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Final Thoughts

July 23rd, 2009 by psy4chai


A final collection of some of my footnotes from class:


Groupthink: the fairytale The Emporer’s New Clothes.  Everyone pretending to admire the new clothes because no one wanted to be the first to say that he was simply naked.  If “the others” were willing to say that his new clothes were wonderful, then so were they!  Finally, one young boy stood forward and questioned the status quo–he couldn’t see any clothes–he saw only a foolish, vain, and very naked man before him.

Foot-in-the-door: For a band fund-raiser, the product demonstrator had told us to hand our order sheets to people (the order sheet was pretty much the catalog, too–with pictures and all)…because handing them a pen, or the form was “getting them to do something“, and selling the product was the next step.  He didn’t call it foot-in-the-door, but that’s really what it was.  To this day, when someone knocks on my door and holds out something for me to look at or take–I just leave their hand hanging out there in the wind and ask them politely what they are selling.  I dislike a lot of the door-to-door tactics, “Hi, I am working on my public speaking”, “I’m trying to win a contest where I can go to<insert cool place name here>”, and perhaps most of all–the foot-in-the-door tactic of trying to force me to take something in my hand.  I help them with their public speaking;  I exchange pleasantries with them as they try and find some chink in the armor; but if they hold out the item thinking that I’m going to take it like a manipulated lab rat–yeah, good luck with that one.

The text mentioned an advice columnist advising her letter writers to seek professional counseling or therapy, and then the text went on to comment on this being a sign of endorsement for the positive value of psychological therapies.  I think they rather missed an important point–assuming that the columnist (I think it was Ann Landers) *does* believe in therapy–I would say there is a prevailing reason that she would mention it twice in the same day{ according to the text}.

I would probably agree that she believes in therapy, and I would certainly agree that she is helping people in a way that is pro-social and benevolent (she wouldn’t be writing a column to help people if she didn’t have caring and desire to help), but writing a column is also her job.  She is also protecting herself and the publication that she works for by covering her assets.  If you are not giving someone professional treatment but are giving them advice, someone may sue you for inadequacies they can attribute to you (Hell–they can sue you even if you are a professional–but at least you should have proper coverage for that type of thing).  If she always refers people who are troubled and potentially a danger to themselves or others, she is doing the best thing for them and herself.  In this manner, she can help people and enjoy not only the reward of feeling good about helping, but she can avoid adverse consequences of a lawsuit.  Thus–I giggle that the text takes the slant of calling our her endorsement of psychotherapy, when there is more to her actions than that.  To protect herself and her employers–she would have to say things like that even if she had no belief in it.  I worked for a credit card company where I had customers asking me questions and advice about credit, and I was required to tell every one of them that I was not a “credit counselor” even if I did point out a few things that helped them understand credit a little better.

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