Pop Psychology and Scientific Psychology

The mind is like an ocean whose depth cannot be fathomed from just looking at it. Like the ocean it could be deceptively still and calm but at times it get restless and can get stormy. The disturbances come from within its depth as it begins to rumble with its waves. The mind is even more complicated to unravel and understand as experiences of the individual get muddled with the layers of falsehood and lies that it weaves around itself in self defense. Only someone devoted to the truth and nothing but the truth as experienced by the individual can begin to understand the workings of his subconscious and unconscious mind. Hence psychology is for the brave and the bold. It requires courage of character and the commitment to truth to become a psychologist and also to understand your own mind.

Psychology is devoted to the study of the mind and its manifestations in thought and behavior. By studying the observable components of behavior and reported thoughts of individuals we can extrapolate and formulate hypothesis about its origins in the depths of the mind. It is important to know that there are different schools of thought and theory in Psychology and all these schools have contributed to the advancement of the science. Each of these schools has developed their own systems of psychotherapy (treatment methods) which are followed by various psychologists according to their preferences and training. Some people denounce psychology as a non-science and regards it as an ‘art’. The truth is somewhere in between- it is both a science and an art. 

Psychology is relevant in every sphere of life- personal life, in school education, colleges, industry, business and in governance too. The human being can be studied and helped in all walks of life. Accordingly there are several branches of psychology, such as child and adolescent, school psychology, educational, industrial psychology, clinical psychology, experimental psychology, forensic psychology, psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy etc.  

Today’s scene in India about the role and scope of psychology is dismal and much misunderstood. The only prevailing branch that is taught systematically is the clinical branch. Therefore that is also the only known branch of psychology but unfortunately also suffers from its myths and fantasies in India. No wonder it is often confused with ‘counseling’ and ‘guidance’. It is also confused with ‘good natured advice’. The truth is far from it.

Simplified psychology called ‘pop’ psychology has led many people to find easy ways to declare themselves as psychologists with minimum exposure to the science. Many non-psychologist professionals, such as doctors, management executives, commerce graduates call themselves alternately ‘counselors’, ‘psychotherapists’ and ‘psychologists’ and do more harm than good to the individual and the science. This ‘pop’ psychology learnt from popular books on self improvement and short term courses has become alarming and is reaching dangerous proportions. The public should beware of the unqualified and inexperienced, self proclaimed ‘psychologists’. ‘Pop’ psychology has gained popularity like fast food which dishes out quick fix measures with ‘how do this and how to do that’ recipes without much understanding or knowing and touching the depths of the mind. These quick fix measures may work temporarily like faith healing but do not give insights into the person’s mind or personality factors. Hence it becomes like brushing up the external face and making cosmetic changes. But self awareness in such practices remains a far cry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *