Dr. Joyce Brothers: The Founding Mother of TV Psychology


Dr. Joyce Brothers: The Founding Mother of TV Psychology

Dr. Joyce Brothers: The Founding Mother of TV Psychology

Equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of boxing, a young Joyce Brothers competed on The $64,000 Questionand became the first woman to win the top prize money. That triumphant debut in 1955 was the initial step toward a career as a media pioneer. Through her own advice programs and perennial appearances on talk shows—as well as episodic television—Brothers became one of the most well-known figures of the 20th century. For more than four decades, viewers could count on her authoritative, calm response to almost any issue, from marital and financial woes to the Space Shuttle disaster.

In Dr. Joyce Brothers: The Founding Mother of TV Psychology, Kathleen Collins explores how a clever businesswoman provided a mass-scale service for a never-ending demand: helping viewers understand themselves. Collins explains how Brothers’ longevity on television was in large part afforded by her symbiotic relationship with the medium. She played other roles in addition to–and interdependent on–that of media psychologist. Her numerous appearances on variety shows, sitcoms, and dramas kept her on the screen and in the public eye, creating both a persona as celebrity professional as well as professional celebrity.

This portrait of Brothers’ multi-layered career also provides a means by which to observe U.S. cultural history, addressing cultural preoccupations with television and self-help obsessed audiences looking for guidance in reality TV. Drawing on primary sources from Brothers’ personal papers and published interviews—as well as interviews the author conducted with several of Joyce’s former colleagues and her daughter, Lisa Arbisser—Collins provides an engaging, informative, and thought provoking look at this iconic figure.

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Collins delivers a straightforward biography of psychologist Joyce Brothers, who was ubiquitous on TV from the 1950s through the 1990s as the public face of psychology. Poised, smart, savvy, and ambitious, Brothers served as ‘a conduit for learning about particularly American problems and fixations.’ Collins focuses on Brothers’s television career, proposing the thesis that Brothers personified psychology for the American public after WWII. Brothers used television to gain exposure, and exposure allowed her to charge substantial speaking fees, which were her ‘bread and butter.’ …. The book will leave readers better informed about this major figure in popular psychology. (Publishers Weekly)

Early radio and television has many pioneers, but Dr. Joyce Brothers was a phenomenon. Becoming a contestant on The $64,000 Question quiz show in 1955, the psychologist used her excellent memory and won it all, becoming the first female to do so. Fame followed, and she started a popular radio call-in show and later a television show on which she answered questions from viewers about their life problems. This pop-psychology format did not go without criticism from her peers, but later the American Psychological Association commended Brothers for removing the stigma of psychotherapy and bringing it to the masses. Loving the limelight, she used every opportunity to promote psychology by any means. She appeared on TV sit-coms, drama shows, and interview shows, staying in the public eye for decades. She was a tireless self-promoter. When there was a crisis in the world, she was the one commentators turned to for calm, reasonable advice. This book is an intriguing, well-researched account of the career of the popular psychologist and her impact on media-based psychology. Six chapters cover her start as a contestant, her mass appeal, and her accomplishments. Included is an impressive bibliography and index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty. (CHOICE)

Dr. Joyce Brothers:The Founding Mother of TV Psychology is a thoughtful, enjoyable and long overdue look at Brothers’ career and legacy. (Bitch)

This book is a careful analysis of one of the most successful and pioneering women in television, Dr. Joyce Brothers. In particular, author Collins documents the entrepreneurial and crafty path-breaking rise (not without difficulties) of the first woman to bring psychology into the mainstream. Collins notes that ‘Brothers is an essential thread woven into the fabric of American and popular culture’ (p. xiii). She paved the way for many women and men—from Oprah Winfrey to Dr. Phil—to create a media space for popular psychology applied to everyday living. The thoroughly researched book is engagingly written, and does an admirable job of placing Brothers’ contribution into the history of television psychology and pop culture. (Journal of Communication)

Collins spends a fair amount of time on Brothers’ ability to scarf up information and repeat it in terms that the typical middle-brow American could adsorb. She came across as professional . . . astute, concerned, and supremely wise. She didn’t have the usual professional shrink’s habit of using big words. And, she was always alert to the television stations most important objective . . . that is, to make buckets of money. (RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities)

The well-researched and detailed brushstrokes of Kathleen Collins recreate the focus, importance, and playful—and sometime biting—humor of my mother, Dr. Joyce Brothers, whose household name and societal impact remain widely acknowledged to this day. This book chronicles her meteoric rise to fame to her shrewd understanding of the needs of the American psyche from the bedroom to the boardroom. While introducing facts that were not even part of the Brothers’ family lore, Collins explains the evolution of media psychology through the decades and the role my mother played. (Lisa Brothers Arbisser M.D., daughter of Dr. Joyce Brothers)

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An expertly written account. Having had the pleasure of working with Dr. Brothers in the world of late night comedy for a decade, I was touched to read this. It truly captures Brothers’ intelligence, wit, vision, and unwavering belief in herself! This book is the blueprint for anyone hoping to map a course through today’s enormous and challenging media landscape: It tells the engaging, inspiring, and often stunning truth behind America’s earliest and most successful multi-media mogul. (Brian McCann, Emmy and WGA Award-winning writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien)

Most psychologists, and certainly the American Psychological Association, had no vision of the benefits Dr. Joyce Brothers was creating regarding acceptance, awareness, and access to psychological help. She normalized behaviors that people previously thought were just “crazy” and—just as importantly—she normalized psychology and psychologists. Collins succeeded in finally articulating for the world the major contribution made by a psychologist who spent much of her career dismissed by her psychologist colleagues. Dr. Brothers moved psychology out of the shadows and in front of an audience hungry to hear that others shared their secrets. (Elaine Rodino, Former President of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology, a division of the APA)

With a soft voice and steely resolve, Dr. Joyce Brothers was a pioneer who forged a path for women in the male-dominated field of psychology and provided understanding of a nuanced discipline to the masses. Having worked with Dr. Brothers on Good Morning America many years ago, I can assure the reader that Collins provides a fine examination of the life and career of this inspiring woman. This book captures the Joyce Brothers I knew and credits her contribution to career equality, popular culture, and mental health. (George Merlis, former executive producer for Good Morning America)

This book is a treasure trove of information about Dr. Joyce Brothers’s life and work and how she impacted the future of media psychology. Joyce had a gift and knew it—and she knew she needed to share it with the world. A great person doing great things, Joyce was a beacon of hope and positivity for so many during her life, but she also had a sixth sense for self-promotion that gave her gravitas in the field. Joyce was tenacious, and her legacy speaks volumes about her fearlessness. (Sanford Brokaw, former publicist for Dr. Joyce Brothers, The Brokaw Company)

About the Author
Kathleen Collins is associate professor and librarian at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) in New York City. She has graduate degrees in psychology, journalism, and library science and is an experienced author who has studied and written about television, media, and popular culture both historical and current. She is the author of Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows (2009).

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Get Dr. Joyce Brothers: The Founding Mother of TV Psychology immediately when you secure your purchase by clicking on the order button on this page Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 2, 2016) - Language: English / Author : Kathleen Collins / Size: 8.0 MB...

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