Does studying psychology make you crazy?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I don't know if this a biology topic so forgive me for any mistakes. I am currently studying medical science at university and whenever we come across topic concerning the brain I lose myself in research. I understand that the brain intricate and million things happen at once so there is a lot on the topic. If I was to research anything on the brain, link after link, I will reach something that completely blows my mind. I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of psychologists that are very unorthodox in their thinking processes ( if that makes any sense).

Here lies my question, if I was to ask a neurologist about the functionality of the brain he would respond with an understanding of physiology and explain how certain stimuli and chemical can influence perception. However, if I directed a similar question to a psychologist the response I will receive is somewhat, mystical to say the least. why?

I recall reading that a certain psychologist by the name of Richard (can not remember the rest), claimed that he experienced a moment of Euphoria in which he said he saw the whole universe in its entirety, gaining a sense of immortality and immense knowledge. He called this experience cosmic consciousness and compiled a book on this subject. He went further to claim that there were only ten people in the history of mankind who experienced this and amongst them was Jesus, and Muhammed (the prophet of the Islamic faith). This guy lived a while back from the modern age.

Does caring and studying the mentally ill rub off on the carer to the extent that they begin to think alike but without the actual disease? [If this question is in the wrong place or not allowed please remove]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Fervent Freyja
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Yes. But, then again, I often feel nauseous when trying to read physics papers...
 
  • #3
Evo
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if I was to ask a neurologist about the functionality of the brain he would respond with an understanding of physiology and explain how certain stimuli and chemical can influence perception. However, if I directed a similar question to a psychologist the response I will receive is somewhat, mystical to say the least. why?
A neurologist is a doctor that went to med school and then after completing med school, took many more years of specialized med school studying neurology.

A psychologist is not a doctor, they do not go to med school, they get a therapist licence.
 
  • #4
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A psychologist is not a doctor, they do not go to med school, they get a therapist licence.
If that is case and they are not trained in understanding the functionality of the brain then why are they allowed to even provide therapy. I mean what if the way they interact with patients has the opposite effect as that intended.
 
  • #5
Evo
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If that is case and they are not trained in understanding the functionality of the brain then why are they allowed to even provide therapy. I mean what if the way they interact with patients has the opposite effect as that intended.
If they determine that a patient may need more than someone to listen to them and give advice, they should refer them to a psychiatrist. They (psychologists) do study the brain and nervous system to some extent, but they do not go to medical school.
 
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If they determine that a patient may need more than someone to listen to them and give advice, they should refer them to a psychiatrist. They do study the brain and nervous system to some extent, but they do not go to medical school.
That seems to explain why some of them come up with some strange ideas and beliefs, they aren't really trained about the brain and so they try and explain the psychological cases in weird ways. That explains the Richard guy I wrote about in the original post, thanks :)
 
  • #7
Fervent Freyja
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I mean what if the way they interact with patients has the opposite effect as that intended.
There is a great need for therapists, they are meant to address both the behavioral and environmental aspects (something psychiatrists and doctors do not usually do). There are too many variables involved that exist outside of the brain for a neurologist to deal with. Everyone has unique needs and the way any therapist gives treatment also differs, as patient outcome often depends on who the therapist is as a person and the many experiences that educational training does not offer. There are consequences when it goes wrong, but, it is better than nothing at all for many people.

The biggest problem I have with psychology is allowing mainstream to carry the belief that people can be given lifelong labels and sentenced to one box. People change with experience, the whole idea surrounding therapy is that we can be diverted from certain paths by adjusting our behaviors. I feel like environmental aspects should be the first issues addressed in therapy (often part of the cause) instead of resorting to medications and only focusing on internal causes. Attempting to self-interpret or self-diagnose could make someone go crazy.

So far, I could have met the criteria for much of the DSM at certain places in my life. In early childhood, I was given a diagnosis for dissociate identity disorder and selective mutism (I cannot remember, nor can people that knew me, when I began to initiate speech, possibly 11-14). Though, considering the traumatic circumstances, it had been a normal response to my environment (similar to how the brain dissociates for a POW). Thankfully, the prognosis on that is the best of all mental disorders, which stated that it would dissipate once removed from the abuse (and it did, I also have not been able to shut up since my teen years). Since then, I've collected numerous labels and still take medications, but I also found that working on my own personal growth has made the most impact in the last decade. I have experienced much change since becoming a wife and mother, and look at going back to university for totally different majors as part of my treatment. I have not, however, found someone that could truly listen to the hundreds of memories I endure. As a matter of fact, much of the counseling I received may have further damaged my faith in people in many cases. But, like I said, it can be considered better than nothing at all, and I have met quite a few healing people over the years- the problem is often the consequences that collect before quality help is found.
 
