A lot of people continue to be confused about psychology as a subject and do not understand what exactly it entails. In India, psychology is not a subject that a lot of people take up, and is still looked down upon by many. In fact, a lot of people think that psychologists only deal with ‘pagal log’. In such a situation, where people lack a grasp of the subject in general, there are undoubtedly many misconceptions that people hold about the subject.
Here are some common misconceptions that need to be debunked.
Misconception #1: There’s extremely limited scope after studying psychology – most people become therapists after studying psychology.
The fact is that psychology is a remarkably diverse field and offers a variety of interesting career options. While it is true that a lot of psychology graduates practice therapy and see patients, psychology can find its use in a lot of other fields as well. These include business and consulting, research field, organizations, government, military, criminal justice systems, schools, universities, hospitals, clinics and so on.
Misconception #2: Psychology is only common sense.
While many things may appear to people to be common sense, it is crucial to remember that psychology is based on extensive research. To arrive at findings, it employs systematic and objective methods of observation and experimentation. Experimenters can study human concerns objectively and fairly using scientific approaches.
Misconception #3: Psychology students or professional can read minds.
The most common reaction I receive when I tell people I am studying psychology is, “oh, so can you tell what I’m thinking?” According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior but this does not mean that psychologists can read minds or are analyzing you. Through various assessments and interactions, they can gauge a person’s mental state and understand them but reading a person’s mind directly is not humanly possible.
Misconception #4: Those people take up psychology who have faced issues in their personal lives.
This again, is not true at all. While a lot of people might take up psychology because they want to help people or because of some personal interest in it, a lot of other people might take up psychology just because they find it interesting or are inclined to study it.
Misconception #5: Psychology will take you away from your religious beliefs.
I personally haven’t heard this in a very long time but there are people who think this is true when obviously it is not! Psychology is based on scientific knowledge and shares with us the thoughts, ideas, and values that are derived from it. It aims to improve our understanding of human beings without attempting to eliminate our religion or beliefs.
These were the several misconceptions about psychology, according to me. Anybody can study psychology if they are willing enough, but first it is very necessary to have a proper understanding of what you’re getting yourself into, and I therefore hope this can help clear some basic facts about psychology for those who were previously unaware.
The author of this article is Ms. Ambika Endlaw. She is currently pursuing psychology from University of Delhi.