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Angela H. Pfaffenberger, Ph.D., is a personality theorist who has made significant contributions to the fields of humanistic psychology and health psychology.


Dr. Angela Pfaffenberger, born June 21, 1957 in Germany, works in the areas of personality and applied psychology and is also licensed as an acupuncturist. She is a graduate of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Franscisco, California, where she acquired a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Pfaffenberger is currently a faculty member of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) and sees clients in her private practice.

The focus of Dr. Pfaffenberger's research is on self-actualization theory and optimal development in adulthood.
1 Notes. In the spirit of positive psychology, Dr. Pfaffenberger seeks to make a contribution to a better understanding of how healthy adults can meet the challenges of midlife, make meaningful contributions to their social environment, and progress to advanced stages of development as conceptualized by Abraham Maslow.
2 Notes. Dr. Pfaffenberger has argued through successive publications that self-actualization as described by Abraham Maslow is an advanced stage of development that can be seen as being located at the upper end of the developmental spectrum of Jane Loevinger's model of ego development. This conceptualization of adult health moves beyond a focus of subjective happiness and emphasizes mature meaning making, social awareness, and interpersonal complexity linking it thus to the theories of Robert Kegan and Ken Wilber.
3. Notes Dr. Pfaffenberger has published on diverse topics related to applied health psychology, including psychotherapy outcome research.
4 Notes. Dr. Pfaffenberger was one of the first acupuncturists to publish on the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. Her early claims that Chinese Medicine is a viable treatment modality for fibromyalgia have been supported by an increasing amount of scientific research in recent years.
5. Notes Dr. Pfaffenberger also pioneered an innovative treatment approach to weight mangement. This multimodal treatment for obesity has received attention from the media because it emphasizes a novel integration of cognitive behavioral therapy with Chinese medicine.
6. Notes Dr. Pfaffenberger currently maintains a private practice in Salem, Oregon. Her teaching activity and current research explore the integration of acupuncture and psychotherapy for pain disorders and psychological problems. Dr. Pfaffenberger is a professional member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Humanistic Psychology.


  • Pfaffenberger, A. (1999). Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Oriental Medical Journal, 7(3/4), 93-98.
  • Pfaffenberger, A. (2005). Optimal adult development: An inquiry into the dynamics of growth. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 45 (3), 279-301.
  • Pfaffenberger, A. (2006). Critical issues in therapy outcome research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 46 (3), 336-351.
  • Pfaffenberger, A. (2007). Optimal adulthood: The need for a reassessment. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 47(4), 501-523.
  • Pfaffenberger, A. (under review). Exploring the pathways to postconventional development.
  • Pfaffenberger, A., Marko, P., & Combs, A. (Eds.) (under review). The postconventional self. Empirical research in advanced personality development. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.


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