I am not sure if Psychology is romanticised or misunderstood? Maybe I have started off with too much of a provocative question! But do you blame me? Maybe it is because the study of the mind is sometimes vilified in our society? Hopefully it is only my perception? Or could it be my fear; that Psychology is misunderstood, and anything related to mental health vilified.
I am a Psychologist, and I am “in love” with Psychology. Every day I put ‘It’ into practice. Every day I learn about ‘It’. Every day that passes, I realise how useful ‘It’ is. Thus, I am going to assume, and hope, that Psychology is romanticised in our collective unconscious. My assumption is informed by several encounters I had with individuals to whom I disclosed that I was a Psychologist. My revelation was met many a time with intrigue, surprise, awe, and sometimes even with a dash of fear and distrust.
“Can you read my mind?”
“Do you know what I am thinking?”
“Why do you think I am too ‘nice’ of an individual? Does it have to do with my childhood?”
“Why do people walk all over me?”
“I tend to lose my temper often. Am I hyperactive?”
“Oqqow…now you are going to know that I have issues”.
These are only some of the questions which I have been asked during family weddings, casual meetings and dinners. As you can imagine, I was not always judged positively by my friends, as I was either unable to answer their questions, or I simply refused.
“For any Psychologist worth his salt would be able to answer those questions”, my friends assumed.
The term Psychologist does tend to elicit images of bearded figures staring at maladjusted individuals whilst they lounge comfortably on a 16th century antique couch. The image of Freud or Jung practicing psychoanalysis has influenced millions. Moreover, it has impacted greatly the way people come to understand psychology, and the way people expect a Psychologist to behave; to look like; to talk; and to ‘be’. One might argue that such images are as stereotypic as much as they are romantic, and must have been reinforced by the media and the movie industry over the years.
Stereotypes are unavoidable.
Yet, I feel that the Freudian stereotype, whilst being romantic, may be very limiting. Psychology is so much more. It is a vast discipline founded on scientific principles.
My objective in this blog is not to challenge these stereotypes, or change the image of a Psychologist. Actually, I must confess that I too am personally very attached to this Freudian depiction or image of a Psychologist. I am also very grateful for the legacy that Freud, Jung and their colleagues have left. However, I am also very conscious of the great strides Psychology and Psychologists have made in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Sound, rigorous and thorough research has influenced the various practices that today constitute the science that is Psychology.
Thus, my intention here is to share my love of Psychology, my love of Science and my love of Research, and hopefully show how useful and valuable these can be. Also, I hope to be able to provide interesting perspectives and insights on various topics related to Psychology theory and practice; with a specific focus on education, child development and learning.