You really should thank me. If you read this blog or you follow me on twitter or facebook I’m doing you a serious favor that you probably don’t realize: I read psychology-related blogs and news stories and pass along to you the ones worth taking note of. Maybe part of why you don’t realize what a service I’m doing for you is that there aren’t that many worth sharing.
If you know me well you’ve probably already gotten over the contradiction I’m about to express: Yes, I’m a psychotherapist (in New York City, the land of psychotherapists, no less) who isn’t so into psychology. It’s not that I’m not into my work (I love being a therapist) it’s that I see a limit to what psychology, as a discipline, has to offer vis-a-vis the activity of helping people create their lives (what I take to be the sine qua non of therapy). I realize that for many the practice of psychotherapy and the discipline of psychology are more or less synonymous. In my book, they’re not. And more importantly, they don’t need to be.
Perhaps it’s because of that seeming contradiction that I’d like to share with you some of the news stories that I haven’t shared here or on twitter.
This just in!
I should be careful to say that not nearly everything psychology-related that comes my way lacks value. There are plenty of people doing research of real value that I make use of in my daily life and practice.
But so much isn’t.
Take a look at three of today’s headlines from Psych Central: Brain Appreciates Harmony Rather than Discord, Eating Disorders Tied To Perception of Body Image and Americans Want Self-Respect (the picture that goes with the last one is particularly choice). One gets the impression from these posts that the psychologists who wrote them have only recently emerged from a cave or a decades-long slumber to discover what the rest of us take to be fairly obvious features of daily life.
The truth is that many in the field won’t consider even these most obvious features of the world to be valid unless observed or verified by academically-validated psychological research. It is this insistence that nothing is real until a psychologist researches it that contributes to my dismay with the field of psychology. If these headlines reflect what psychology has to offer (they are on the front page of one of the most-read blogs in the field) then where does that leave those of us who want something more?