Is there a difference between a psychotherapist and a psycho therapist?

One of my favorite features on the SD site is Weird Earl’s. The Weird Earl’s for April, 27th is a personal website belonging to, what seems to me to be, an unusual individual to say the least.

This person seems to be a bit clueless regarding normal human relationships. Then I read the following:

Umm… Yeah… Right.

Therein lies my question for you folks. Do you think people who show interest in psychology are a little lost concerning human behavior?

In fact, I believe there is a good reason this would be true. Normal people who take lower level psychology classes notice early on that half of what they are taught is wrong, and the half that is correct, is common sense. People from other planets don’t notice this and believe the nonsense they are learning is fascinating. These people, then, make up the bulk of people who continue in the higher level classes. And, of course, the more clueless they are, the more successful, since those who understand a little bit about what goes on is other peoples heads, run the risk of accidentally putting the right answer on their test instead of the excrement the professor spewed out in his lecture.

Therefore, the people we pay to tell us about ourselves are the very people who understand us the least.

Or am I the only one who has noticed?

Well, people being responsible for their own lives falls into the should-be-blindingly-obvious common sense realm. But you’re not alone.

I think it was Dennis Miller who said something akin to, paying a psychologist to fix something that may be wrong inside your mind is akin to having a blind guy wearing a giant foam “We’re Number One!” finger try to take out a brain tumor.

Your OP seems to address 2 types of people. The one you list in your quote states upfront “I have no formal training in psychology” - that’s fine and dandy. There’s a lot of people who have ‘party game’ type interest in psychology. The owner of the webpage your link points to seems like a bit of a nutball; there were enough of those in my higher level psychology classes. However, I think you’re off-base in thinking that all people who study psychology are space cadets - depending on the program of study, you can have very scientifically driven courses, or more ‘flowery’ psychology courses. People who are interested in psychology because they think it will unlock the secrets of the human mind are generally self-educated (using self-help books, if we’re talking about the real sad sacks).

I think judging any subject by the introductory course is not well advised; you tend to get a very half-assed glance at a million minor aspects of the subject with little or no chance to explore the real meaning of any of the information involved. You could focus a whole career around the study of memory (first thing to come to mind, since it was mentioned in GQ recently) - you can’t tell me that there’s no value in exploring this area, and it isn’t common sense by any means.

I preferred to stick with the part of psychology that I found amusing - statistics, design and analysis of experiments and that stuff. It’s pretty interesting, and ensuring a good design for an experiment in psychology is vital - otherwise you’ll just get torn to shreds by your professor (or if you’re a professional, by your peers). A lot of more advanced psychology courses require (relatively) advanced statistical knowledge. The pseudo-science areas of psychology are interesting to poke fun at (and I’ve taken some courses that were 90% bullshit too) but even inside my faculty, most people just ignored the fact that those areas existed.

I think the gist of my response is that psychology does appeal to a lot of wingnuts, but if it’s approached properly it can be a valuable field of study. Don’t write off the whole field because of a few people, especially those who have no formal education in the area. I think psychology’s most valuable addition to my education was creating a good base for studying the other sciences; I never thought psychology would be the end to my education… but I must admit that if I had my time back, I’d probably have minored in psych and majored in something else… maybe biology. :slight_smile:

I agree with FunkDaddy. I would add that even people who get interested in psychology in an attempt to resolve their own psychological issues (like myself) aren’t necessarily “wing nuts.” It can just be a way of trying to learn about yourself, and understand how you got that way.

For some people, this leads to greater wisdom. For other people, it’s just a road to more wackiness. A lot depends on whom you attach yourself to, and your own interpretations. For instance, I think Jung was onto something in his reading of myths, but I don’t swallow all his paranormal razmatazz. And while Skinner had valuable insights about behavioral conditioning, that doesn’t make it the ultimate explanation for all human behavior.

Psychology is a very young science - we’re about where physics was when Galileo was dropping different-sized rocks and discovering they hit the ground at the same time. There are lots of different theorists out there with varying levels of competence, so generalizing about it is impossible. You just have to exercise critical thinking.

Oh god, is that Mary?

Kid_Gilligan, what’s your experience with psychology?

You seem to be mistaking psychobabble for the science.

People who are interested in psychology and who become psychologists and psychiatrists have to be very bright, above the norm, intuitive, empathic and have a stable psychological base point. They also have to be curious, have a very high and very stable self image, low boiling point and the ability to embrace a wide range of human eccentricities.

They also have to be fascinated with the complex workings of the mind. Just like a good doctor has to be fascinated with the workings of the body.

Not many who finish getting their degree are concerned with solving any inner problems of their own, though they are as human as the next person. Psychiatry is one of the most complex of the medical sciences, still changing and still discovering things.

Psychiatry is also a very personal field in that what one therapist cannot cure in a person, another one might simply because of personalities, perception or attitude.

Thirty years ago, the common treatments were electroshock, massive dosages of vitamin B, group therapy, and very early psycho-reactive medications. Now, there are scores of psycho-reactive medications, electroshock is not widely used anymore, individual therapy is very high, there are several new therapies out since Freud has been downplayed tremendously and even most forms of institutionalization has changed. Even the police have been made aware of psychological conditions and trained in basic psychology to prepare them to handle the normal nuts on the street.

See all of those clever ads on TV? Corporate psychologists helped design them, knowing what will get the attention of what type of person, how to phrase the product language for what ethnic group, what type of actors to use, back ground to display and music to record.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have helped design buildings, housing developments, paint and color schemes for offices and hospitals and even lighting systems for work areas.

So, psychology is an extremely complex field and used daily. We just don’t notice it.

I was nodding my head and agreeing till I got to this. I would guess that only one ad in 10 or 15 fits that statement.Can we blame them for the ones that make you want to scream?:slight_smile:

I’d say that means you’re intelligent.

Those ads are designed to hit people in the simplest way, preferably not people who are real smart because smart people often don’t buy much of the advertised product. Like that slick-sticky plastic floor roller, that came from the ‘magical’ lint remover thing. Smart people understand that one or two swipes on the floor with it and it’s full, needs to be rinsed and dried before using it to finish the floor.

Anyone with children also knows that those cloth wipes you poke on a mop and swipe the floor clean, then dispose of wind up being about as useful as a broom but much more expensive.

The ads are carefully designed to attract people to these labor saving devices without noticing that they’re going to wind up being expensive and mainly for people without kids to dirty the floor 2 seconds after you clean it. In this ecology sensitive time, they don’t mention that you get to throw away tons of these things, using up resources, when a broom or wet mop will do just fine in their place.

Just think about the psychology which goes into major car ads. I’m still trying to figure out just what was used to attract people to that PT(?) Cruiser, which owes it’s design to the blocky style of the 50s. The damn thing is ugly.