Myths vs reality about psychologists. Ladies and gentlemen and non-binary members of the group, we are testing the reality.
So, the first myth is that a psychologist himself must be happy and sophisticated. Let me explain: to be sophisticated does not mean to be happy. Of course, when it comes to the topic a client wants to clarify, a psychologist should be more sophisticated. However, to be sophisticated does not mean to have the same life experience, but rather the absence of unconscious injuries in the area a client wants to understand. This understanding will reach you only after the first session. You do not need to ‘read’ or see the defense activity of a psychologist. If you see it means that a psychologist himself/herself needs consultation from you. If the first meeting brought a feeling of hope, relief, and a better understanding of yourself and the true underlying reason for your request, then you should schedule a second session. Second myth: good diplomas = good psychologist. The best psychologist is the one who underwent psychotherapy himself/herself, as a client, and who still continues to work with a supervisor. Diplomas play an important role, but even the most prestigious certificate or diploma will not beat the professional development of a psychologist who worked out his/her problems with another psychologist. Please believe me! Unfortunately, coaches/theoretical psychologists who terribly ‘do good’ without understanding that they support a person`s neurosis with their positive intentions, are dangerous and very common ‘entertainment’ in our country.
Third myth: a good psychologist hands out advice. There is another myth that spread by fellow psychologists that a psychologist does not provide advice. I will dispel both. Every advice is different. A psychologist should not say what to do or not to do. Nevertheless, sometimes I take responsibility and tell the client: look, you are thinking one way, feeling another, and doing the third way; and this is your chance to learn how to enjoy what you are doing or stop doing what makes you suffer every time. I can insist that a person should make this choice, seeing how he/she suffers from an internal contradiction, and then accompany him/her on this path.
Is it advice? Yes, it is! Moreover, it can hardly be called universal! But it helped many people to improve their quality of life in no small way. It is true that a ‘good psychologist’ should improve the client’s ability to take responsibility for his/her life, and should not tell what and how to do. Recommendations – yes (techniques of self-regulation, exercises, etc.), it is unprofessionally to hand out advice and opinions! Best of all would be to leave a client unaware of what exactly a psychologist thinks about a particular situation and how he/she would act in this situation.
The principle of the work of a psychologist is to discover unconscious conflicts of a client, discrepancies in thoughts, feelings and actions, and not to throw around ‘expert’ remarks such as ‘you will like it when you get used to it’. Sorry, it is painful, obviously! I recently looked through the instagrams of some colleagues that hand out such advice that dishonors the profession. Fourth myth: self-help is the best help or only a loved one will support you. First of all, ‘have a good weep’ is far from the main point of working with a psychologist. Psychology is a somewhat ‘pseudoscience’ because we cannot understand our subconsciousness with our consciousness, this is how the brain works. The principle of the work of a psychologist is to ‘bring’ the unconscious conflict to a conscious level and work it out. You don’t have to suffer or be a psycho to seek a psychologist`s advice, you may just want to improve the quality of your life or learn how to better understand yourself and your loved ones (until life chucked you out from the ‘Matrix’ of your unconscious defenses and a psychologist`s advice became a necessity).
Fifth myth: if a psychologist has no children/family/plenty of money … it is better not to seek advice on this topic. That is not quite the case. A psychologist’s life experience and his/her professional expertise are not combined in all areas. If we talk about narcissistic, superficial attributes, that is about the ego (success, money, career, public speaking, etc.), then, of course, it will be more effective to consult a coach/psychologist who in addition to theoretical knowledge embodies the abovementioned attributes. The connection here is non-linear. If a psychologist is a star, it does not mean that you will become a star too. If a psychologist is good, successful, rich and starry, of course, it better to consult such a psychologist. When it comes to deeper topics, my professional experience shows that efficiency is nothing close to the same personal experience. It’s enough for a psychologist to be able to work with the subconscious, see a client’s personality structure, use relevant technique and have empathy.
Sixth myth: it’s difficult to communicate with a psychologist in a real life because he/she analyses you all the time. Every time when I said I am a psychologist I heard a phrase like ‘Oh, you are probably analyzing me right now?’ It reminds me of a joke about how a prostitute answers a question from a factory employee how did she spend her vacation on the beach? ‘Imagine, she says, here you are on vacation, and there are machine tools everywhere.’ A psychologist is a person who wants to take a step back from a job, has own thoughts, feelings, desires, hobbies and the last thing he/she wants to do during the party is to analyze you. But a myth has a bit of truth in it. It is really difficult to build close relationships with a psychologist. Double, triple meanings, multistoried interpretations … Well, if you are not going to marry a psychologist (not yours, of course, this is not a myth that relationships with your psychologist must be tabooed), then do not be afraid of the fact that he/she constantly analyzes you, but rather ask him what is up? Seventh myth: a psychologist will always look for problems from your childhood. Somehow it is true. Why somehow? It is crucial not to go over the top with self-examination and not to shift all responsibility for the current sorrows onto parents. Broking the perfect image of parents is just a stage. And to see that they are made of flesh and blood is quite a different story. A psychologist needs to work with the past so that you better understand yourself in the present. Of course, it is a way better for a person far from psychology to consider his/her boss a fool than to admit own negative attitude to any authoritative person, because his/her father used to ‘drink and abuse’. Moreover, the search for this connection is not a goal in itself! Having realized and experienced this connection, you will stop provoking a boss to the conflict and explain your emotions with the actions of your boss. You will learn to see your own desires behind these unconscious scenarios, create goals from them and make your life happier. Such freedom really worth seeking a professional`s advice, isn`t it?