Medics With Voices
Medics With Voices

Have psychologists made therapy “pop-culture” in ways that are detrimental to the field?

Hilary:

“Going to therapy” used to be reserved for extreme life circumstances where professional help was necessary to get people through.

It is fantastic that access to services has increased for those in need (whenever that need may arise). However, therapy has been normalised in such a way that people treat their “therapist” like going to have a chat with a friend. The pop-culturing of therapy and access to mental health services is turning a clinical intervention into a cultural experience. The intervention has become less about improving mental health and more about virtue signalling.

Psychologists have an ethical and financial incentive to make access to services easy but when this access creates a laissez-faire attitude towards the intervention itself, it diminishes its impact on clients and waters-down seriousness of the field in general. Psychologists should create more stringent clinical criteria for admitting people into their practice rather than taking people’s money when they’ve had a couple bad days.

Dr. Uche:

Simple answer. Nope…and I’m not talking about the Jordan Peele movie either.

So I’m going to dissect the question. Whilst I agree that therapy is indeed now pimped in “pop culture”, that’s probably more to the detriment of society-at-large rather than the field of therapy/counselling. Nowadays you can’t even scour a dating app without seeing multiple requests from prospective love interests for you to be in therapy and, sure, there’s certainly a sense that the goals and aims of therapy have been bastardised into self-indulgent, virtue signalling, but again, that hurts society more than the field.

So who’s to blame? Well, I certainly wouldn’t say that therapists have made their work “pop-culture”; if you ask me the largest culprit is the trend culture of modern media, in particular social media; where trauma, anxiety, narcissism and other very significant conditions / life happenings have almost been trivialised.

The twisted irony is not lost on me that social media is also driving a lot of these problems. You see, I actually believe that Psychologists benefit massively from this pop culture shift (not just financially). They have an opportunity to educate people more around their field and the correct ways to access their specialty – in a world where we only seem to swing from one extreme to another in a constantly reactive cycle; the field of psychology has an opportunity to bring some balance, starting with the essence of therapy. 

*Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this platform are those of the individuals and not representative of any particular institution. This is not to be taken as medical advice.

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