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jazmina88's avatar

What does it take to give psychological advice?

Asked by jazmina88 (11647points) July 10th, 2010

do you need a degree in Psych to try to answer some of these relationship questions? I dont have one, but I’ve been through life and had good and bad relationships, and I think I know what it takes to make it, with a little help from my friends, and jellies.

Does treating people well make it good, being through abuse, or just knowing jargon? Isnt it about compassion and exploring the feelings and strengths of others wills??

In the end, don’t we all make our own decisions, taking all this input with a grain of salt, taking what you need.

Dr. L – Take no offense. please… are the bomb diggity!

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24 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Anyone can give psychological advice assuming it is well-intended, not meant to diagnose, and not laden with misinformation.

SmashTheState's avatar

Here in Kanada, at least, anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “counsellor.” No professional degree or qualification required. In fact, a friend of mine was studying for a psych degree in university, and the professor offered to give a recommendation and referrals to any student who wanted to drop out and open their own counselling service, since there’s such a shortage of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists that there’s a backlog years long.

jazmina88's avatar

I should move to Canada…....

I went to a counselor who picked lettuce out of his shoe…....For some reason, that ticked me right off.

Ron_C's avatar

I worked as a Drug and Alcohol counselor the Navy for a time. You have to build a wall between yourself and your client otherwise the stories get to you. You have to develop a limit to your empathy otherwise it will destroy your own balance. I am, obviously, no longer practicing. It is not a good part-time job for someone that is an engineer at heart.

john65pennington's avatar

In my police department, the officers must have a psychological evaluation every three years. you can understand why. one year, i was sent to a psychiatrist that was unknown to me. on my appointment date, i entered the doctor’s office and waited my turn. during my “interview”, i was seated across the desk from “the doctor”. after asking me a few questions, this doctor opened his desk drawer and took out a box of pencils. i thought he was about to write a book about me. instead, he bagan to take one pencil out of the box, stretch back in his chair and throw the pencil into the ceiling insullation above him. there were already approx. 12 pencils stuck in the ceiling. i sat there and watched him repeat this over and over again. made me wonder if maybe we should swap chairs. no offense to any doctors on Fluther, but this person needed his own evaluation. i passed.

Zyx's avatar

I firmly believe Psychology is no science, merely speculation on the human mind because we don’t know what’s actually going on. Psychology isn’t capable of understanding the process but with a construct of functions you can start to predict people. Psychology is like cutting bonsai trees and it is also eerily similar to dragging someone into a dark alley and carving your name into their brain before you sow the scalp back on.

But that’s like… my opinion man ;)

keobooks's avatar

I think most psychologists and professional councillors don’t give out advice. They try to talk to their clients and help them figure out solutions on their own—kind of like the socratic method of education. Most councillors these days believe that people will be more likely to follow the advice if they figure out the answers on their own.

Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil are not psychologists (at least I don’t think so.) And I think they give shrinks the bad name. They aren’t suposed to be agony aunts or Dear Abby, or other yentas.

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington I had a similar experience. I am claustrophobic and had a very bad reaction when I was locked in a holding cell for underage drinking. The Navy sent me the a psychiatrist for evaluation. The guy was a little scary to me and I was 19 years old and not afraid of anything. He seemed disorganized and nervous. Even with my phobia, I was a much more stable person.

By the way, I learned to more or less the claustrophobia without outside help. Of course you won’t catch me going, voluntarily into a close space but I won’t freak out if I have to.

MaryW's avatar

In college some of my nuttiest friends were in psychology. Wow what fun. They were not grounded at all. A professional using their own problems as a base to tell others what to do is not good and having lived through problems is by itself not a diploma for helping others. I think anyone who truely listens and directs/mentors a person to the ability to solve their own problems can be helpful. As most people are self centered I would think the percentage of people who are capable of guiding a truely troubled person to creative and purposeful thought and self help are few.

tinyfaery's avatar

Anyone an give advice. Only trained professionals should speak about diagnoses, treatments and medication; it is much too dangerous for the ignorant to attempt these things.

anartist's avatar

At the very least a disclaimer that one is speaking from personal experience if one is not a medical/psychological/social worker professional, so one’s advice can be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I’m not here to represent psychology as a profession.

Not unlike Medicine, Clinical Psychology is a blend of science and art (interpersonal skill, intuition, sensitivity, good judgment, patience, subtlety, and a number of other characteristics).

If you want to find fault with a psychologist or physician, you will. Every one of these is a human being with characteristics that make them as variable as everyone else. Can you build a close working relationship with everybody you meet? Neither can health care professionals!

There are some extraordinary people who possess a set of skills acquired through life experience that enable them to be wonderful counsellors for people distressed with common life problems.

