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#1 Old 09-27-2010, 05:19 PM
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So, I have a question I need to ask and I don't mean it to be anything but curious... but I always see everywhere in the media and stuff that people dislike psychologists in general. Can anyone help me understand this? Or am I wrong in my assumption?

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#2 Old 09-27-2010, 05:33 PM
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That's an interesting question.

Firstly, I'd say it's probably due to misconceptions and misunderstanding about what psychology is. This is further obscured by the prevalence of fads and "pop psychology" in popular culture. When the average person hears "psychologist" I suspect that images of Laura Schlessinger or Dr Phil come to mind.

Secondly, psychology is perhaps not viewed as a "hard science" like physics or chemistry due to the difficulty and ethical problems of conducting empirical studies on human subjects. Combined with a large number of competing or contradictory theories this may lead people to conclude that they're "just making it up". It is then viewed as a pseudo-science that exists more for the purpose of manipulating people rather than figuring out what makes them tick.

But I'm just guessing.
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#3 Old 09-27-2010, 05:59 PM
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Well, I haven't seen it to the extent you have but I'm sure a lot of that comes from the stigma associated with mental illness. Many people don't recognize things like depression and anxiety as serious illnesses so a doctor that treats such conditions must be part of the "scam" too.
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#4 Old 09-27-2010, 06:10 PM
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Judging from the people I know who hate them, it would seem that a some folks don't like the idea that their past experiences unconsciously influence the decisions they make. They seem to interpret psychology as claims that they don't really have free will. I can kinda see why that sort of interpretation would piss some people off, particularly members of certain religions.

A few months ago, I got screamed at by my dad for 45 minutes over the phone to basically "pull myself up by my bootstraps, because I just want someone to fix my screw-ups for me, as usual" when I told him I had started going for visits to the campus psychological services center. He's also made a bunch of rude remarks towards his brother who actually works as a prison psychologist, which can be summed up as "He's trying to paint criminal scum as victims." I like to tell myself that the people who knock psychology are the ones who need need a psychologist the most.

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#5 Old 09-27-2010, 06:49 PM
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Lots of reasons, though I think the dislike for them is over-emphasized by the media and comedies and such.

-stigma of mental illness
-a concept that rich people just pay psychologists to listen to them whine
-the fact that it's not a cut-and-dry science
-the fact that many people have negative experiences with individual psychologists and extend that dislike to the whole field. This happens with doctors and dentists too.
-how expensive psychotherapy is/or appears to be.

I've had mixed experiences with psychologists. Some of them have been good and some of them have been bad.
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#6 Old 09-27-2010, 06:58 PM
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also a lot of pretty terrible experiments on animals - many of which seem a lot worse than what general medicine has done do to the intentional infliction of pain and suffering
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#7 Old 09-27-2010, 07:02 PM
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I think that's one of those media "truths" or stereotypes that people believe to be more widespread than it actually is, like kids hate vegetables, women love shopping etc.

Some of it has it's basis in facts. A lot of people don't like psychologists because they think it's bunk, or weak, or stupid to talk to someone about their issues. But really, like someone was saying, I think it's those who could benefit the most that refuse to go.

A lot of people don't want to go digging around in there. They don't want to think or reflect. They also don't want to make changes in their lives.

It takes courage and strength to go to a counselor. It takes admitting there is a problem, asking for help and then taking an active role in trying to fix it (with someone's assistance).

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#8 Old 09-27-2010, 08:57 PM
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I think that's one of those media "truths" or stereotypes that people believe to be more widespread than it actually is, like kids hate vegetables, women love shopping etc.

Some of it has it's basis in facts. A lot of people don't like psychologists because they think it's bunk, or weak, or stupid to talk to someone about their issues. But really, like someone was saying, I think it's those who could benefit the most that refuse to go.

A lot of people don't want to go digging around in there. They don't want to think or reflect. They also don't want to make changes in their lives.

It takes courage and strength to go to a counselor. It takes admitting there is a problem, asking for help and then taking an active role in trying to fix it (with someone's assistance).