  • #8
ElijahRockers
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There are also neuropsychologists, that study the cognitive behavior of the brain, informed by physiology. I work in a neurodegenerative disease lab, and one of the most important members of our team is the psychologist who can assess a patient and determine what exactly is the deficiency with their cognitive abilities, and determine which, if any, of the numerous cognitive dementias the patient may have.

We also back these diagnoses up with PET and MRI scans to observe cortical atrophy and the binding of particular proteins that characterize alzheimer's, FTD, etc.

To answer your question, studying psychology does not make you crazy, but rather can give you very interesting insights into the way your consciousness works.
 
  • #9
Evo
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the psychologist who can assess a patient and determine what exactly is the deficiency with their cognitive abilities, and determine which, if any, of the numerous cognitive dementias the patient may have.
That is a good point, it is a specially trained psychologist that gives tests for cognitive impairment, so yes they do more than provide therapy.
 
  • #10
George Jones
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For five years, I ate lunch regularly with three psychologists (and folks in other disciplines) who were Dr.s (PhDs), and they were no more crazy than the average person.
 
  • #11
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What do you call the type of error where one extrapolates from an n of one to generalize about phenomena?
 
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There are also neuropsychologists, that study the cognitive behavior of the brain, informed by physiology. I work in a neurodegenerative disease lab, and one of the most important members of our team is the psychologist who can assess a patient and determine what exactly is the deficiency with their cognitive abilities, and determine which, if any, of the numerous cognitive dementias the patient may have.

We also back these diagnoses up with PET and MRI scans to observe cortical atrophy and the binding of particular proteins that characterize alzheimer's, FTD, etc.

To answer your question, studying psychology does not make you crazy, but rather can give you very interesting insights into the way your consciousness works.
You make a very good point. One thing though, when you study the consciousness, are you studying how the aggregate of cognitive functions lead to awareness or are you attempting to study something that has almost no scientific basis. I'm not trying to generalise, I just want to understand how such thoughts (such as the one I wrote about in the original post) even form and how they could be supported by people who seemingly have a sound understand of the brain.

For five years, I ate lunch regularly with three psychologists (and folks in other disciplines) who were Dr.s (PhDs), and they were no more crazy than the average person.
Sorry, I didn't mean to generalise, I just used the generalisation to start the discussion.
 
  • #13
ElijahRockers
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One thing though, when you study the consciousness, are you studying how the aggregate of cognitive functions lead to awareness or are you attempting to study something that has almost no scientific basis.
That's actually a very interesting question. I am not a psychologist, I'm an electrical engineer, but having worked for a small time in neurology, I have learned a bit more about this kind of thing. You can never know if someone else around you even HAS a conciousness. I can never directly observe your thoughts or your conciousness. The only reason I can claim you have one, is that I have one of my own, and I can atrribute the same kind of experience and assume that you also have a similar experience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_mind This is a very interesting related article.
 
  • #14
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If they determine that a patient may need more than someone to listen to them and give advice, they should refer them to a psychiatrist. They (psychologists) do study the brain and nervous system to some extent, but they do not go to medical school.
Psychiatrists are MDs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychiatrist
 
  • #15
Evo
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Yes, I thought that was common knowledge, I guess I should not assume, that is why the psychologist would refer them if they needed more than just therapy or an assessment.

Oh, perhaps you thought when I said "they do study the brain and nervous system to some extent, but they do not go to medical school." , that I was referring to psychiatrists, no I was referring to psychologists, I guess that could have been worded better.
 
  • #16
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Yes, I thought that was common knowledge, I guess I should not assume, that is why the psychologist would refer them if they needed more than just therapy or an assessment.

Oh, perhaps you thought when I said "they do study the brain and nervous system to some extent, but they do not go to medical school." , that I was referring to psychiatrists, no I was referring to psychologists, I guess that could have been worded better.
Yes, sorry Evo, it was the latter. No probs.
 
