Associate Professor of Psychology
Clinical, Community


Psychology and the Ethnic Minority Experience

I am interested in the traditional clinical topics of psychodynamically oriented psychodiagnosis and psychotherapy and in the psychological experience of people of color in America, especially the psychological experience of African-Americans. I am also quite interested in the recent resurgence of humanistic and "teleologic" themes in psychology and the implications of these notions for psychodynamic clinical psychology and for multicultural psychology. The psychological perspectives I am interested in try to spell out the nature of "agency" in human behavior. Such points of view note that people are not just reactive to stimuli and events but are proactive in the situations they confront. One perspective that explicates this idea argues that 1) subjectively held intentions and purposes are as important as environmental contingencies in governing the way people behave; 2) "dialectical" thinking, the capacity to imagine opposite or alternative conceptions of life situations, is frequently used by people to guide their behavior; and 3) human mentality actively constructs the psychological reality it experiences as being meaningful.

In most of my writing I have attempted to apply these notions to an analysis of the psychology of the Black experience in America. In my book, Psychology and African Americans: A humanistic approach, I present the thesis that Blacks have survived their oppressive history in the United States by actively and intentionally bringing to their lives conceptions of their competence that have been at (dialectic) variance to the judgments made of them by the majority society. I maintain that the same psychological process applies to other non-White minorities in America. In other writing I discuss how a systematic teleologic point of view can elucidate some of the basic underlying assumptions of psychodynamic psychology more generally.

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PhD, University of Michigan, 1963 (clinical psychology)
MA, University of Michigan, 1958 (psychology)
BA, Antioch College, 1957 (psychology)

ABPP, Diplomate in Clinical Psychology

- American Psychological Association, Fellow
- New York State psychological Association
- Society for Personality Assessment, Fellow
- National Association of Black Psychologists

Fellowships and Honors:

- President, Division 24, Theoretical and Philosophica Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2003-2004
- "Golden Dozen" Award for excellence in teaching, NYU Faculty of Arts and Science, 1988
- Martin Luther King, Jr./Rosa Parks Visiting Professor in Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1987
- "Scholar of the Year" Award, National Association of Black Psychologists, 1983

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Selected Publications

Jenkins, A.H. (2005). Creativity and resilience in the African American experience. The Humanistic Psychologist, 33, 25-33.

Jenkins, A.H. (2004). A humanistic approach to Black psychology. in R. Jones (Ed.), Black Psychology, 4th ed, (pp.135-155). Hampton, VA:Cobb & Henry.

Jenkins, A.H. (2001). Individuality in cultural context: The case for psychological agency. Theory and Psychology, 11, 347-362.

Jenkins, A.H. (2001). Humanistic psychology and multiculturalism: A review and reflection. In K. Schneider, J. Bugental, & J. Pierson (Eds.), The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology (pp. 37-45). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Jenkins, A.H. (1997). The empathic context in psychotherapy with people of color. In A. Bohart and L. Greenberg (Eds.), Empathy reconsidered: New directions in psychotherapy. APA Books: Washington, DC.

Jenkins, A.H. (1997). Free will and psychotherapy. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 17, 1-13.

Jenkins, A.H. (1995). Psychology of African Americans: A humanistic approach. Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon. (Also published as Turning corners: The psychology of African Americans. Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon.)

Jenkins, A.H. (1992). Hermeneutics versus science in psychoanalysis: A "rigorous" humanistic view. Psychoanalytic Psychology.

Jenkins, A.H. (1990). Self-disclosure and the non-White ethnic minority patient, in G. Stricker and M.N. Fisher (Eds.), Self-disclosure in the therapeutic relationship. New York: Plenum.

Jenkins, A.H. (1989). Psychological agency: A crucial concept for minorities. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 9, 4-11.

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Adelbert H. Jenkins
Associate Professor of Psychology

Department of Psychology
New York University
715 Broadway, Room 203
New York, NY 10003


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