Background

20 WRONG Ideas About Therapy, Psychology

Uploaded 1/27/2022, approx. 29 minute read

You're still here? Okay. You asked for it. You had it coming. Another lecture by Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, and the smiling professor of psychology.

Today, we're going to discuss myths, misconceptions, lies, misunderstandings about psychology, and more specifically, about psychotherapy.

Now, this whole harangue was triggered by a presentation I saw yesterday on MSN.com. The presentation was aptly titled, 20 myths and misconceptions about psychology.

I wanted to tackle each and every one of these alleged myths my own way, and to add my two dollars, it's never two cents with me, to add my two dollars into the debate.

The presentation opens by saying psychologists work hard to help many people in different fields, while the common impression is of someone who gets paid a lot of money to listen to the problems of those who are mentally unstable. That's not the whole picture.

Here are 20 myths and misconceptions about psychology.

The first myth that the MSN presentation tackles is, only crazy people benefit from psychology.

Well, psychology is divided into dozens of fields, and one of these fields is known as clinical or abnormal psychology. That's the psychology that deals with what you would call crazy people.

Now, we are politically correct in our field, so we never use the word crazy or even insane. We have many euphemisms to avoid this label.

But plenty of people can benefit from psychology. A psychologist or more precisely a psychotherapist is someone who is supposed to be impartial, supposed to be objective, supposed to look at your life, to look at your choices, your decisions, your behavior patterns, and provide you with an outside perspective. An outside perspective which is supposed to cause or bring about a breakthrough through a process known as insight, provides you with insight about yourself, and this should, in the optimal case, generate a breakthrough.

The problem is that very few psychologists and therapists are indeed objective and impartial. Many of them have agendas. Many of them are committed to specific values. Many of them are judgmental. Many of them are prescriptive.

In other words, they tell you what to do. Many of them get very pissed off if you don't follow their advice.

So, it's not always the case that you get a kind of scientific observer who is detached and disinterested and just provides you with information and data and analysis which serve as input to generate insight, which then provokes a change in behavior. That's in theory. That's the ideal. But in reality, that's not the case, unfortunately.

The second myth is, in the MSN presentation, there's a couch where you lie down and spew your feelings.

Well, that's been the case with Freud. There are famous photographs of Freud's couch.

Freud called his method the talk cure. Talk cure today is known as psychotherapy.

Don't worry, he borrowed the idea from Bleuler and others, so he didn't invent it, although he did claim credit for it, something which psychologists are known to do throughout the generations, claiming credit for what's not theirs.

Anyhow, couches were in vogue and in fashion and fad when psychoanalysis had started. So, Freud had a couch, Jung had a couch, which he put to use in very unorthodox manner with some of his patients. Most notably Sabina Spielrein.

But couches have gone out of fashion, more or less in the 1930s, and they've never come back. So, today we sit on a chair or we talk on the phone, there's telehealth and teletherapy, there's video conferencing, virtual therapy and so on and so forth. Even in-person therapy resembles much more a talk with a good friend than it does the original setup of psychoanalysis.

The third myth, psychologists earn a lot of money for not doing very much.

Well, depends which psychologist, but psychology and therapy more precisely, these are well-paying professions. These are well-paying professions, psychologists are up there in the 10% highest earners, novice psychologists and newbie psychologists can start with $50,000, $60,000 a year and most psychologists make well over $100,000 a year, that's in the United States.

And all they do is they sit and they listen to people talk about their lives. Now, isn't that a scam? Aren't these people con artists? What the heck are they doing?

That's very misleading. That's very misleading because a good psychotherapist or even I would say the majority of psychotherapists, they structure the conversation. They provide input, it could be a mirroring input, it could be a directional input, it could be in the form of questions, could be in the form of comments, could be in the form of insights, could be in the form of even of reminiscences or reading a passage from a book. It doesn't matter. The psychologist, the psychotherapist structures the session and the structure brings order and the order brings meaning and makes sense of the experience of the patient. So the structure is critical and the structure is not just a whim, not just a fleeting idea.

