Psychologists pessimists

Psychologists pessimists

I want to warn about the danger hanging over those who like to read and write about psychology. This applies to both professionals and amateurs. We, people who are fond of psychology, are trying to find an objective scientific explanation for human behavior.

When it comes to human behavior, we need little superficial glance, we are always trying to understand the hidden motives. Day after day, practicing psychologists receive clients and try to be as neutral as possible. Customers ask them to probe a little here, a little – there. Understand why they act anyway. To get to the bottom of the truth, to determine one single reason.

And although we are trying to be neutral, it is impossible. We decide what to probe, and especially focus on what seems strange, wrong, inappropriate, or deviating from the norm.

We don’t ask customers something in the spirit: “Tell me honestly, why did you decide to brush your teeth again last night?” We don’t ask, because we believe that brushing your teeth is normal and good for health. We focus on identifying psychological abnormalities based on how we understand them, and regardless of whether we get it right or not.

This is the danger. We tend to consider abnormal everything that we don’t like. And this means that we tend to concentrate on what hurts, disappoints and does not suit us. Yes, we say that we are client-oriented enough to concentrate on what they consider problematic. But we cannot believe and do not believe them completely. And we do not cling to the very first explanation that they find to their behavior. In our seemingly neutral psychological profession, we have moral standards, and they determine what we focus on as an analyst. And since we, like all people, are inclined to consider immoral what offends or disappoints us, we cannot but drag this “engagement” into our analysis.