Hans Selye and the Birth of the Stress Concept
This volume has been dedicated to assist the reader in developing greater proficiency in the treatment of the human stress response. Such a proficiency must be based upon a foundation of increased phenomenological understanding; more specifically, clinical proficiency is based upon an understanding of the phenomenology of the human stress response. Chapters 1–7 have provided the reader with a scientifically accurate yet clinically relevant introduction to the phenomenology of the stress response and its clinical implications and manifestations. But no review of phenomenology would be complete without a historical review. Virtually every chapter of this volume is replete with important historical references. Yet the authors decided to offer a final, rather unique contribution to this volume. Most of what we know about stress is attributable to one man—Hans Selye. While not always correct, Selye is nevertheless the father of the science of human stress. What drove the scientific investigations of human stress was not only the personality of the man but also his brilliance. We offer this chapter as a means of understanding the “background” of the nature and treatment of the human stress response.