The structure is based on clinical practice and on studies and research in the relevant field.

So the psychologist brings into the session a lot of learning, a lot of erudition, and a good psychologist is what we call an active listener. He asks questions, he delves deep into the patient's issues. He provokes new thoughts and new directions and elicits new questions in the patient's mind.

And all this is done within what is called a holding environment where the therapist shows understanding and provides comfort, but never crosses the line, never engages in counter-transference, never, for example, falls in love with the patient. Or, God forbid, has sex with the patient.

So while the therapist seems to be aloof, sitting back, thinking about his cat or about the latest Super Bowl, actually what he's doing is analyzing every single word you're saying, placing it in the context of previous words you had said, trying to tease out and extract meaning and sense and insights from your words, and then organizing everything, impossible narratives for your consideration.

This is a lot of hard work. When you go home, the therapist sits down and he writes patient notes, and he has to read, a good therapist reads all the previous patient notes pertaining to you.

So it's always a lot of invisible work. It's like an iceberg. 90% of the work is underwater and invisible to you.

That's the good therapist.

Of course, there are charlatans, like in every profession. Of course, there are con artists and scammers and swindlers and lazy people, indolent therapists, like they're indolent construction workers. I mean, this is human nature. Most therapists are human.

Okay, Shoshanim, that was the daily joke.

Now we move on to the next myth.

Psychology or psychotherapy involves medication.

Not true. Not true.

Medication therapy is a part of the arsenal of psychology, but actually it's used very rarely.

Psychologists, for example, cannot prescribe medication. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

The difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that a psychiatrist has a medical degree in addition to a degree in psychology. So usually he's also a medical doctor. So he's able to prescribe medication for mental conditions.

Usually, psychiatrists collaborate with psychologists, unless they're very vainglorious and narcissistic. But the vast majority of psychiatrists seek input from psychologists in order to settle on the appropriate prescription or medication.

But medication should be prescribed, I need to say. Very rarely, for example, antipsychotics should be prescribed only in the active phase of psychotic disorder. Similarly, antidepressants and anxiolytics and stimulants, they should be prescribed very sparingly and limited in time because some of them, especially stimulants, create addiction. Unfortunately, this is the theory.

The practice is that people go to a psychiatrist and he barely listens to them.

And what he does, he just, you know, gives them a prescription for an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug and anxiolytic or stimulant. And he sends them away and he collects the fee from the insurance company or from their own private pocket.

So many, many psychiatrists renege on the obligation to be very careful with mental health medication. And this has become an industry.

Tens of millions of people in the West consume antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, and even antipsychotics on a daily basis when they most definitely should not, or should have stopped long before.

So there's abuse of mental health medication. Plus, there's a big debate and a justified debate as to the efficacy of these medications.

Many of these medications are founded on speculative science yet to be fully proven. And many of these medications had been proven counterproductive to use another statement or based on wrong science, on bad science. And yet they had not been withdrawn from the market. So psychopharmacology is a scandalous area fraught with a lot of money sloshing about, which provides adverse incentives to psychiatrists.

What I'm trying to say gently, many psychiatrists are corrupted by money, sometimes directly by the drug companies in all kinds of junkets and perks and trips and, you know, even straight out commissions, financial commissions. All these practices are not outlawed shockingly, which they should be.

Okay, next myth.

Most problems are caused by low self-esteem.

That's one of the most all pervasive myths about psychology, that everything has to do with a low self-esteem, wrong self-perception, bad, or dysfunctional, or unrealistic self-image, etc., etc. The self plays a big part here.

But this is wrong.

Low self-esteem is not the main cause of the vast majority of mental health diagnosis. We know that low self-esteem is a definitive factor or determinant only in one type of mental health problem, and that's depression.

But even there, it's not considered causative. It's not considered the cause of the depression. Many factors can contribute to poor mental health, and so low self-esteem is just one of them.