With some education to help them distinguish between problems for which they are equipped and serious psychopathology which requires assessment and treatment techniques they do not possess, these people can benefit many people. Are these caring people psychologists? No.

@tinyfaery‘s point fits perfectly right here.

The training and skills to every assess a person’s skills and abilities and to start to identify the presence of personality and thought disorders requires extensive training. Such people are psychometrists.

The skills to diagnose and treat these disorders takes years of study and supervised clinical experience.

The science of psychology is the basis for the skills of psychometric assessment, clinical assessment, and the wide range of therapeutic techniques.

Most lay people have only a vague notion of what those skills involve.

We can all take cheap shots at physicians, psychologists, mechanics, contractors and any skilled profession. It can be entertaining or just foolish. You are all free to do so.

Many people do not know what they don’t know about the science and the professional skills involved in treating psychopathologies and behavioural disorders. That makes them especially talented at mocking and dismissing what professional clinical psychologists do.

If they or those they care about ever need such professionals, I hope they won’t let their attitude, ignorance, or the shortage of such professionals prevent them for seeking the help that is needed.

Ron_C's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence and others here. I w,ant to make it clear, it is psychiatry and psychiatrists that I doubt. I am sure that there are a scattering of very good psychiatrists but for the most part, to me, they appear to be a group of troubled, MD’s looking for a diagnosis of themselves and over-drugging people that need real care.

In my travels, I have met very good psychologists. What strikes me is the truly good ones are humble and empathetic. Just the opposite of the psychiatrists. I’m not sure if it is the training or the people attracted to it.

keobooks's avatar

@Ron_C I feel a little sorry for psychiatrists these days. With the way medical billing work, they frequently only see their patients every few months, when it’s time to renew prescriptions. They used to have more creativity and time to spend with patients. Now they seem to be glorified dosing nurses. I think neuropsychiatry may be kind of interesting, but psychiatry itself is not much of an art anymore. Except for the paycheck, I’d rather be a psychologist any day.

josie's avatar

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Dr_Lawrence's avatar

For the longest time, psychiatrists were tied to the medical model and the psychodynamic perspective that originated with Freud, Jung and their followers that many can’t see the forest for the trees. There are some marvellous exceptions and they have been gradually have a big impact on their field.

The best psychologists I know are humble (despite their academic and professional brilliance) and they are deeply empathetic as well, despite the need to keep a professional distance.
Those who lack empathy are rarely successful. Those lacking humility typically do poorly at retaining clients and therefore do not make much of a living.

flo's avatar

A lot of people can give advice whithout taking one course in psychology. So you are right. You don’t need a degree unless it is for a job.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Of course if you a good neighbour with a garden hose, then your buddy next door may be able to skip calling the fire department when his house is ablaze.

Ron_C's avatar

@flo some people that helped me through personal crisis are a Catholic Priest, the lady that ran the convenience store on our block, and the psychologist that taught me to control the pain from a leg injury.

Good advice and a friendly ear come in all shapes, forms, and occupations. The trick is finding the right one and a medical license is no guarantee.

YARNLADY's avatar

For good psychological advice, one should consult a psychologist.

The users of Fluther can tell you of our own experiences and what worked or didn’t work for us and those we know. That kind of information can often be very helpful.

flo's avatar

A lot of people with all kinds of degrees are not qualified to do what they do for a living. Psychologists, perfect example.
Another thing,who is it that asked if you are not ethically compatible with your psychologist, then what?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@flo The key is to find a therapist with a good reputation who turns out after a few sessions to be a good match in relevant ways to the client.

That applies to any professional you employ to help you solve a problem.

Your use of “A lot” may be something of an overstatement. The marketplace tends to weed out the incompetents and those whose interpersonal skills are seriously lacking.

flo's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence ”...find a therapist with a good reputation who turns out after a few sessions to be a good match in relevant ways to the client.” That’s if you have the luxury of time, money (”...after a few sessions…”) etc. It should be rare that one has to go shopping from one therapist to another. It shouldn’t be the norm. There was a military person whose spouse was trying to commit suicide, and she said that she was very uncomfortable with the professional she was assigned to. So I don’t think it is like “any professional you employ to help you solve a problem”

When you look at the TV shows, and not just the reality shows, even the news programs what does that say about psychologists, psychiatrists, general?

flo's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence ”...The marketplace tends to weed out the incompetents and those whose interpersonal skills are seriously lacking” I don’t understand that. Do most people who need the professionals know how to assess them? I think they probably think something is wrong with themselves. And the psychologist is going to put the blame on the patient instead of his incompetence, no? How does anyone know what is what?

And the “seriously lacking” part is sad by the way. We just have to weed out the “seriously lacking” ones? That is the lowest of standards.

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