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A Specialist Or A Charlatan? Not All Psychologists Are Equally Helpful - Society
A Specialist Or A Charlatan? Not All Psychologists Are Equally Helpful - Society

Video: A Specialist Or A Charlatan? Not All Psychologists Are Equally Helpful - Society

Video: A Specialist Or A Charlatan? Not All Psychologists Are Equally Helpful - Society
Video: Why incompetent people think they're amazing - David Dunning 2023, June

Psychologists in Russia are mistrustful of psychological help: "Your psychologists are charlatans, they only tear up money." It is sad to admit it, but not all people who call themselves psychologists are able to provide qualified assistance to clients. How to avoid a collision with an incompetent specialist?

Problem one: licensing

One of the main difficulties of the Russian market of psychological services is the absence of a licensing institution in this area 1. Absolutely anyone can rent an office, hang a "psychologist" sign on the door and start receiving an appointment. And his activities will be absolutely legal!

Another important aspect of this problem is the lack of a standard for the provision of psychological services

The only document that somehow regulates the norms of the work of specialists is the ethical code of the Russian Psychological Society 2 approved in 2012. However, this document is only advisory in nature. It turns out that the implementation of the norms of professional ethics lies solely on the conscience of the specialists themselves, and this, of course, creates a wide field for the activities of all kinds of fraudsters.

Problem two: education

Even a superficial search on the Internet allows you to find a lot of commercial proposals in the spirit of "Become a psychologist in three months." Such a limited period of study (even if it is not a fiction) allows students to assimilate only superficial knowledge of psychology, which, nevertheless, is perceived by many as unchanging dogmas. A psychologist who graduated from such courses will work with any client according to the same template - he simply does not have others in his arsenal.

Unfortunately, even the presence of a specialized higher education with a psychologist does not give any guarantees

In the field of vocational training, there is an active reform, due to which the current teachers do not have the actual opportunity to expel students for academic failure (this leads to cuts in their own salaries). In addition, they are forced to move from face-to-face communication in classrooms to correspondence forms of work, where the role of a mentor is reduced to issuing and checking the fulfillment of control tasks 3.

It turns out that a student who slept in the back for six years and downloaded the correct answers on the Internet, receiving a diploma, is officially recognized as the same specialist as those who conscientiously learned to understand the intricacies of the human psyche. Needless to say, what are the consequences of this?

Problem three: control

There is no single database or register of psychologists in Russia. In part, their role is played by professional associations, which are usually formed according to areas of work: gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, etc., but membership in them is not required.

Alas, not every such association has bodies that control the activities of their members - for example, ethics commissions. But even where there are such commissions, their powers do not extend beyond the exclusion of an unscrupulous specialist from the community, which carries practically no risks for the excluded

One could talk about the deterrent function of professional reputation - but in a state where a deputy accused of sexual harassment is appointed as the head of the delegation to the UN Commission on Women's Affairs 4, the “handshake” mechanism does not work.

The bottom line is that the picture is not too rosy: anyone can provide "psychological counseling" services, their education and activities are not subject to either accounting or control, and there is no real responsibility for the potential harm that a specialist can inflict on a client in the legal field. provided.

Given the growing demand for professional psychological support, this situation is associated with the emergence of a huge number of charlatans, whose efforts the population's trust in psychologists, already not very high, is undermined completely.

But there is good news too

The development of information technologies of communication greatly facilitates the task of choosing a psychologist. The active use of social networks as a tool for self-presentation and advertising allows a potential client to get acquainted with the ideas that are broadcast by a particular specialist, even before entering into a dialogue with him. On the one hand, this somewhat complicates the choice - you have to shovel and critically interpret a lot of information, but on the other hand, it saves you from unnecessary financial and often moral costs.

In this regard, the problem of the relationship between "private" and "public" opinion arises. In Internet discussions, the question is often raised: can a psychologist write things that contradict his professional image in his free time from work, because he does not always act as a specialist?

The answer is both complex and simple: of course, you can write anything and anywhere, but readers can also perceive what they have written as they see fit. Many experts are of the opinion that the "tool" of the work of a psychologist is precisely his personality, his emotions and attitudes 5. In this case, is it possible to trust a professional who broadcasts, for example, misogynistic or nationalist ideas, or even simply writes posts that contradict elementary logic?

From theory to practice

A good illustration is, for example, the online discussions that have unfolded in recent months. In one case, a person who positions himself as a coach in family and financial matters writes in plain text that he did not pay alimony to his own children for several years, because he did not know how to manage his own funds (where these funds should have been taken by the mother of these children, the author, never seems to have crossed my mind) 6.

The piquancy of the situation is also added by the fact that, talking about his success - changing the approach to the distribution of money, taking into account the target direction "children", the coach, without hesitation, writes that he considers it a success that he is able to regularly pay for the needs of his children already the second (!) month. Of course, each potential client decides for himself whether to trust a person with similar views with his own financial plans, but the great happiness is that we have the opportunity to get acquainted with these ideas at the stage of correspondence acquaintance.

Another example is a revealing letter from a copywriter of a well-known psychologist, which quite frankly outlines the mechanism of cynical "promotion" of texts that supposedly belong to the pen of the guru himself, but in fact - compiled by hired employees from his speeches and statements 7. In addition to pointing out the dubious value of the "wisdoms", cut into quotes and competently promoted on the network, the letter contains descriptions of "group psychotherapy sessions" in which people who were waiting for help were ridiculed or blamed for their own problems on the principle of "think what you did not this way".

Unlike the previous case, this one can be interpreted in different ways: as an attempt to settle scores with the former employer, as a desire to protect future clients of a renowned psychologist from deception, as a desire to catch our "moment of glory", etc. Can we blindly rely on authority of a famous name when choosing a psychologist for future interaction? Is popularity a guarantee of professionalism? You decide.


1. Do I need a license for the services of psychologists in Russia // SDS "Certification of professional compliance in the provision of psychological services and psychotherapy". U RL: (date accessed: 15.05.2019).

2. Ethical code of a psychologist // Russian psychological society. URL: (date accessed: 15.05.2019).

3. Klyachko T. L. Consequences and risks of reforms in Russian higher education. M.: Delo: RANEPA, 2017. URL: (date of access: 15.05.2019).

4. Russia sends a deputy accused of sexual harassment to the 2019 session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women // Global Voices. 2019-14-03. URL: (date accessed: 2019-15-05).

5. Bratchenko S. L., Leontiev D. A. Psychologist: personality and craft // Personality in the modern world: from survival strategy to life creation strategy / Ed. E. I. Yatsuts. Kemerovo: Graphics, 2002. S. 91–118. URL: (date of access: 15.05.2019).

6. Stanzon P. Why does a man not pay child support? // Pavel Standzon. URL: (date accessed: 2019-15-05).

7. Sanaeva P. Psychologist on a sucker // Snob. 04/10/19. URL: (date accessed: 2019-15-05).

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