The idea of low self-esteem as the root of all evil in terms of mental health has to do with the twin myths of the twin concepts, counterfactual concepts, I'd argue at least, of the self and of choice.

So modern psychology, let's say starting about 120 or 130 years ago, and modern psychotherapies, they are centered around the twin counterfactual concepts of individual, self, and choice. From a very early age, we are little more than the sum and intersection of our relationship with others.

The concept of the individual, the concept of self, are probably utterly wrong. There's no such thing. Even the concept of personality is extremely dubious and should be challenged on multiple levels, multiple fronts.

Choice is also an illusion. In reality, it is constrained by mental illness, one's personal history, the cost of the choice, the cost involved, and lack of viable alternatives.

So low self-esteem is one member of this galaxy of self-help paraphernalia and nonsense, mostly online.

We can add to this emotional flashbacks, empaths, shy borderlines, and healed or recovered narcissists. These are all nonsensical, non-clinical concepts not supported by any studies or research and not taught in academia. We don't teach this nonsense in academia.

So that's one more myth for you, the myth of low self-esteem.

The next myth, according to the MSN presentation, is there's a hidden meaning to your dreams.

Now, Freud, of course, was the king and the forefather of dream interpretation. He actually wrote a book, an eponymous book, about it, about a hundred and something years ago.

I myself am a dream aficionado. If you go to my website, there are dream interpretations there.

And so the presentation says that, and I will quote, many people believe that their dreams have a hidden meaning, but the truth is it's simply the brain's way of dealing with things. Our dreams often don't make any sense and can be influenced by the previous day's events, our emotions, and even our thoughts. While it can be tempting to look for meaning in our dreams, there's often not much to them.

I cannot disagree more.

Yes, of course, dreams take place in the brain, or at least we think so, because there's a correlate to dreaming known as rapid eye movement. When we dream, waves in our brain change from one type to another, and our eyes move very fast, which is a phenomenon known as REM. Of course, they're physiological and neurological correlates to dreaming. But dreams do take place in the brain, which is precisely what makes them meaningful.

The brain is a meaning generating apparatus. It's a meaning generating device.

So dreams are not an exception. Dreams are about rearranging the previous day's information so that it fits into already structured narratives. In other words, making sense of the previous day's experiences, storing information in long-term memory, etc.

It's all about creating and enhancing the library of experiences that we already have up here, and fitting this library into heuristic models, model of the world, internal working model, theory of mind, etc.

So dreaming is a meaning creating activity, and definitely if you look into dreams, you can find meaning in dreams, meaning which is idiosyncratic, specific to the dreamer, not only universal or actually rarely universal, specific to the dreamer.

So I disagree completely with this so-called debunking of this myth, which I don't think it's a myth. I think it happens to be true.

It's a part and parcel of a trend in modern psychology of rejecting everything that came before 1960 because it's not quote-unquote scientific. I'll come to it a bit later in this lecture.

Psychology pretends to be a science where actually it's a pseudoscience and can never, ever be a science. And because of these high-falutin grandiose pretensions, we had discarded enormous treasure of acquaintance with the human mind, enormous insight into how human beings work, which ostensibly should be the main preoccupation of psychology.

One of the things we had discarded is the idea that dreams have meaning. I'll come to it when I discuss one of the other myths in this MSN presentation.

So the next myth is psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors are all the same.

Well, of course, they are not all the same. All of them deal with mental health issues.

I'm a counselor. I've been in this racket for 26 years as a professor of psychology and as a counselor, but I am not a psychiatrist. So although I have a medical degree, I did not integrate it with my work in psychology. So I did not become a psychiatrist.

So psychologists are people who complete a few years, usually they have a master's degree, and some of them are licensed to provide therapy. They're therapists, not on psychologists, are licensed to give therapy.

Psychiatrists are psychologists who also have a medical degree. They have two degrees in psychology and a medical degree.

And counselors are people who work with mental health issues, but they are not psychologists and not psychiatrists. They are, for example, social workers, or just laymen or poachers who deal with mental health issues.

