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Why Is Each Psychology Subfield An Echo Chamber? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.


Why Is Each Psychology Subfield An Echo Chamber? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.

I absolutely have to admit that it was really difficult to pick just one reflection to share from my brand-new book Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 4. Since there are a lot of really interesting, thought-provoking and fascinating reflections on clinical psychology and psychology as a whole. Therefore, in this podcast episode, you’re going to be learn about how different areas of psychology can be echo chambers at times, why this is a bad thing and how this could change. If you enjoy reflective practice, clinical psychology and psychology as a discipline, then you’ll enjoy today’s episode for sure.


This psychology podcast episode has been sponsored by Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 4: Thoughts On Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also available as an AI-narrated audiobook from selected audiobook platforms and libraries systems. For example, Kobo, Spotify, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Overdrive, Baker and Taylor and Bibliotheca.


Extract From Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 4 (COPYRIGHT 2024 Connor Whiteley)

I should probably say up front that the applied psychology subfields, like forensic psychology, clinical psychology and developmental psychology, are probably the exceptions to this rule, but I want to explore my point first of all. And I want to mention the limits and drawbacks of this question about clinical psychology at the end.


I’ll start off by explaining this generally before I explain the flat out weird inspiration that kicked off the idea behind this reflection.


If we take a step outside clinical psychology for a moment and look at the three “main” approaches to behaviour. We have biological, cognitive and social psychology and all of these are fairly divorced from the others and this is great, but bad at the same time.


For example, it is brilliant that biological psychology only looks at our biology and how these processes impact our behaviour. It gives biological psychology researchers the freedom to explore our biology without getting mixed up with cognitive and social psychology.


The same goes for cognitive psychology. It’s great that cognitive researchers can investigate our mental health and occasionally tap into biological or neuropsychology without worrying about social psychology variables.


Equally, it is so freeing that social psychologists can focus on how social situations and factors impact our own individual and group behaviour without having messy biological or cognitive factors interfering with the social behaviour.


And yes I know there is some overlap between these three disciplines as seen in social cognition, brain wave activity and how that impacts learning (what I did my dissertation on) and there are a handful of other crossovers too.


Yet my point is still hopefully clear. Each subfield of psychology is fairly or basically exclusively divorced from each other, which has its benefits and drawbacks.


In addition, the entire reason why this reflection is being written in the first place is because of a weird comment a friend of mine said. Now as psychology students we’re all used to weird comments, but this comment I found really weird and mind-bending.


“That’s cognitive psychology. I don’t know if you clinical people are into that,”


Now I completely forget what we were talking about but I remember we were standing in the computer rooms where we were all testing our participants that day and when she said that I was shocked for a few easy reasons I will show you below (just bear in bear that psychological, cognitive and mental processes are the exact same thing)

·       Psychotherapy

·       Clinical psychologist

·       Psychological therapy

·       Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


Those four aspects are absolutely core features of clinical psychology and without those four, our profession could not function but this friend of mine actually believed clinical psychology was NOT interested in mental processes.


Personally, because this friend is great and I really like her, I’m going to be a little kinder than I normally would because this opinion makes no sense to me.


Yes, my friend is a cognitive person by trade and she is obsessed with cognitive psychology but again, she wants to work in clinical psychology. As well as this builds on perfectly from the last reflection, I really want people who want to work in clinical psychology settings to actually understand clinical psychology early on.


Since if she did take any clinical psychology modules or did any sort of clinical research then she would know without a shadow of a doubt that clinical psychology is all about the biological, psychological (cognitive) and social factors that interact together to develop and maintain a mental health condition.


Therefore, the fact that she thought clinical psychology couldn’t give a rat’s behind about cognitive processes, really hammered home to me just how isolated the theoretical and applied disciplines are.


And this I think is a massive shame because one of the biggest problems in the clinical psychology literature is that it is written by research academics in a way that either isn’t understandable or usable by clinical practitioners. Basically making the research next to useless.

This is a problem that might start to be fixed in the future because I know there are clinical psychologists conducting research and lecturing at universities more than ever (apparently), but it is still a problem that needs to be overcome.


Also, if this problem starts with academics and people in the biological, cognitive and social psychology approaches themselves. Then in an ideal world, they would at least be given clinical psychology teaching or something by a real clinical psychologist so they could understand the practical sides of everything.


Since so much of clinical psychology is about practicalities and, at least in the UK, knowing what you can and cannot do in the NHS. This isn’t a dig at anyone, it is just my opinions on the whole mess we find ourselves in.


Furthermore, what I really think this is about is communication and cooperation between the disciplines. I am not saying that the theoretical approach shouldn’t do applied research or research that might be able to be adapted into something useful and practical because that is stupid. As well as everyone in academia should have the freedom to research whatever they want if it is legal, useful and ethical.


However, what I am saying is that if we ever want researchers and students and academia as a whole to truly understand the applied disciplines and what clinical psychology actually cares about. There has to be more communication and cooperation across the disciplines and then that would have other benefits as well.


Especially since a clinical psychologist would bring the real-world experience and clinical expertise to a project, and an academic would bring the hard science methodology that clinical psychologists might not have done for years.


There is plenty of room for both if academia allows it to.


The age of echo chambers needs to end and the age of academia afterwards needs to be more useful to applied disciplines, cooperative and have a lot more communication for sure because clinical psychology cares about everything that would help them to decrease the psychological distress of their clients and improve lives.


That is all we care about at the end of the day.

 

I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode.


If you want to learn more, please check out:


Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 4: Thoughts On Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also available as an AI-narrated audiobook from selected audiobook platforms and libraries systems. For example, Kobo, Spotify, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Overdrive, Baker and Taylor and Bibliotheca.



Have a great day.


Clinical Psychology Reference

Whiteley, C. (2024) Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 4: Thoughts On Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Psychotherapy. CGD Publishing. England


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