Prejudice against Psychology

psychology-science-bannersAs the university admissions near, i’m getting a lot of questions about what i’m going to pursue. I used to say i’m going to major in Psychology, but I know better now. The reactions that people here give me are rather prejudiced, and unexpected.  They say, why would you want to major in psychology?? You’ll become a psycho studying it. And while many of them mean it as a joke, some say it quite seriously. They say most psychologists we’ve seen become mentally ill themselves. And that results in me explaining to them the difference between psychology and psychiatry.

It’s true that sometimes a psychologist is influenced by his patient’s illness, but that only happens out of serious concern, and is not permanent. It  does not mean that the psychologist himself has got that illness. Psychologists are actually very helpful to the world. Studying psychology has always been an interest for me since i’m very curious about the mind.

And that’s what psychology is. The study of mind and behaviour. Getting to know humanity. understanding people. Finding out what causes emotional and psychological stress in people. What the root cause of their stress is. Finding out what makes for better mental development. How much our physical state affects our mental state. What triggers emotions. What makes for a better learner…. The subject is so vast, that it has not even been given a very definite definition yet. Though I think it would be most appropriate to define  it as the study of mind and behaviour. It’s a vast enough definition and covers the scope of the subject.

So with the subject being that vast, it really isn’t fair to judge it based on one small part of it. Psychology aims for better mental experiences, and health. And it has gained quick acceptance all over the world, people are fascinated by it’s subject matter. It’s the key to knowing and possibly even controlling human minds, though the controlling aspect might make it sinister. If you know psychology, you’ll know how to handle people better, you’ll be able to handle personal traumas better, you’ll be able to help others handle them. You will be able to love people better by understanding them. You’ll know to hate for the right reasons.

One problem that I’ve noticed many people have with psychology students-and I say students because I think professional psychologists are better able to contain themselves and know to keep their analyzing minds to the office and refrain from judging- is that they start trying to analyze everyone they interact with. They start trying to study them and their situations. Well cut them some slack, I say. They’re only exploring their subject. Everyone does it. You learn something new, you try to find it in society. You develop an interest in a subject, you try to study it in depth in real life. And if that subject is psychology, then our laboratories are your minds. And our own minds too.

Of course, I admit, it must be frustrating to know you’re being analyzed, maybe judged too. And it probably doesn’t feel nice. But that’s how the developing psychologist learns his limits. Learns to control his curiosity, his power. And by all means, tell him off if it gets too creepy!

Another thing, we Muslims are prejudiced against the subject because of some psychologists like Freud I think. But hey, we can’t alter theories if we don’t get into the subject and introduce better ones, now can we?

Here I will end my rant, or justification, or explanation-call it what you may. It felt nice to say this, though I see I got slightly carried away up there.

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30 thoughts on “Prejudice against Psychology

  1. Setting aside the efficacy of its treatments, the problem with the field is that it lacks a fully patient focused ethic.

    Psychologists rarely seem to be clear about whether the client is the patient, family, carer, institution, society or mankind as a whole.

    Where there is an institutional ethic it is more likely to be consequentialist rather than principlist as with most medical professions.

    You will see psychologists at the forefront of human rights abuse ever since the profession was invented and they are easily captured by institutions with more rigorous behavioural frameworks – e.g. bureaucracies, militaries, drug companies.

    Whatever the stated intent of the profession and its practitioners, I reckon the institution needs a lot more work on its technology and its morality.

    • I can’t say much about that… I don’t see such examples here in Pakistan actually. Well except for one. Yes, you’re right it needs more work on its technology and morality. It needs a lot more work on training of psychologists too. And… Psychologists need to learn to maintain their own sanity at ALL times.

  2. So you, Ansa and Fatima, as psychology students, are going to judge me from now on? :p
    The world’s gonna pass us remarks no matter what we do so why not do something that interests us, where we think our true potential can be unleased 🙂 Good luck Moniba 😀 *imagining yourself as a future psychologist with spectatcles and a private clinic* 😀

    • Hahaha… No we know you too well to even need to judge you 😉
      You’re right. And hey, don’t imagine me as “that”. I’m not going to major in Psychology. I’m thinking about Mass communication or Education as majors. Psychology from now on, is going to be subsidiary.

  3. Not that I’ve got anything against psychologists as people, mind.
    Nearly all the ones I’ve met have been very nice and I love talking to analysts as much as anyone.

    I’m just careful about telling them where I live ;).

    • Hahah. Of course. Don’t worry, if I do go on to become a psychologist, I’ll be a better one, and I’ll go into educational psychology since that interests me most.

  4. Let me tell you a thing ! When I didn’t opted medical for my studies and preferred engineering, all my family members and friends were annoyed, they use to say things like why didnt you go to medical and engineering is not a good field for girls and etc etc you know…..But the same people now ask me when are you completing and what is the future plan . People always criticize you at first. Don’t hear them Just do what you want to do with your future and what Allah wants for you ! Everything will go great inshAllah ! And please do a full checkup of me too after completing your psychology 😛 Free 😛 I am sure you will make me your regular patient 😉
    Love the post and reading your views…..Keep it up and good luck 🙂 xx

  5. More power to you and psychology! Let them judge you for analyzing them. They will be thankful one day when you will help them with their problems. Psychological problems are still a taboo in our society. Hopefully one day we will give them the same attention we give to our bodily diseases.

  6. Yes! Psychology! That’s the whole beauty of psychology…the constant analysis, the ability to forsee a root problem and let the person come to the conclusion about it on their own!

    Psychology is useful no matter what field you go in, its the art of mastering human relationships and God knows Pakistan needs more of that!

  7. Whom did you ever meet who was, and I quote ” prejudiced against the subject because of some psychologists like Freud”?

    • A friend.. She found his theories a bit vulgar. Although if that is the reality, we can not change it. But I think his theories are only given so much importance because not many have challenged them with proper and acceptable theories of their own.

  8. Psychology is a great area to be in. We certainly need to understand human mind to make this world more humane.
    And yes, sometimes being Muslim puts into a narrow space – But it should not be – our scripture encourages us to learn, to explore …
    All the best to you.

    • Thankyou Amira. It doesn’t exactly put one in narrow space, or atleast it wouldn’t, if we had proper knowledge of what our deen entails..

  9. Ah! Psychology. Always wanted to choose is as my major since as long as i can remember but i had to choose something else.
    I would say the same thing to you what i said to this girl who came for my advised about what to choose. She was saying the same thing that people are asking me why i want to choose this and all the bad thing. So i i told her, people will always talk. Most of the time they don’t even know anything about a certain field yet they won’t resist giving negative comments about it. Most of the time people are jealous of you(which they would show by their actions or won’t even show at all) since they don’t want you to succeed so they will demotivate you. Don’t listen to them. Just follow your heart. You know whats best for you not them so let them speak and show them that your decision wasn’t wrong.

    A really good post, loved reading it. Keep writing.
    All the very best for your future 🙂

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