Agreed.
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#9 Old 09-27-2010, 09:43 PM
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dont trust the ones that wear brown cardigans
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#10 Old 09-27-2010, 11:05 PM
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dont trust the ones that wear brown cardigans

For some reason, that just made me think of Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People.
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#11 Old 09-27-2010, 11:14 PM
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For starters, there are lots of different theories of psychology. So even if you think one theory is good and you think this or that psychologist is great, you'd still probably dislike all the other psychologists who follow different theories. Those other psychologists would be quacks. Like I think cognitive-behavioral therapy is a good thing, but I think psychoanalysis is bad. Thus, I dislike psychoanalysts.

Then, there's a group of people who consider themselves to be psychiatric survivors. Generally they are people who dislike psychiatry because they feel they've been harmed by it (by being drugged, given electroshock therapy, institutionalized, stigmatized, etc.). Even though psychologists and psychiatrists are different, people get them confused because they do similar things and often work together. So some people dislike psychologists as a result of being a psychiatric survivor.

And of course, there are the things others here have already mentioned: mental illness stigma, assumption that all therapy is quackery, media representations and ignorance, etc.
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#12 Old 09-27-2010, 11:21 PM
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It didn't help that the very first thing my Psych 200 professor said on the first day of class was, "Everything you learned in Psych 100 was bull****. No one believes that crap anymore...." He was quite the character but it made me wonder and I didn't take anymore psych after that.
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#13 Old 09-28-2010, 07:04 AM
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There are catches in psychology. For one, what type of psychologist? Counseling, therapist, child, developmental, organizational (business-based, managerial or even human resources), social, research or something else? Many people hear "psychologist" and automatically go to therapy--yet advertisers and advertising is a branch (in a sense) of psychology. News casters even use psychology. Parents use psychology daily when they have a child.

Simplified:
1) Psychology runs tests and experiments to see what happens.
2) Psychology has contradictory results, they are expected (at times) and influence new tests and ways of thinking (psychology evolves, it has to, as cultures evolve as well).
3) Psychology is against religion and free will--well not exactly, but it explains and shows how people act the same or similar ways with certain conditions, and how people can be influenced without much effort. Based on this, blaming people for their actions, or even holding them completely responsible for their actions makes little sense (although prisons make sense from the point of view of protecting the public from murders and such).
4) Psychology is anti-capatilism --again not exactly, but as within psychology learning that environmental and social situations can help, hinder, or cause problems for people, a system of "rich" and "poor" and where people need to work (destroying family time) to pay bills and eat damages the person and chances of success.


But for why they are hated long version (in general)? Probably a few reasons:
1) They tell people what research shows--and depending on the conditions of research different results can be seen (ex, a nice caring person may torture someone given the right circumstances, and then never torture again [nor think of the torture as torture]). Opposing results in psychology is not only common and expected, but also leads to different ways of thinking or modifying of existing thoughts.

2) Everything you do is wrong, and what you believe is wrong too--basically, they learn from studying and such that families have better chances of healthy children (from all points of view) if two people are around and care for them, society says people have to work, children are (more or less) setup to fail from birth in one way or another. Really--some beliefs are that ADHD and similar may be more environmental (bad or problems in parenting, living situations, etc) than anything. Meaning that parents, either directly (by their actions) or indirectly (through not having a good paying job so children can eat and live in a good place) responsible. Similar are that psychologists know that "birds of a feather flock together" and "opposites attract", people say "that's a contradiction!" yet they themselves have probably used or said similar old wives things without thinking anything of it.

3) The more you learn in psychology, the more you doubt religion, free will, and responsibility. When you discover that a child spanked at the wrong times as a child may turn into a rapist or beat his/her spouse (with high probability), it becomes harder to say that "the majority" of people with "free will" all just "happened" to choose to do the same things. Similar exists with other items--many items with people are known responses, and certain brain conditions lead to certain behaviors that are "against god". Yet if these conditions are biological in nature, and people have no control over it, blaming someone for something they cannot control makes no sense (yet god does) <--- this is one of the big problems within psychology, people who are religious start to have issues and wonder how religion can be right, when they see how many things are outside of a person's control-especially when they can see and test it themselves. Some people actually separate psychology from religion.