  • #17
Evo
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Yes, sorry Evo, it was the latter. No probs.
Well, I knew what I was talking about. :blushing: If you'd read my many suggestions to members to see a psychiatrist because they are medical doctors that spent many years after medical school specializing in diseases of the brain and can prescribe medication, if needed, you *might* be able to decipher my "random thoughts". :doh:
 
  • #18
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That's actually a very interesting question. I am not a psychologist, I'm an electrical engineer, but having worked for a small time in neurology, I have learned a bit more about this kind of thing. You can never know if someone else around you even HAS a conciousness. I can never directly observe your thoughts or your conciousness. The only reason I can claim you have one, is that I have one of my own, and I can atrribute the same kind of experience and assume that you also have a similar experience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_mind This is a very interesting related article.
You are right with that point, it is difficult for the subjective mind/brain to fully comprehend another mind/brain. The aggregate of cognitive functions may result in varying experiences amongst people or none at all in those that are impaired. I just think there is too much useless philosophy surrounding this subject that people tend slowly phase into mystical realms due to misunderstanding. Anyway thank you all for your responses, I think I have learnt to ignore the useless information like the guy I wrote about in my post.
 
  • #19
Laroxe
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I'm surprised everyone seems to be talking about psychologists as psychotherapists, the majority don't work in therapy. I think the idea that detailed knowledge of the brain would be a prerequisite for understanding people is also very questionable. There has been huge sums of money spent on neuroscience research and large impressive scanners but when it comes down to attempting to link brain physiology to specific cognitive processes and making sense of how the brain produces though or mind, we haven't a clue. Sadly when it comes down to mental health, among psychotherapists, there are more quacks than a park pond, it is perhaps among the least scientific of all the areas studied.
 
  • #20
ElijahRockers
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I'm surprised everyone seems to be talking about psychologists as psychotherapists, the majority don't work in therapy. I think the idea that detailed knowledge of the brain would be a prerequisite for understanding people is also very questionable. There has been huge sums of money spent on neuroscience research and large impressive scanners but when it comes down to attempting to link brain physiology to specific cognitive processes and making sense of how the brain produces though or mind, we haven't a clue. Sadly when it comes down to mental health, among psychotherapists, there are more quacks than a park pond, it is perhaps among the least scientific of all the areas studied.
I can't really speak for the field of psychotherapy - you are probably right about the quacks - but as far as neurodegenerative diseases go, the scanners are our bread and butter. We can study many things with MRI and PET scanners. Cortical atrophy, and the deposition of protein 'plaques' on different areas of the brain, correlated with different psychological behavior types. (Fronto temporal dementia in particular is very interesting)
 
  • #21
ElijahRockers
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And then something like this happens...

tldr: Man missing 90% of brain challenges our basic theories of conciousness.

edit: I should note the idea of new areas of the brain taking over for damaged areas is not really new, but the extent of the damage here raises some interesting questions... and the novel idea here appears to be the theory Dr. Such-and-Such proposes about the brain teaching itself.
 
  • #22
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Psychologists are about trying to understand 'people' - not 'brains'. They should have an open mind and allow the clients to help themselves instead of forcing them to adopt some doctrine. When the person is functioning at a level where the psychologist isn't able to help they should immediately refer them to another psychologist or, depending on the level of dysfunction, to a psychiatrist.
 
  • #23
ElijahRockers
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Psychologists are about trying to understand 'people' - not 'brains'.
I suppose neuropsychologists are the exception to that rule, then.
 
  • #24
Evo
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I suppose neuropsychologists are the exception to that rule, then.
Yes, they are much more than a typical psychologist. Still not a medical doctor, but much more involved in the science side.

Specialized knowledge and training in the applied science of brain‐behavior relationships is foundational to the specialty of clinical neuropsychology. In addition to foundational and functional competencies in professional psychology, clinical neuropsychologists have specialized knowledge of functional neuroanatomy, principles of neuroscience, brain development, neurological disorders and etiologies, neurodiagnostic techniques, normal and abnormal brain functioning, and neuropsychological and behavioral manifestations of neurological disorders. Preparation in clinical neuropsychology begins at the doctoral level and specialized education and training is completed at the postdoctoral level.
http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/neuro.aspx [Broken]
 
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  • #25
To add something to the topic, I knew then that psychology is a branch of science that relates to the study and analysis of human behavior and the one responsible for it is what we know as "psychiatrist" They are professionals who evaluates human behavior. I don't think the study itself could make a person crazy. In my opinion, studying or practicing psychology needs training skills and most likely the study of that subject will help the person learn to cope with life issues. I presume that its interesting to pursue the subject and I can't see any point that it will make a person mentally deranged.
 
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