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Quotations about Psychology

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.  —ღ Terri, March 2021

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother. ~Author unknown, quoted from The American Legion, 2002

But I don't want to be a subconsciousness! I want to be myself... ~Ronald A. Knox, Other Eyes Than Ours, 1926

Fortunately analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself remains a very effective therapist. ~Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts, 1945, referring to psychoanalysis

Behavioral psychology is the science of pulling habits out of rats. ~Douglas Busch

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ~Michael Torke

Depressed people think they know themselves, but maybe they only know depression. ~Mark Epstein

Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution. ~G.K. Chesterton

The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, involved in many kinds of motivation, among other functions. The hypothalamus controls the "Four F's": fighting, fleeing, feeding, and mating. ~Marvin Dunnette

There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography. ~Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin: Psychology, 1973

Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts. ~Vladimir Nabokov, 1951

Psychology has once again proved itself the doofus of the sciences. ~Big Bang Theory, "The Intimacy Acceleration," written by Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds, and Steve Holland [S8, E16, 2015, Sheldon]

People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding. ~Wilhelm Stekel

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

The reflex is physiology below the collar button. Psychology is physiology above the collar button. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

My doctor said I had OCD. I couldn't believe it. I had to call him nine times to make sure. ~Judy Gold

I grant that Freud was one of the most ingenious men who ever lived, but I have no more use for his system than I have for Paley's watch—a metaphor for the universe, wound up in the beginning, then ticking away for billions of years. ~Saul Bellow, The Actual, 1997  [Oh, but wethinks he actually does. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. ~Carl Jung

I don't go for this auto-cannibalism. Very damaging. ~Peter O'Toole, on psychoanalysis

But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know. ~Alan Watts

But how I analyze myself... I hate people who go probing around in their own minds, bringing the results of their excavations to be examined by their bored friends. Don't bother about me, Rose. I'll get through some way. Probably by letting the gods do it for me. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1921, edited by William V. Holtz

The aim of psychoanalysis is to relieve people of their neurotic unhappiness so that they can be normally unhappy. ~Sigmund Freud, attributed

If you just set people in motion they'll heal themselves. ~Gabrielle Roth

What have we here? A human mind, turned wrong side out. If we only knew the meaning of it — how a psychiatrist would love it! Everything means something, something means anything, everything means anything — all that sort of thing. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

Anger turned inward is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye. ~M*A*S*H, "Dear Sigmund," 1976, written by Alan Alda  [S5, E7, Sidney Freedman —tg]

A psychiatrist asks a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing. ~Joey Adams  [Fun trivia: Alienist is an old term for a psychiatrist or psychologist. It was in use from the mid-1800s until the mid-1900s. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

There are cases where psychoanalysis works worse than anything else. But who said that psychoanalysis was to be applied always and everywhere. ~C.G. Jung

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams

Becoming conscious is of course a sacrilege against nature; it is as though you had robbed the unconscious of something. ~Carl G. Jung

Neurosis is no worse than a bad cold; you ache all over, and it's made you a mess, but you won't die from it. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Words are the physicians of a mind diseased. ~Aeschylus

Anybody who is 25 or 30 years old has physical scars from all sorts of things, from tuberculosis to polio. It's the same with the mind. ~Moses Ralph Kaufman (1900–1977), unverified

I was seized by the stern hand of Compulsion, that dark, unseasonable Urge that impels women to clean house in the middle of the night. ~James Thurber

Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort. ~Mason Cooley

If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well. ~Rainer Maria Rilke, on leaving psychotherapy

If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink, at last, as human psychology. ~D.H. Lawrence, St. Mawr

There are now electrical appliances with the main unit so sealed in that it cannot be got at for repair. There have always been human beings like that. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

I need one of those baby monitors for my subconscious to my consciousness so I can know what the hell I'm really thinking about. ~Steven Wright

The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises. ~Sigmund Freud

Sure you can psychoanalyze! But as Baehr used to say, why bother to sort garbage? ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. ~Carl Jung

Perception is a clash of mind and eye, the eye believing what it sees, the mind seeing what it believes. ~Robert Brault,

Thoughts shut up want air,
And spoil, like bales unopen'd to the sun.
~Edward Young, Night Thoughts

A psychiatrist is a man who goes to the Folies-Bergère and looks at the audience. ~Mervyn Stockwood

Work cure is the best of all psychotherapy, in my opinion.... As well might we expect a patient to recover without food as to recover without work.... The sound man needs work to keep him sound, but the nervous invalid has an even greater need of work to draw him out of his isolation, and to stop the miseries of doubt and self-scrutiny, to win back self-respect and the support of fellowship. ~Richard C. Cabot

Psychology doesn't address the soul — that's something else — but, this is a start. ~The Sopranos, "The Sopranos," 1999, written by David Chase  [S1, E1, Carmela Soprano —tg]

A wonderful discovery, psychoanalysis. Makes quite simple people feel they're complex. ~S.N. Behrman

His perversion ran like a red thread through his entire mental organization.... unlimited indulgence and absence of responsibility are competent to make sexual monsters out of mere voluptuaries. ~E.C. Spitzka, "The Whitechapel Murders: Their Medico-Legal and Historical Aspects" (remarks made in discussing Mr. Austin Abbott's paper on the same subject before the Society of Medical Jurisprudence, New York), in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, December 1888

It seems a pity that psychology has destroyed all our knowledge of human nature. ~G.K. Chesterton, London Observer, 9 December 1934

Psychology has a long past, but only a short history. ~Hermann Ebbinghaus

A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent. ~Jerome Lawrence

A mistake which is commonly made about neurotics is to suppose that they are interesting. It is not interesting to be always unhappy, engrossed with oneself, malignant and ungrateful, and never quite in touch with reality. ~Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave

Depression is rage spread thin. ~George Santayana

To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963  [depression —tg]

Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all. ~Voltaire

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best. ~Paul Valéry, Tel Quel, 1943

Psychoanalysis is a technique we practice at our cost; psychoanalysis degrades our risks, our dangers, our depths; it strips us of our impurities, of all that made us curious about ourselves. ~E.M. Cioran

To be too conscious is an illness — a real thoroughgoing illness. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Loneliness... is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man. ~Thomas Wolfe

Psychiatry is probably the single most destructive force that has affected the American society within the last fifty years. ~Thomas S. Szasz

Why do we pay for psychotherapy when massages cost half as much? ~Jason Love

Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? Could it be that psychology is — a vice? ~Friedrich Nietzsche, alluding to the proverb "Idleness is the beginning of all vices"

Psychoanalysis can provide a theory of 'progress,' but only by viewing history as a neurosis. ~Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death

Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one. ~William Menninger

To mature means to take responsibility for your life, to be on your own. Psychoanalysis fosters the infantile state by considering that the past is responsible for the illness. ~Fritz Perls

This psychiatry [$%!t], apparently what you're feeling is not what you're feeling and what you're not feeling is your real agenda. ~Frank Renzulli, The Sopranos, "Pax Soprana," original airdate 14 February 1999, spoken by the character Tony Soprano

A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work. ~Geoffrey Norman

Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression. ~Dodie Smith, I Capture The Castle

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