And there are other items in psychology that some would hate: babies prefer laying and touching the bare bodies of their parents (i.e. topless or nude), the physical contact allows for better bonding and adaption--this idea (and others in psychology) goes against the "norm" and potentially even religion (ex: at home nudists). Basically psychology learns items that people do not want to know, refuse to listen to, or outright are against because they "know better" even if the proof exists, and they can try it at home.
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#14 Old 09-28-2010, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for your opinions. I was just wondering since I am currently getting my degree in Clinical Psychology (second year doctorate) and I wanted a perspective of people that are not, well, other psychologists and psychologists-to-be. Its good to get an outside perspective.

And JL, I did assume clinical psychologists and forgot aout all others, lol.

Oh, and I have some great discussion points for a degree of free will or free will within certain bounderies but I think that may be a sepearte thread. I personally find the discussion of free will and psychology very interesting.

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#15 Old 09-28-2010, 09:05 AM
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Insightful and interesting post, JLRodgers!

I would like to add that the perception of psychology in my home country (Norway) (and I suspect many other places outside of the US / North America) is somewhat different than what have been outlined in this thread. On the one hand, I think the threshold for seeing a psychologist is a lot higher. Regular people do not go to a psychologist unless they have suffered some kind of obvious serious psychological trauma. Here on VB I get the impression that a relatively high percentage of North Americans have at one point been to a psychologist. On the other hand, psychology is a well respected profession, and "competing" ideas (those that dismiss psychology as quack science) are for the most part considered to be eccentric / junk thinking. Yes, there is a sad history of abuses in psychiatric hospitals, but I think these are now largely seen as things of the past.

I no longer post here after VB was sold in 2012. (See my profile page for details.)
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#16 Old 09-28-2010, 07:27 PM
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A lot of good replies. I'll have to read this thread again when awake.

On the research side (as opposed to therapy and psychiatry)..

Also, some may not consider the results of psychological research useful (sometimes they are not), do not always trust psychologists to be able to truthfully and competently analyze quantitative data (statistical orthodoxy and research sponsorship have meant that sometimes this has been the case) or to properly manipulate experiment variables/environments (some have been invalidated on this basis), and the measured variables and experimental constructs are sometimes not considered as inherent to common experience as F=m*a (and therefore less significant in the eyes of some).

Psychology with a biological basis is a young science, so it is not too surprising that there is so much disagreement (just look at how long modern astronomy took to develop); there are, however, no really hard and descriptive laws regarding human memory and perception (with the possible exception of Weber-Fechner). I think it is easy to make the argument, however, especially now, that as cognitive science continues to develop and military and corporate operations promote research for their own ends, public innovations in psychological research may be of great importance.
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#17 Old 09-28-2010, 08:10 PM
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Psychology has its place in the world of science, but to view your psychologist as a replacement for friends, a religion, or your conscience is something many people rightfully shy away from.

Psychologists do not want to be any of those things. The details vary depending on the theoretical orientation, but psychologists should perform psychotherapy during the sessions to a point of termination of therapy where the person should go out on their own without the need for psychologists. That is why many therapies have homeworks and ivolve (as deemed necessary) families (family therapy), religious institutions (for someone who is religious we are encouraged to have them also talk to their religious leades), etc. Psychologists ethically should never give advice but lead the person through thought processes that will allow the person to come up with their own solutions (as you can see even I have a slant to a behavioral-cognitive orientation with an emphasis on the cognitive). Psychotherapy should be a framework and not a replacement for life. And any psychologist that does act like its supposed to replace real life is not being a good psychologist.

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#18 Old 09-28-2010, 09:37 PM
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For starters, there are lots of different theories of psychology. So even if you think one theory is good and you think this or that psychologist is great, you'd still probably dislike all the other psychologists who follow different theories. Those other psychologists would be quacks. Like I think cognitive-behavioral therapy is a good thing, but I think psychoanalysis is bad. Thus, I dislike psychoanalysts.

Then, there's a group of people who consider themselves to be psychiatric survivors. Generally they are people who dislike psychiatry because they feel they've been harmed by it (by being drugged, given electroshock therapy, institutionalized, stigmatized, etc.). Even though psychologists and psychiatrists are different, people get them confused because they do similar things and often work together. So some people dislike psychologists as a result of being a psychiatric survivor.

