Gripes about psychology
People have a lot of assumptions about
psychology. After studying for four years, I have heard, “So, you're going
to analyze me?” or “Good, I have lots of problems,” about as often as I
have mentioned my field of study. That would be fine and dandy if I was
studying Clinical psych. But I'm not. There is more to psych than Freud
and psychoanalysis! “Sure,” you say, “there are lab rats too.” No! Psych
is the study of behaviour. Any behaviour.
For my honours thesis, I studied how
we identify faces. In my second year, I looked at human memory for pictures.
Sure, plenty of people study depression, sexual disorders and schizophrenia,
but many others research human language acquisition, wolves’ social hierarchies,
neural pathways for hearing and, yes, rats.
It really annoys me that people are
so ill-informed about all the varied dimensions of psychology. To Mr. Joe
Public, psychology equals the “talking cure.” And he assumes that every
psychologist does that. Where does this idea come from? It certainly doesn't
come from the school system, because (at least in Nova Scotia) psych is
completely absent from the curriculum. (I know, deep cuts… keep the essentials…)
The misconception is probably caused by the media, but that catch-all is
too deep to get into.
In any case, if you've put up with me this
far, at least you know that not all psychologists say, “I see, tell me