Now in many countries, but not everywhere, counseling, as distinct from therapy, is legally permissible. It's totally legal, as long as you make clear that you're not a therapist, not a psychologist, not licensed, and not a psychiatrist.

Counselors are good, some of them are good, some of them are bad, exactly as psychologists, some of them are good, some of them are bad. Therapists, the same psychiatrists, the same.

Some counselors that I know personally know a lot more than most of the psychologists I've ever met, and I've met many.

Psychiatry is the study and management of mental disorders, involving also the body aspects, including, for example, medication, the administration of medication. Psychology is the study of people and their thoughts and behaviors.

The next myth is that our preferred learning style has an impact on how well we learn.

There used to be this theory, I'm saying used to be because it's been debunked and discarded, I don't know how many times, but there used to be a theory that we learn more effectively because this theory said that each person has a learning style.

Some people react more to visual material, others react by doing things. Some people learn when they're exposed to visual materials, some people learn by doing things, and some people learn by listening.

So this was called the preferred learning style.

All recent research has demonstrated that there's no such thing.

The most effective modality of teaching and learning varies according to what you're studying. It has nothing to do with a preferred modality.

So when you're exposed to a certain topic, you may be able to learn much more if it's done through visuals. But when you then switch to another topic, you may be more amenable to audio messaging and audio teaching, teaching by a voice.

Each person has all learning styles and all teaching and learning modalities. It's a myth that we have a preferred mode. We don't.

Next thing is psychology is hype. It's just common sense. You would do as well to talk to a good friend, to your grandmother, to a neighbor, as you would to a therapist or to a psychologist because all they do is they codify common sense.

Well, I don't even know where to start to tackle this myth because it's nonsensical. It's not common sense. It's nonsensical.

While I completely agree that psychology is not a science, and I even go as far as saying that psychology can never be a science.

It definitely is a discipline. It's a discipline. There's a lot of accumulated knowledge, a lot of information, many experiments and studies, a lot of research, millions of people, millions of people participated in creating this body of knowledge.

And to claim that it's nothing but common sense that everyone and his dog has, that's simply ignorance. I would even say glorified ignorance.

Psychology is very complicated. To become a psychologist, let alone, for example, a professor of psychology, you need to really, really work hard, spend a lot of time and effort researching, reading, studying, interacting with people.

The mind is the most complex object in the universe. It's much more complex than the universe and behavior patterns emanate from the mind.

So they too reflect the mind's complexity. No amount of common sense can cope with this.

Actually, we have quite a few studies that show that intuition and common sense are often extremely wrong.

I refer you to one of my videos here, which debunks 12 common sense myths.

And I analyze these myths there. And they are nonsense. They appear to be common sense. They make sense, but they are not factual. They're not true. They're nonsense.

So I wouldn't rely on common sense if I would. If I have an alternative, which is a structured discipline, I would go for a structured discipline.

Imagine that someone builds a bridge or constructs an airplane and tells you, I don't need to study engineering. I have common sense. I know that this rivet should go with this nut here and everything will be okay. I mean, you wouldn't fly this plane, would you? You wouldn't cross this bridge.

Okay, next is the myth that memory works like a video recording of events.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Memories are recreated on the fly every time we need to remember. Every single time we need to remember, we reach into our minds and take elements and put them together.

And this feels like a memory, but it's actually not a memory. It's a reconstruction of a narrative.

That's why memories often get distorted as time passes because you can't always identically recreate the memory. Memories are not clones over time. In other words, the same memory, you have to recreate it time and again. And every time you recreate it, there's a slight change.

And these changes accumulate and the memory gets distorted and changes to the point that it has nothing to do with the original. Memories after a few years, even after one year, have little to do with the original. And this is why there's a big issue with false memories and another big issue with eyewitness accounts.

In courts, we can't really trust them. Memories are confabulations, they're inventions, they're narratives, they're stories that we create every time we are faced with a demand on our identity.

Our identity crucially depends on continuous memory.