And of course, there are the things others here have already mentioned: mental illness stigma, assumption that all therapy is quackery, media representations and ignorance, etc.

Does psychoanalysis even exist anymore?

Existential psychotherapy is clearly the best kind
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#19 Old 09-28-2010, 10:10 PM
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[QUOTE=dormouse;2717766]Does psychoanalysis even exist anymore?
QUOTE]

Actually it does but its nothing like Freud anymore. I saw a lot of moms mention on here about attachment parents which stems from psychoanalyic frameworks. Studies have also shown evidence for many of the defense mechanisms. Also, efficacy studies show that psychoanalysis woks for certain disorders. However, the down side is that psychoanalysis takes a lot longer than CBTs so its more costly and a lot of insurance carriers will not cover it.

And by the way, I have a cognitive-behavioral orientation but I see some use in using the psychoanalytic framework to help in understanding.

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#20 Old 09-28-2010, 11:27 PM
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Psychologists ethically should never give advice but lead the person through thought processes that will allow the person to come up with their own solutions

Absolutely. If you find your psych or counsellor giving you actual advice on what you should do, get a new one.

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#21 Old 09-28-2010, 11:44 PM
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Absolutely. If you find your psych or counsellor giving you actual advice on what you should do, get a new one.

Lol, two different therapists on two separate occasions advised that I quit my job. I did both times and they were both right.
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#22 Old 09-29-2010, 03:58 AM
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Probably mostly cos supposedly they just cater to rich navel-gazers with too much time on their hands.

I remember talking to a girl at a party who was studying a counselling course that wasn't accredited with the APS (or whatever relevant board) and she said something about the difference between a counsellor and a registered psychologist, was that counsellors are there to listen, and psychologists tell you you were molested as a child.
I've been to a few psychologists in my time and I can honestly say that none of them have ever tried to convince me of such a thing.
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#23 Old 09-29-2010, 10:10 AM
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Lol, two different therapists on two separate occasions advised that I quit my job. I did both times and they were both right.

That's good it happened to work out but not ethical or professional for them to do. They're meant to be asking you questions to steer you round to your own conclusions or life decisions, not telling you what to do.

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#24 Old 09-29-2010, 10:31 AM
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That's good it happened to work out but not ethical or professional for them to do. They're meant to be asking you questions to steer you round to your own conclusions or life decisions, not telling you what to do.

I was startled. One of them told me at the end of the very first session, "You could spend a lot of money visiting me every week but frankly your problem is you need a new job". I went a few more times anyway as provided by the company's assistance plan but quickly transitioned from that job into the one I have now and it has worked out for me.
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#25 Old 09-29-2010, 08:42 PM
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I always see everywhere in the media and stuff that people dislike psychologists in general. Can anyone help me understand this?

I have deep seated ambivalence towards psychologists.

I would define the field of psychology as a "semiscience." It isn't quite as bad as pseudoscience, but it's distinctively medieval. The problem, I suspect, is that the sort of person drawn to psychology has an emotional temperament and linguistic talents, rather than a detached temperament and mathematical talents. The result is that subjective opinions backed up with carefully constructed arguments are constantly jamming the process of scientific discovery which depends not on a war of personalities but upon objective study and statistical evaluation. Empiricists are constantly struggling to pull the field forward while armchair theorists perpetually resurrect old ghouls like Freud, Erikson, or Skinner whose work is variously meaningless or downright harmful - yes, studies have shown that psychoanalysis keeps a person sick longer than the absence of all therapy. And as for the common assumption about "the power of the environment," studies show that roughly half of personality is determined by genetics, and the rest by unique environmental experiences; the shared or home environment has a negligible impact on personality.

In fact, I post with some regularity on a psychology board, where even today I was questioned about these things by posters who had never seen or heard of the substantiating studies. For decades research has been pouring out, establishing again and again the heritability of personality factors, and here I am in a psychology forum surrounded by posters who respond to the assertion that "roughly 50% of personality is genetic" by blinking at me as though I invoked sorcery!

