Yes, psychologists engaged in a mental health intervention they are part of those groups of professionals who, alongside photographers, musicians and many others, are often challenged by the idea: “do you work for free for me, please?”.
Of course, these types of demands are never raised so directly; they are usually expressed implicitly, so that the conversation still has the appearance of an informal dialogue when basically a professional level engagement is offered.
But no, the work of health psychologists it is defined, precisely, as a job, something for which payment is to be received by default, Either patients or public entities. If this very basic idea is not respected by many people, it is partly because of two myths about psychology that we will see below.
The personal need to “make people happy”
One of the myths that most fuels the belief that psychologists are supposed to give free therapy is the idea that, having chosen this career, before workers are pure souls who are happy simply by making others happy. In other words, doing favors.
Of course, this vision of what it means to “make others happy” is totally interested and in the short term. How many people could benefit from a psychologist who has to spend a large part of the week exercising for free? For how long?
The same idealistic view that leads to saying, for example, that culture is free to advocate for artists to see how their work is distributed without charging anything, makes many people see psychologists as people who can afford to become themselves in an NGO (although without the advantages of NGOs).
Of course, psychologists like to help othersAnd in many cases, this feeling is what makes many decide to start a psychology degree. But this does not mean that by default and until otherwise indicated, the interests of others must take precedence over those of the professional.
Anyone can give advice
Another myth that leads many people to expect free psychotherapy sessions is that what is done in them is essentially counseling. Something that can be done in a bar, something that is easy and intuitive. Something that can even happen as a leisure time for both parties.
Why don’t we offer free psychological therapy?
Why pretend to charge for something that anyone can do that turns out to be light entertainment? Also, giving advice and seeing how the other person respects our point of view must be very good for self-esteem, right? Psychologists are very lucky.
In fact, there is nothing in this reasoning that is not wrong. What health psychologists do she is far from giving advice, she is not talkative either light or an “oral cure” as quick as heating rice in the microwave. And, of course, the raison d’être of psychotherapy is not to exchange advice in exchange for a good ration of ego.
What it does is psychological intervention
What psychologists do to solve individual problems is, among other things, schedule schedules with which they promise not to do anything else when it comes to serving a customer.
It is also about actively listening and focusing your efforts for a long time on understanding the problem and the needs of the person being cared for. It is necessary to know where the specific characteristics of a person’s life end and where the generalities begin that make it possible to compare this case with others and to establish a diagnosis of the situation.
The information obtained during the consultation is also opposed to another type of more theoretical information, the result of the work of many psychologists who devote themselves to research.
Psychotherapy too it’s about making decisions that engage both partiesBecause estimating whether or not a symptom table fits into a theoretical diagnostic category involves a risk of error, and the actions to be taken must be consistent with this decision.
psychologists they create intervention programs that are about much more than talking: They can lead sessions of exposure to phobias, biofeedback and even assess cognitive abilities in situ or through tests that need to be used very precisely, among others.
And, of course, let’s not forget the training. In order for psychologists to be able to provide their services, they need to invest effort, time and money not only in a college degree, but also in master’s degrees, specialized seminars, and even article readings. scientific, because the science of behavior and mental processes is constantly evolving. . Intellectual stagnation is not an option.
Claiming the value of your own work
All these activities that psychologists insist on would be impossible if they did not demand fair payment for their work. Not invoicing on time is a valid option, but not what defines the profession.
Perhaps the mistake is to believe that the work of psychologists, designers or computer scientists is so trivial that it can happen as something that could be done without pay but is usually paid to make it appear professional. A belief that coincidentally always benefits the party asking for the favor, as if the few received payment in exchange for a job.