Dr Malcolm Parlett says: “In my working career there have been three phases, each pursuing a branch of psychology different in content, methodology, and epistemology. The first phase was in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge studying short term memory. I became sceptical regarding the ultimate value of my doctoral research. This prompted a change of direction. My second career phase began at MIT, where I made studies of students’ learning styles and pursued anthropological explorations of their academic milieu. I continued this work at the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer for five years, developing the approach of ‘illuminative evaluation’ – studying teaching and learning in a more anthropological fashion – as a counter to the remote statistical ways of evaluating educational success.
I then moved full-time to working as a consultant to colleges, universities, and educational foundations in both the US and the UK, and later in third world countries as well. The third phase began in 1975, when I experienced the gestalt therapy tradition first hand and was instantly impressed. Training in this quintessentially holistic approach led to working in a more active role with individuals, couples, and small groups. Long-term research interests in teaching and learning continued alongside editing the British Gestalt Journal, establishing training programmes, holding four visiting professorships, and supporting the professionalisation of psychotherapy in the 1980s. My gestalt therapy experiences – both as a student and later as a teacher – led to studying developmental changes.
This became the foundation for research into Whole intelligence that continues to the present time. My book, Future Sense: Five explorations of Whole Intelligence for a world that’s waking up (published in 2015) sparked international interest and currently the members of the Whole Intelligence Research Fellowship comprise consultants and therapists from five countries. Our aim is to bring the Whole Intelligence approach to a far wider audience, in the belief that – with a possibly imminent tipping point globally – Whole Intelligence studies can contribute to the necessary change in consciousness.”