It is a sad state of affairs. Psychology lost its greatest proponent with the passing of Hans Eysenck.
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#26 Old 09-29-2010, 08:47 PM
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a detached temperament and mathematical talents.

thats the last kinda personality id want counselling me.
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#27 Old 09-29-2010, 09:02 PM
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...rather than a detached temperament and mathematical talents.

The result is that subjective opinions backed up with carefully constructed arguments are constantly jamming the process of scientific discovery which depends not on a war of personalities but upon objective study and statistical evaluation. Empiricists are constantly struggling to pull the field forward while armchair theorists perpetually resurrect old ghouls like Freud, Erikson, or Skinner...

..."roughly 50% of personality is genetic" by blinking at me as though I invoked sorcery!
.

Psychology is taught with both therapy and statistical classes. There are also empiricists within the field that help the "theorists" form solid studies. I would like to see the data on the temperaments of psychologists. Afterall, everyone getting a PhD needs to write a dissertation that requires advanced statistical skills (such as multivariate statistics).

In clinical psychology, my school only teaches evidence based therapies i.e. therapies that show empirical support. Just because something is a theory does not mean it will be incorporated into therapy until it is empirically supported.

I think what the problem is, is the disconnect between what the field teaches as best practice now and what it taught 10, 20, 30 years ago. There are many therapists out there that have been practicing a while and have not picked up en empirical journal in years. Also, I think there is a lot more emphasis now on empirical evidence then there used to be in the past.

However, I would like to point out that on that list, Skinner actually performed many empirical studies to supprt his theories (and yes, some were cruel to animals) but they have been supported many times over. Although, he was a pure behaviorist so he does not take into account what cannot be seen through behavior so his theories are limited.

And the studies that show a high rate of genetics are well known within the university setting. Disorders such as Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders have about a 50% genetic influence. I am not sure who these psychologists are that you are talking to but I have had miltiple classes where we have discussed the genetic and biological imact on disorders, with certain disorders, like those I mentioned above, having a bigher organic basis versus some others.

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#28 Old 09-30-2010, 05:48 PM
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thats the last kinda personality id want counselling me.

Clinical psychology is a subsection of psychology. Theoretical physicists are not asked nor expected to design bridges; that's what engineers are for. Likewise, sensetive people-persons are needed to work as therapists and counsellors, but I don't think they make good researchers.

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I would like to see the data on the temperaments of psychologists.

I would like to see that as well - remember, I only presented the previous complaint as a suspicion. I have taken psychology classes and classes in the hard sciences, and the experience left me with the sense that the psychology classes were filled with people who were very social, politically motivated, and often experienced a variety of disorders. The hard science classes were full of nondescript introverts.

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Afterall, everyone getting a PhD needs to write a dissertation that requires advanced statistical skills (such as multivariate statistics).

Does Andrew Samuels have a PhD? Even if he does understand statistics, there is a problem somewhere:

From Wikipedia

Psychotherapist and professor Andrew Samuels stated that (the rise of CBT) constitutes "a coup, a power play by a community that has suddenly found itself on the brink of corralling an enormous amount of money. Science isn't the appropriate perspective from which to look at emotional difficulties."


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However, I would like to point out that on that list, Skinner actually performed many empirical studies to supprt his theories

Yes, don't let me paint Skinner with too broad a brush.

Much of last post arises from frustration at hearing Freud's ideas, and Skinner's quotes about beggar men and thieves, and Gardener's Multiple Intelligences parroted throughout psychology boards and psychology classrooms. Alchemy is not taught in chemistry classes, nor Aristotelian elementalism in physics; why is Freud still even discussed? It isn't that the newer research isn't also taught, it's that it's taught as a sort of "equal time" without any acknlowledgement that CBT is superior to psychoanalysis in terms of recovery rates, that most psychological traits have non-zero heritabilities, or that factor analysis consistently finds g in diffuse batteries of mental tests.
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#29 Old 09-30-2010, 07:29 PM
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I know there are many "psychologists" out there but legally only PhD/PsyD trained Clinical Psychologists can claim that title (except in West Virginia).

