Misunderstood psychology: open letter to weekend coaches

Psychology is a university degree precisely because it is a very complex field of study. In this science there is nothing taken for granted, although judging by the way it has happened in our lives, we can believe the opposite, be happy and enjoy physical well-being and mental is to follow directions that are “meaningful.”

This is why weekend coaches who base their training on workshops lasting a few months are so harmful. They are not because they have an English name instead of “psychologist” to get the most out of the job market, but because their practices are based on a bunch of false assumptions.

    Psychology is complex

    During the last decades, the various tools of psychotherapy have improved and multiplied. What was originally envisioned as a means of treating mental disorders today also includes types of interventions aimed at the general well-being of individuals. Psychologists can help improve social skills, learn effective forms of leadership, deal with anxiety under stress, etc.

    This kind of advancement exists because all kinds of complex theories, assumptions, and research have been formulated about how we humans think, feel, and act. In this way, deeply rooted and seemingly obvious beliefs have been challenged, such as making purchasing decisions from a rational logic of profitability. Reality is much more complicated than common sense dictates.

    However, there is a recent proliferation of a tendency to want to learn psychology and “ways to help others” simply through weekend classes or a few months of workshops. These weekend coaches are sending a very damaging message: that human psychology can be all about “doing what you really want” and approaching our goals basically by wishing very hard and striving.

    Blind faith in the will

    If this conception of the human mind poses problems, it is because it presupposes a series of ideas which are not true. For example, that the solution to problems related to psychology is to stop making excuses and go for what you really want.

    In other words, that is to say it is assumed that the discomfort of many people is produced by the presence of inhibitions and self-imposed barriers. As if we all tend naturally to happiness and its absence has occurred because we have strayed from the right path.

    This kind of approach to psychological issues (whether it’s disorders or not), what they do is actually put all the blame on the individual. Point out to him that he should strive harder, be happier, trust others more, and generally learn on his own to focus on the finer things in life.

    This type of proposition does not only serve to make invisible the problems that are part of the environment in which the person lives; moreover, they are completely unnecessary for a very simple reason: they do not provide any tool to move forward, it is simply reported that the person has a problem that has not been resolved. A description of what is happening is not an explanation of how to change it, and knowing how to facilitate the change requires proper training.

    Coaching based on ambiguity

    So when a person has depressive symptoms, a weekend coach will try to help him by emphasizing the importance of seeing the good in the bad, Think about what you really want to do, etc. As if these types of processes are simple and you learn to perform them unaided just because you have internal information about what is going on in your consciousness.

    This idea that it is the client himself who knows the most about himself and that the specialist should simply “encourage” the individual to come to terms spontaneously with his own potential is based on completely ambiguous and unnecessary concepts.

    The weekend coach not having had the time to learn the theory necessary to create a precise and appropriate vocabulary on his work or to question the epistemological foundations of his proposals, he will understand his work as a kind of art in which, without over-mastering, it is necessary to develop an emotional sensitivity (that is to say non-intellectual which does not go beyond the reflection on precise concepts) to connect with the mind of the other .

    That’s why the weekend coach uses all kinds of terms he can’t even define without resorting to more totally ambiguous and confusing concepts: “Look within yourself”, “trust the emotions”, “heal your own being”, Etc. It’s a way of working that doesn’t even allow you to check whether the sessions have served a purpose; How do you know if someone has successfully connected with your “inner self”?

    Weekend coaches? Better with studies

    Psychology is not an art and is not based on training to connect emotionally with one another. These are characteristics that anyone could claim for themselves, including shamans or people who come up with pseudo-scientific solutions such as family constellations.

    Psychology is what it is because it is concerned with creating theories, assumptions and theoretical models which cannot be learned in one day nor use ambiguous language that means something different to each person. Practice is essential in this discipline, as is theory.

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