This article is inspired by the many times I have been told a somewhat peculiar commentary about my profession. And not only to me, but many of those who read this text and are dedicated to psychology must be thinking the same thing.
Dismantling some myths about the profession of psychologist
There are many branches of psychology, but popularly not all of them are known. When someone thinks of a psychologist, he or she is automatically associated with the clinical specialty, that is, the discipline that studies behavioral disorders and then subjects the patient to therapy to improve his or her quality of life. Coincidentally, the profession of clinical psychologist is the most exploited by the Hollywood film industry and is also closely related to the most famous clinical psychologist in history, Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis and the vast world of dreams.
For this reason, when someone asks you what your profession is and you answer that you are a psychologist, almost instantly they have already imagined you sitting in a chair with a patient on the couch.
“Couch: couch/bed to lie down on and
closely related to psychoanalysis.”
Once we assume that you are dedicated to psychology, and although nobody knows that you are not a clinical specialist, one of the phrases that we have heard the most since we started studying the fantastic career of Psychology usually comes to mind.
Leaving aside other recurring questions also well known as: guess what I think, are you psychoanalyzing me? Or did I dream of a castle tonight, does that mean anything to you?
“Psychologists study that career because they have some problem and want to cure themselves (commonly called “crazy” or “deranged”)”.
Let us reflect on this sentence. As in all careers, there are people who are peculiar, strange, conflictive and even with serious problems in their behaviour . As in the psychology career, this also happens in all disciplines, as in all jobs and above all as in life.
People with more or less serious problems are to be found in every corner of our society, and also some in the faculty. I bear witness to this , because I have had the “pleasure” of meeting several “peculiarities” that come from the same guild.
But this doesn’t mean we should make the exception the rule . There are also people who study this race in order to better understand why they are the way they are. Although we have all once had such thoughts in our heads, simply because we are human beings and thoughtful. But my advice to people who are considering studying psychology with the only interest of trying to solve their problems, is to go to a consultation and try to solve your possible “problems” or concerns that way. In the end, you will probably save yourself a lot of time and go straight to the goal.
We psychologists have emotions, even if it is incredible
As the title of the article says, psychologists are people . We don’t do everything right, nor can we surely “cure” ourselves, as many believe. We have tools to manage some situations more easily, but we don’t do magic.
We make mistakes, we fall, we hurt ourselves and we also suffer . We have difficulties, complicated circumstances and less bearable moments, like everyone else. We have the right to be wrong, like everyone else, and that does not make us any less professional. We have to take into account that our attitudes, emotions and situations affect us subjectively, so we have to discern very well what affects us on a personal or professional level. If what is happening to us is really unavoidable, we have to start solving that problem and that situation in order to do our job in the best possible way.
Psychologists who come for consultation
Psychologists often also need to come in for consultation to resolve certain issues that affect them. Does it sound strange for a psychologist to go to another psychologist? Well, it shouldn’t be.
For example, a psychologist may need to go to therapy because he cannot elaborate on the death of a family member or loved one . It may happen that this person goes to a consultation so that another professional can help him/her in the accompaniment of this process called grief.
Grief has different phases, and you don’t always move quickly from one state to another, but you can stay in one of those phases for a longer or shorter time or even get stuck in one of them. Especially in this society where we are not taught to grieve normally, it seems that we have very little time to overcome a grief and not everyone needs the same time to assimilate the loss of that person who is now gone.
Each person deals with bad moments in his own way
Even many people get stuck for years in a phase, which does not allow them to move forward in their life normally. In other cultures and/or countries like Mexico, the loss or death of a person is dealt with in a very different way. Examples such as the Day of the Dead in Mexico when everyone goes out into the streets to remember the dead with songs and customised with skulls painted on their faces. On the other hand, in the United States a kind of catering is done at home so that everyone can say goodbye to the deceased and give their condolences to the family.
These are different ways of facing the same reality. Psychologists, as human beings, are also different when it comes to going through a moment like this. We are not immune to sadness , nobody is.
In short: a psychologist is neither a robot nor a magician
So then, and returning to the thesis of the article, I hope that after reading this text, when you meet again with a psychologist, you think differently about how it is or what it can bring you. Don’t forget that people are, above all, people . With defects and with virtues, with fears and with illusions.