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How a child psychologist looked after Mr. Rogers

The late child psychologist Margaret McFarland, a Teachers College alumna who mentored the legendary Fred Rogers and served as the off-screen advisor on the show Mister Rogers ’Neighborhood, was recently featured on a belated obituary by doing New York Times “Overlooked series.

McFarland who completed their Ph.D. in psychology at TC in 1938, was chief advisor to the acclaimed children's show for 20 years and spoke to Rogers regularly until her death in 1988, the writes Wrong' Christina Caron. Rogers died in 2003.

Their advice became so valuable to Rogers that he took extensive handwritten notes and recorded their meetings on audio tapes, Caron reports.

For her part, McFarland, a native of Pittsburgh, where the show was taped, and a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh, called Rogers a man who didn't block the lines of communication between his childhood and manhood, adding repression, you see, isn't his main defense.

Their advice became so valuable to Rogers that he made extensive handwritten notes and recorded their meetings on audio tapes.

- Die New York Times Overlooked story

It was McFarland who led Rogers to go from manipulating dolls to appearing on screen himself and telling him, Fred, the kids need to see you. They need you to help them distinguish between reality and fantasy.

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McFarland worked with pediatrician and author Benjamin Spock and psychologist Erik Erikson. The Wrong History establishes her belief that an adequate understanding of child development is critical to solving many of the problems humans grapple with.

Read the New York Times Overlooked obituary on Margaret McFarland

Keywords: In Memoriam Psychology

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