So we ask ourselves, who am I? What am I doing here? And why am I doing what I'm doing?

And then you need to generate memories, put them together to experience your own identity.

And of course, it also means that identity is a kind of dune of sand. It also shapeshifts all the time.

But I have a video on this, a lecture I gave in a university about identity and memory. You may wish to watch it.

The next myth, according to the MSN presentation, psychology only has to do with therapy.

Well, of course, therapy is a tiny, tiny fraction of psychology.

Psychology is by far the biggest field, the biggest field in academic studies. It's much, much bigger than physics.

I used to be a physicist. I used to be a physicist for the first 25 years of my life. Physics is a much smaller field than psychology. I used to be an economist. It's a much smaller field in psychology.

And many people say that economics is actually a form of psychology. This discipline is actually another name for economic behavior. So it's psychology as well.

But you have psychology of sports, psychology of the arts, psychology of teaching, psychology of politics, psychology of collectives, psychology of individuals, children of adolescents.

It's an enormous field, absolutely enormous field. Wherever human beings are in action, there is a field of psychology that deals with it, studies it, teaches it, research is conducted, and so on. It's not a specialty.

Psychology is not only about mental health and mental health problems - again, that's clinical and abnormal psychology.

But there are numerous other fields that have nothing to do with mental health or mental illness. Nothing whatsoever.

The study of behaviors, the study of traits, the study of stability, for example, of attachment style and personality, the study of personality. There are numerous studies of how people behave in groups, how they behave in various settings, like, for example, in a factory, in an office. How do people react to product design?

All this is psychology, advertising, marketing, it's all psychology.

Okay, the next myth is, if you're violent, probably you're mentally ill. If you're promiscuous, probably you're mentally ill. If you deviate from normal behavior, then by definition, you're not normal, you're mentally ill.

And there's a flip coin of this myth. If you're mentally ill, you're likely to deviate from accepted behavior, likely to be violent or promiscuous, and so on and so forth.

That's absolutely 100%, or shall I say 110%, untrue.

Actually, there's a book titled 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, which I recommend, it's layman's thing, so it's easy to read.

Evidence shows that 90% of people with mental illness never offend, but they're always the victims. Mentally ill people are victimized, they don't victimize.

Behaviors such as promiscuity, violence, aggression, defiance, recklessness, etc.

These behaviors have to do with the lack of empathy, and what we call dark triad personalities, dark personalities.

These dark personalities, they're not mentally ill, it's not mental illness. They're just prone to antisocial behaviors. They have a tendency, a proclivity for antisocial behaviors. So we call them subclinical, subclinical psychopathy, subclinical narcissism, but they're not mentally ill.

Mentally ill people are victims, not perpetrators.

Next myth, psychology is only for certain people, but not for everyone.

I have no idea why this might be true. Psychology is for everyone.

If you have a mind, and many of you do, if you have a brain, and some of you do, if you behave, if you interact with other people, psychology is for you.

Psychology should be a part of everyday life. Psychology should be taught in high school, and even primary school, because it's all around you.

The advertising you watch is structured by psychology, how the website is optimized, is influenced by psychology. Your neighbor's aggression is psychology, everything is psychology, I mean, how you should interact with your boss, how is your relationship with your spouse, your children, everything is psychology.

So psychology is for everyone. It's the only discipline actually, that's for everyone.

You don't have to be a physicist, you don't have to be a chemist, God forbid, you don't have to be a biologist, but you have to be a psychologist, at least a pop or armchair psychologist, because you can't live or survive without a modicum of psychology in your life.

The next myth in the MSN presentation is, we don't use 100% of our brain function, only 10%.

Again, it's a nonsense internet hype. It's total nonsense, exactly like empath or emotional flashback, or quiet borderline, or what have you, or indigo children, or I don't know what, it's simply nonsense.

Actually, every minute, every part of your brain is up and running, all billions, 100 billion cells, up and running. Every single single neuron in your brain fires every second. That's a fact.

