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The art of people watching.

Updated on April 12, 2016
David Attenborough.
David Attenborough. | Source
Alien. | Source
Restaurant where people gather.
Restaurant where people gather. | Source
Chimps:  How very similar people look to apes when observing humans.
Chimps: How very similar people look to apes when observing humans. | Source
Observing seals and how they interact is like people watching.
Observing seals and how they interact is like people watching. | Source
Observing a flock of birds also similar to people watching.
Observing a flock of birds also similar to people watching. | Source

Sitting in any cafe, pub, restaurant I often engage in the art of people watching and it never ceases to amaze me or amuse me when I sit from my vantage point watching all these human beings around me getting up to what ever their daily life consists of.

I watch people standing in line for their drinks and food all chatting away or just standing silent.

I see people sat at their tables talking away or reading a paper or playing with their i - phones or laptops or tablets. I see people sat on their own like me contemplating the world around them or just with expressions and attitude like they have the weight of the world upon their shoulders.

You see all age groups too from 6 to 60 and beyond and you observe how they interact with one another. Young couples with babies and children, couples sat together romatically looking into each others eyes, people enjoying their food and drink of any age, people having food and drinks to go, others on their lunch breaks and some actually working on their laptops as they have a working lunch and business people conducting meetings whilst enjoying their drinks and food.

People like David Attenborough would have field day watching what I am observing if you were studying humans as a species and what they do. Infact sometimes I imagine myself as an extraterrestrial observing humans and how possibly fascinated they would be with us if studying us or indeed how horrified they might be.

Watching humans is no different to watching seals lying on a beach or a flock of birds its the observation of and study of a species.

When I studied counsilling our tutor would tell us watch our fellow human beings and see how they inter - act, how they dress, how they talk, it tells you a lot about people and it really does.

I would recommend people watching to any one who is mildly interested in humans as a species or in the study of humans in general in whatever profession.

My story.

I have an understanding of counsilling and mentoring as I have been to college and did levels 1, 2, and 3 in Counsilling because at the time I thought I would like to work as a Counsillor. I was suffering with and still suffer sometimes with depression and anxiety and I read that many people who have suffered this and other forms of mental illness often venture into counsilling either as a study or with study and then a career.

I learn't the various forms of counsilling which were psychodynamic, person led and humanistic. Right away my tutor said because of my analytical brain psychodynamic counsilling would be the school of thought for me.

Freud was the instigater of the psychodynamic school of counsilling but apparently as a form of counsilling it is not used much now instead humanistic and person led counsilling are the order of the day mostly for counsillors.

So finally this leads me to what my tutor said about observing human behaviour as if you were an anthropologist and how helpful it turned out to be then and now.

Founder of Psychodynamic Counsilling:  Freud.
Founder of Psychodynamic Counsilling: Freud. | Source

Defintion of people watching.

People watching acccording to its definition on Wikipedia is as follows: Involving picking up on idiosyncracies to guess another persons story. It can also if necessary involve eaves dropping on any conversations a group of people may be having.

For some it is a hobby that they enjoy where as others may be engaging in it and yet do not realize their doing it.

Peope watching is not to be confused with naturalistic observation which has a more scientific core as its modus operandi where as people watching is usually a more casual affair.

Diffrent types of counsilling.

First of all we start with:

Psychodynamic counsilling as pinoneered by Austrian Freud based on his early sessions on the couch. Psychodynamic counsilling is an analytical form of counsilling where by a persons problems are cented around when they were a child and how this has affected the persons development in later life.

The Edypus principle is one such term used in this style of counsilling which is about a how a child is fixated with one parent and not another.

Many lurid sexual attachments have been linked to this type of counsilling when it came to clients, however, later practioners of this form of counsilling distanced themselves like Erik Erikson.

Then we have:

Humanistic counsilling and person centred counsilling which both take a more person centred way of counsilling letting the client do the talking rather than the counsillor taking the lead as it is with psychodynamic counsilling.

The above types of counsilling are the preferred types used today by many counsillors.


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