Inner Humanism was developed by two prominent psychotherapists and
child development experts in Chicago, Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.
and William J. Pieper, M.D. The Piepers are married and the parents of
Over the course of professional training, clinical practice, and raising children,
the Piepers became increasingly dissatisfied with prevailing psychological
theories of child development and psychotherapy. They embarked on their
own investigations to provide better answers to fundamental questions: How
can parents raise happy children? Why do many people feel unhappy even
when they attain success in love and work? Why are people not living the
lives they want? What can be done to help them?
For almost two decades they conducted naturalistic clinical inquiries, scholarly
analysis of preceding psychological and philosophical work, and their own
original theory development. Their investigations forged groundbreaking
advances regarding the nature of emotional pain, how it can be treated
within a psychotherapeutic relationship, and how parents can raise children
who experience pleasurable inner happiness and possess the capacities
to create loving relationships and productive lives.
The Piepers’ work culminated in an innovative approach to psychotherapy
they called, Inner Humanism. Their work was published in a seminal
academic book for professionals under the name given their unified theory
of child development, psychopathology, and psychotherapy, Intrapsychic
Humanism: An Introduction to a Comprehensive Psychology and Philosophy
of Mind (Falcon II Press, 1990).
Inner Humanism has been applied in a variety of settings for almost thirty
years now. In an early demonstration project, the Piepers and their colleagues
successfully used Inner Humanism to treat adolescent wards of the state deemed
“untreatable” by previous mental health professionals due to the severe and
chronic nature of the youths’ emotional problems (Pieper & Pieper, 1995).
William Pieper, M.D., Stuart Brent, and Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. at the book signing and publication celebration for Intrapsychic Humanism at Stuart Brent Bookstore, formerly on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The Piepers practice Inner Humanism in their Private Practices,
treating children, adolescents, and adults, as well as counseling parents.
They also train and act as consultants to mental health
professionals in the fields of Social Work, Psychology, and Psychiatry,
including the Psychotherapists profiled here, who are among the most
experienced Psychotherapists using Inner Humanism.
The Piepers published a best-selling book on their new parenting approach, Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline that Will Make You a Better Parent and your Child a Better Person by Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. and William J. Pieper, M.D. (Harvard Common Press, 1999). They went onto publish a self-help book for adults, Addicted to Unhappiness: Free Yourself from Moods and Behaviors that Undermine Relationships, Work, and the Life You Want (McGraw-Hill, 2002, 2004).
Dr. Martha Heineman Pieper was awarded her undergraduate degree
from Radcliffe College (Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude), and
her Doctorate in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago.
She has served on the editorial boards of professional journals such as,
Social Work, Illinois Child Welfare, and Smith College Studies in Social
Work. In addition to her clinical writings, she has published extensively
on the philosophy of science and research. Dr. Heineman Pieper is on
the Board of Directors of Smart Love Family Services and The Intrapsychic
Dr. William J. Pieper was awarded his undergraduate and medical
degrees from the University of Illinois. He completed Psychiatry Residencies
both at the University of Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute in Chicago in
adult psychiatry and at the Institute for Juvenile Research in Chicago in child
and adolescent psychiatry. In 1975 Dr. Pieper completed advanced training
as a Psychoanalyst, being awarded certificates in both Child and Adult
Psychoanalysis from the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. He has taught
adult and child psychotherapy courses at the University of Chicago, School
of Social Service Administration and at the Institute for Psychoanalysis. Dr.
Pieper is on the Board of Directors of The Intrapsychic Humanism Society.
The Piepers have been featured in television and radio broadcasts, in a
website, BabyCenter.com, and in a monthly parenting column that ran for
many years in Chicago Parent. Their Smart Love column in Chicago Parent has been reproduced in three handbooks, Parenting Questions-Smart Love
Answers, where their responses to parents’ questions over the years are
For more information on publications, Smart Love Family Services, and
The Intrapsychic Humanism Society, see Resources.
You can learn more about the background theory behind this psychotherapy approach by clicking on the link, What is Inner Humanism? and then visiting the page how does it address unhappiness and unlock happiness?