And many of them collaborating, what is known as multiple unit activities, even the smallest bit of damage to the brain, usually results in a devastating deterioration in functioning, major loss or damage to function.

So every part counts, every neuron participates, every second of the day, always, even when you sleep, big parts of the brain are still active. So I have no idea who came up with this idiotic myth that only 10% of the brain, maybe in his case, or her case, it was true.

Next. Psychologists know what you're thinking is the next myth.

(Sarcasm) Well, except for me, most psychologists cannot read minds. I can, but that's because I have a 190 IQ, not because I'm a psychologist.

Seriously now, psychologists don't read minds. They can observe human behavior. And they can speculate as to the reasons why you behave in the way you do.

And some of these reasons have what we call an etiology. So they can try to make sense of your reasons to behave and make sense of your behaviors by resorting to possible antecedence, possible reasons in possible events in your early childhood during the formative years, and so on, so forth.

In some cases, these speculations would be wrong. Actually, I could say that in majority of cases, they would be wrong.

Not only are psychologists not mind readers, they're actually not very good at deciphering human behavior and so on, unless you give them the information that they need.

What psychologists are good at is taking this information that you provide about your early childhood, parental figures in your life, interactions with peers, your personal history. This is known as anamnesis, your personal history, everything. They take all this information.

What they're good at is structuring it, making sense of it, deriving insights and lessons from what you had told them so that they can then help you to change for the better, to become more functional and to avoid repeating mistakes, repetition, compulsion.

Okay, my students. Next myth. It always helps to talk about your problems.

No, that's not true. I refer you to the video that I mentioned earlier about 12 common sense nonsense that I've made. One of them is venting, about venting. Venting is seriously bad for you.

Seeking closure is a seriously bad idea also. These are, again, online nonsense propagated and perpetuated by self-styled experts, coaches and an assortment of other, how to put it gently, unqualified people.

So the talking cure, psychotherapy, is a big fact, a big fashion.

Again, everyone from age 12 is in therapy, but it's not always helpful and it's not always a good idea.

For example, we know that it's very bad for trauma victims to revisit their trauma.

Initially in the 60s and so on, there was an idea that if you had gone through trauma, you need to go through a process called debriefing. So it was known as psychological debriefing or trauma debriefing.

Until we discovered decades later that these people were seriously damaged when they were forced or coerced to relieve the trauma by discussing it.

That's why it's not always a good idea to talk about your problems. It sometimes can be harmful and a good therapist, a good psychologist, would know the difference. He would know not to push, he would know not to trigger you.

There is a good reason that you forget things, a good reason to dissociate.

Some events, some traumas never come to consciousness. The memories are repressed and there's an excellent reason for this.

And before you bring these memories back to the surface, before you eliminate the dissociative barriers and the protections, you better know what you're doing.

Freud coined the word abreaction. It's a bad reaction to the release of the pent up negative energy that is associated with traumatic memories.

So go slow, go easy. Don't push. Don't push it. Sometimes not talking is the right course of action.

Okay, next myth in the MSN presentation.

Psychology is simple. Psychology is easy because everyone is exposed to other people and so everyone knows psychology intuitively.

In a way, I've dealt with it when I discussed the myth that psychology is common sense.

Having certain foundations is not the same as having the building. You could, for example, be an English speaker, but you couldn't be an English author. So it's the same with psychology.

You know people. Maybe you're even observant. Maybe you observe human behaviors and human traits and you classify them in your mind and you're very alert and very vigilant and so on, maybe.

But it doesn't make you a psychologist.

Knowing English doesn't make you an English author. Knowing people doesn't make you a psychologist.

Psychology is very challenging because it's very big. It's a huge field and it involves numerous schools of thought and a lot of, I mean, gigantic plethora of studies and experiments and research and so on. Don't underestimate psychology, but this leads me to the next myth.

According to the MSN presentation, the next myth is psychology is not a real science.

And I'm going to read to you what the MSN presentation says. Then I'm going to give you my take on this.

