08 July 2005

The Future of Psychology

As I watched some sit-com about interns in a hospital setting, one of the characters ended up talking with a psychologist with his jaws wired shut. At first, the shrink goes nuts having to listen to the fledgling doctor. Unable to voice his opinions, he finally finds a pen and paper. His first question: "How does that make you feel?"

Renee, my wife, laughed and said that all shrinks ask that question, repeatedly. True, how true. Then I had some prophetic vision in regards to psychology as a practice. Now, I may be optimistic here, but I foresee the day when the trade slips into obscurity because people will finally realize they don't need to pay someone to ask them "How does that make you feel?" Of course, many a shrink might follow this postulation with the other standard question of the practice, "And, when did you start experiencing these visions?"


Anonymous said...

You are optimistic about the psychology profession. I tend to be more pessamistic here and think that many people will always be willing to pay others to ask/tell them the very thing they were thinking themselves. I like your version better though, it contains more hope.


theresa said...

I taught a Communication Skills course for Social Workers at the University for about 5 years. I always hated that question because it's the lazy way out. It communicates nothing at all. The least they can do is listen well enough to hear and understand how the patient feels. Better to say, "It sounds like you're feeling _____ because ..."

As a therapist the bare minimum I could provide a client was my complete attention for 50 minutes without asking for anything in return (except money, of course). Sometimes people really don't have anyone in their lives who will lilsten that well and that long.
Bottom line: you're right. In a lot of situations, a good friend would be a better alternative.

Kyle Stich said...

Shannon, I'm pessimistic about seeing anything happen in mine or my great-great-great grandchild's lifetime.

Theresa, I like your revision to the classic question; it says much more and gives the client the opportunity to respond or react, providing the therapist further insight into the client's psyche.