The Paradox of Psychology: A Taste
When I think of clinical psychology in the year 2011, I think of how much our culture has changed since Freud. America was primarily dominated by European Americans and their ideals and values. People of color were hidden in their shadows and were forced to be understood by the dominant culture's hazy view of life. Ethnic minority groups have grown significantly over the past few decades and it is predicted that they will become the new majority in near future. Even so, understanding the psyche of ethnic minority groups through the lens of clinical psychology is still limited. As our society becomes more integrated with the values and beliefs of different cultures, the field of psychology is lagging behind.
Last week, I went to an internship meeting at school. Since I've applied for internship this year, I decided to attend the meeting to get some pointers and learn about the interview process. I haven't been back to the program in an academic setting in at least 5 years. The immediate observation that struck me was that I was the only ethnic minority in the group of nearly 25 students who applied for internship this year. Psychology continues to be a White dominated field, despite the fact that psychology is meant to represent universal truth and human conditions. How universal can psychology be when its messengers are only from one culture? How all encompassing and understanding can psychology be when those that represent the field only carry and understand the values of one culture...theirs? More importantly, how is it that in the 21st century, the field of psychology continues to attract the majority group? There are many factors to consider and one of them is to look at how psychology is portrayed and the subject matter that is taught.
Another observation I noticed was selfishness. As I sat in class and there were bags of chocolate being passed around the room, the two females sitting next to me didn't even bother to ask if I would have liked to have some, especially since I was sitting at a strange and distant angle. They took their share and completely ignored my presence. This is the future of psychology. It is disgraceful and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So for those ethnic minorities that need psychological help, I highly doubt that these sort of individuals could possibly understand concepts of interdependence, community, and selflessness.
Elaine recently commented on my last blog. She stated, "The exploration of the self, in and of itself, a full time job. 99% of the world never bother to complete this process leading to enlightenment...I wonder how people with soup after their names sit in positions to teach others about themselves when they are so far from their own true selves." People with soup after their names do not teach others about themselves. They teach the accomplishments of others. They spend their whole lives memorizing books and reading about the ideals and views of others. They rarely have their own life experiences to gain insight from and to teach from. Their time is occupied meeting requirements to become tenured, grading papers, preparing the next lesson, etc and outside of the academic world, they have focus only on their own personal lives with family and friends. The academic world is a full time job and the reality is that what they teach in the classroom is far from the reality of the outside world.
This just is a taste of the paradox of psychology.