The MSN presentation says, some people believe that psychology is not a real science, but that could not be further from the truth. Those in the field utilize the scientific method to conduct research in order to investigate human behavior. While psychology may be a relatively new science in the scheme of things, it's still very much a real science.

Could not be further from the truth.

Astrologers use the scientific method and statistics. It doesn't make astrology a science.

Numerology uses very sophisticated mathematical techniques. It doesn't make numerology a science.

That you use the scientific method does not make you a scientist.

Conspiracy theories of all stripes very frequently use the scientific method and a lot of statistics. It doesn't make them scientists. It makes them crackpots.

So that a group of people in a shared psychosis use a certain methodology doesn't make them scientists, except in their own grandiose minds.

Psychology is not a science for a variety of reasons. And I have at least two videos of this channel dedicated to this question. But I'll mention only one.

You cannot replicate most of the experiments in psychology. That's a fact. Between 2/3 and 4/5 of experiments in psychology cannot be replicated. You cannot have a science where you cannot replicate experiments. End of story. You can replicate every single experiment in chemistry and physics. Every single one, even in medicine, you can't do that in psychology. So it's not a science.

What is psychology?

It's a wonderful body of literature. It's one of the proudest achievements of the human mind in terms of literature. It's a literary art form and a very penetrating, incisive, and insightful view of the human mind, human beings, human behaviors, human interactions, human organizational principles, and the meaning and sense of it all.

Yes, no one can compete with psychology when it comes to this, perhaps except for literary giants like Dostoevsky and Nietzsche.

But otherwise, no one can come close to psychology. Even the most mundane and pedestrian paper in psychology is so full of wisdom and insight that it competes easily with any biblical text.

But that's what it is. The text. Psychology is not a science. End of story. And anyone who claims otherwise is either deluded or misleading. It's a pseudoscience.

Next, psychologists only work in clinical settings. That's the next myth in the MSN presentations.

That's, of course, not true. Some psychologists work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, inpatient clinics, private clinics. That's true. But that's a tiny minority, actually.

The vast majority of psychologists work in other settings, in schools, in factories, among athletic teams. I mean, psychologists are everywhere. They're even here making YouTubes. Yes!

So, psychology is involved with human thought, human behavior, human development, personality, emotion, emotions, motivation, cognition, etc. Wherever humans are, psychologists are. They follow humans wherever they go. So you can find them working in prisons, intelligence agencies, schools, athletics, law enforcement, I mean, everywhere. The profiling department of the FBI is much larger than any psychology faculty in the world, and it's composed mostly of psychologists.

And so this is the last myth in the MSN presentation. I hope I corrected some of your misconceptions and wrong ideas about psychology and therapy.

And even if you're not in distress, even if you don't have a mental health problem, take the time. Go once a year like a checkup. No, go once a year. Two therapists.

Talk to him or her about your life. Just about your life. How things stand. Are you happy? Where do you need to go from here? What mistakes do you seem to commit repeatedly? And why do you commit these mistakes?

Get to know yourself better. Therapists can help you with that. Even a mediocre therapist can help you with that much more than any friend or neighbor or grandmother.

You need friends and neighbors and grandmothers because what advice they provide is backed by life experience and empathy for you. They like you. They love you.

A good therapist should not like you or love you. A good therapist should be like a mechanic in a garage. Should fix your car. Go fix your car. You do it once a year. You check your heart once a year. Check your mind once a year. Go to therapy.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Why Psychology Will Never Be a Science

Psychology is not a science and can never be one due to its nature as an art form and extension of literature. It fails to meet the criteria of scientific theories, such as yielding testable, falsifiable predictions and being consistent or complete. Psychological theories are more like metaphors or narratives that help people understand themselves and their interactions with others. While psychology attempts to maintain a scientific appearance through observation, measurement, and experimentation, it ultimately lacks the substance of true science.