Also, in regards to your comment about psycholoy classes, I am assuming you are referring to undergraduate (and even Masters level). And yes, I would agree with you there. But when you look at the PhD level, things are very different. I know I am biased when I talk about things because I come from a clinical psychology PhD perspective but I just wanted to make that clear. When I was an undergrad I got a minor is Statistics so I was a TA for a Research Methods class inpsychology, just a basic stats and design class, and I was so dissapointed at the level of students. Thankfully, it is very difficult to get into PhD programs and most of hose people do not move into psychology. My program has 12 PhDs in my class and we had like 300 applications for the 12 spots.

And you are also ot going to find that all psychologists agree. Like I said before, I happen to come from a very empirical background so I am skewed in that perspective. Also, when you lump together counseling psychologists and masters level people, then you are right, there is a lack of empirical knowledge within the profession.

Also, regarding your comment about clinicians not making good researchers... it is a very broad opinion. I'd like to think that I have a good foundating in statistics (sats minor from tha stats department as an undergrad and then 4 stats classes so far as a grad student and counting) and I have started therapy as well and I've been doing good according to my supervisors. And all of my cohort is in a similar situation and many want to be more of a researcher than therapist after finishing the program. I just wanted to clarify that it probably depends on the program and the level of education (PhD vs. Masters).

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#30 Old 09-30-2010, 08:08 PM
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Oh, hey. I hate psychologists! (I even got my degree in psychology, and I still hate them.) Well, the ones I've met, anyway.

I have seen 14 different psychologists personally, while dealing with a host of issues. I tried for years and years and years to find one who would work for me. I got recommendations, went on whims, did research, went to major universities, paid out my ass for "great" ones, etc. etc. etc.

I hated (or at least disliked) every single one of them. Not as people, mind. As therapists. Why? Plain and simple, because they were stupider than I am.

I could talk circles around them if I wanted to, and I frequently did. None of them provided any challenge or insight or gave me anything worth thinking about that I hadn't already thought about six ways over myself. As a result, I was unable to have any respect for them. (The very first one gave me probably the best "diagnosis" of the bunch. After 16 weeks of therapy, she said, "Hillary, you're just too intelligent and too intuitive for your own good." Outstanding, darling. You got a pill for that? No? Great. Then how about you spout ridiculous crap about your pet theory or therapy. Which are you creaming your pants over this month? EMDR? Great. I'm bored enough; let's discuss.)

*sigh* Idiots.

Anyway... I should say that during the course of these 14 therapists, I only had ONE psychiatrist. From the moment I met him, I never felt the need to change. The man was utterly BRILLIANT. And he never ever let me get away with any bull****. He'd call me on stuff that no one else would. He'd lock my insanity train down in the friggin' station. No matter how bad I felt when I walked in there, and no matter how I spent my time with him (and I often spent it a sobbing, suicidal mess) I walked out feeling stronger and more hopeful. Not once did he cater to any of my crap. He never treated me as if I were breakable or needing any coddling. Yet not once was he anything less than compassionate, caring, and professional.

He was a Harvard-educated, genius, lovely, wonderful, amazing, glowing diamond in the rough. He didn't save my life single-handed or anything, but in the agonizing darkness that almost claimed me, he shined enough light so I could see a way to drag myself out.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take a whole lot of intelligence or insight or shrewd deductive skills to become a psychologist. So in my experience, a large percentage of them are pathetically stupid. I guess that doesn't matter for certain people, certain situations, or if you just want somewhere to vent for an hour a week or something. But in my case, I needed someone smarter than I was. And though I made heroic efforts to find someone who fit the bill, it just didn't happen. I really wish my shrink had been able to be my talk therapist too. That would have rocked my face off. I guess it doesn't matter. Even though it took more brute force on my part (and probably on his), I got here in the end.


ETA: I should clarify. I don't think ALL therapists are stupid. I'm sure there are some fabulous ones out there. I have at least two friends who became therapists and I have no doubt they will help a great number of people. Obviously, the 14 I met do not constitute a massive sample size. I'm just saying it became apparent it's a lot easier than I would have thought to be an idiot and still get the necessary qualifications.
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