psychology, Seymour Sarason was born in Brooklyn, New York, and earned his BA from the University of Newark. He earned an MA and Ph.D. from Clark University, completing the latter degree in 1942. From 1942–1946, he served as chief psychologist at the Southbury Training School in Connecticut. He then taught at Yale University from 1946 until his retirement in 1989.

In the area of education, he studied anxiety and children as well as the problems of the mentally challenged in schools. His interests included the preparation of teachers and the culture of schools. He was an advocate of the application of psychological principles to the problems of schooling. The best known of his more than thirty books are his 1971 work, The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change and Schooling in America: Scapegoat and Salvation, which was published in 1983. In the first of these, he took up the complex relationships between students and teachers and teachers and administrators. In 1996, the American Educational Research Association held a symposium celebrating the 25th anniversary of the initial publication of The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change. That same year, a third edition of the book, under the title Revisiting the Culture of the School and the Problem of Change, was published. During his long career, he has been honored by the American Psychological Association four times, including the Gold Medal Award for Life Contribution by a Psychologist in the Public Interest. Sarason also received two awards from the American Association on Mental Deficiency.


  1. Sarason, S. B. (1971). The culture of the school and the problem of change. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  2. Sarason, S. B. (1983). Schooling in America: Scapegoat and salvation. New York: Free Press.
  3. Sarason, S. B. (1988). The making of an American psychologist. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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