Economics=Psychology+Counterfactual Models

Economics is not a science but rather a branch of psychology, as it deals with human behavior. Traditional economic theories and models fail to accurately predict and account for human irrationality, long-term investment horizons, and the role of innovation in growth and development. The field of behavioral economics is gaining traction as it combines psychology and economics, focusing on human cognition, emotions, and decision-making. To improve the field of economics, it should be treated as a branch of psychology, focusing on the complex and unpredictable nature of human beings.


In Defense of Psychoanalysis (Psychiatry Talks, April 2019, San Antonio)

Psychoanalysis, initially developed by Sigmund Freud, has been influential in the field of psychology but is now considered more of a literary exercise than a scientific practice. Critics argue that it lacks empirical support and is ambiguous in its explanations of human behavior. However, psychoanalysis can be seen as a valuable organizing principle and narrative for understanding human psychological development, even if it doesn't meet the strict criteria of a scientific theory. Ultimately, whether psychoanalysis should be treated as a science or an art form depends on one's perspective and expectations.


Do WE Have Inner World? Are WE Mere Machines? (Behaviorism)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the debate in psychology about whether humans can be reduced to their physical and biochemical components. He argues that human essence cannot be captured by specifying anatomy and physiology alone. He reviews the Chicago School of psychology, behaviorism, and its various schools, and emphasizes the limitations of studying human behavior and consciousness. He concludes that while humans are machines, their self-reporting makes them unique, but also unreliable. He asserts that psychology can never be a science.


Sorry State of Psychology: NOTHING AGREED! (38th Global Psychiatry & Mental Health Conference)

Professor Sam Vaknin argues that psychology is not a true science due to its lack of agreement on fundamental concepts, ethical limitations in experimentation, the psychological uncertainty principle, and the uniqueness of psychological experiments. He believes that psychological theories are more akin to art or literature than science, and that using mathematical language does not make a discipline scientific.


Do We Create Reality, Is It a Hive Mind? (with Benny Hendel)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the idea that reality is observer-dependent, and that the mind creates reality via the process of intentionality. He suggests that the observer is not naive and does not collapse the wave function, but rather, the observer is not capable of seeing anything else but the collapsed state. Vaknin proposes that the universe has a DNA of order and structure, and that the role of human beings is to observe the universe and via the act of observation, to collapse it, creating order and structure. He suggests that with every act of collective observation, we are cementing the past of the universe, not just the present.


Narcissist Trust Your Gut Feeling 4 Rules To Avoid Bad Relationships ( Intuition Explained)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the importance of intuition in relationships and decision-making. He explores different types of intuition, including idetic, emergent, and ideal intuition, and how they are used in various philosophical and psychological theories. He emphasizes the significance of intuition in understanding and navigating complex human interactions, particularly in dealing with narcissists and psychopaths.


Is Physics the New Mysticism? (with Benny Hendel)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of multiverse in physics and how it differs from the multiverse in the Matrix. He explains that the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests that the observer determines the universe, while the many worlds interpretation suggests that the universe simply splits into many universes. Vaknin proposes a theory that reconciles these two interpretations by considering the universe as a filter that presents only the collapsed states and keeps out the noise. This theory suggests that the observer creates the filter, but not the universe itself, and that the universe dictates certain outcomes to the observer.


Evolutionary Psychology: Redpill, Manosphere Nonsense

Evolutionary psychology is criticized for being a pseudoscience, with its main claim being that psychological adaptations are reactive to the environment. The field is discredited for its problematic claims, lack of replication, and inability to account for individual behaviors. The professor argues that evolutionary psychology is unscientific, overly deterministic, and fails to consider alternative explanations for human behavior. He also criticizes evo-devo psychology for misrepresenting biological phenomena as psychological adaptations. Overall, the professor dismisses evolutionary psychology as pseudoscientific and lacking in credibility.


Dr. Vaknin Experiments on Human Subjects (aka Students)

The professor discusses the concept of shared psychosis and how it is impossible to convince someone or a group that a hallucination is not real. He uses an example of two people feeling wet to explain that people cannot know if they experience things the same way. The professor concludes that people are not identical machines and that it is impossible to know if someone experiences things the same way as you do.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy