"Selling" psychology

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"Selling" psychology

Post by NotReally » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:42 pm

Hey all, hope you're well

So I've noticed that often when I tell people that my degree etc is in psychology, it's normally greeted with a look of apprehension, followed by a comment like "don't analyse me!", but I've always managed to steer the conversation away from that and it's all been fine. In my current job though, which I haven't been in for long, I've been told stuff like "ooh, I don't really like psychology", or just a general disapproving look when I mention it. This is all the more odd because another department I went to today for training actually apply PIPE guidelines to their work, and I think they even employ some people specifically to help with mental health issues. I'm pretty sure the whole system is heading that way soon too. I was just wondering if anybody else has been in similar situations, or had similar experiences (obviously when in a role not explicitly psychology related)? Any tips on dealing with it?

I'm working some comically designed shift patterns now, so might not get on for a while, so thanks in advance for any responses.

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Re: "Selling" psychology

Post by Spatch » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:10 am

Any tips on dealing with it?
Partly, its going to be setting your own realistic expectations that people are going to think what they want to think, and most will come along believing the "myths" around any subject. You can't really control that, and the most helpful thing you can do is not to be too defensive around it. If people are going to hold attitudes they will, and even at qualified level you will get medics and managers who are like that.

The other half is just emphasise the mundane aspects of it. "I wish I could read minds but most of the degree is statistics and neuroscience with the odd interesting theory." Or "Not really able to analyse serial killers, but I run you a statistical t-test if you'd like."
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Re: "Selling" psychology

Post by NotReally » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:46 pm

Spatch wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:10 am

"Not really able to analyse serial killers, but I run you a statistical t-test if you'd like."
That awkward moment when they say "yeah, that'd be great" and I get it wrong...

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Re: "Selling" psychology

Post by lingua_franca » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:50 pm

I'm currently doing a course in psychoanalytic approaches to child development. Reactions I have had include "Freud? Isn't that all about sex and hating your mother?" and "Oooh, I had a weird dream last night, can you tell me what it means?" I don't go into a detailed explanation about what I'm actually doing, unless the person is really curious to know - I just give a response similar to Spatch's and leave it at that.

Sometimes there is some professional rivalry at work. The therapist at the special school where I teach is quite disparaging of what I'm learning, and sometimes I wonder if she feels that her position is threatened by me (I did PhD research on trauma-affected children, while her highest qualification is a diploma in counselling). Once I was discussing a child's behavioural needs with another teacher and she interjected with something like, "I'm so glad you already know this, Lingua. It's refreshing not to have to teach everybody." Her view on my child development course is that it's "interesting for historic reasons, but we don't really use that today." I suspect she doesn't really believe that and she is just feeling a need to assert herself. It wouldn't help matters if I tried to sell her on psychoanalytic theory, so again, I just keep quiet and try to show in unobtrusive ways that I respect her own opinions and approaches.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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Re: "Selling" psychology

Post by ell » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:01 am

If people are actually saying "ooh, I don't like psychology", then you can always ask them in a gentle curious way why that is. But I also think a good way of selling psychology is just by being yourself, using psychology (and other skills!) to help the team, and giving them time to come round to the usefulness of psychology. Telling people why psychology is great is OK, but showing them is much better. (I'm sure there's a psychological theory behind that... )

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