Psychologist: Fortune Teller or Witch Doctor?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue these past few weeks. In the class this semester, we got the theoretical background of some clinical tests or assessments tools. We even have weekly practicum and reports for sure. Sometimes during scoring times and analyzing the tests results, I wonder to myself, do we really practicing our knowledge legally? Or do we practicing it as a way to be a fortune teller? Because as we all know, that some psychologists are working as ‘fortune tellers’ for they are able to read someone else’s next moves or able to ‘read’ the personality of others.

I have my own amazement to those scientists who are working so hard to make valid and reliable psychological tests. Quantitative tests are something, but working on projective tests are still a great mystery for me. How can Hermann Rorschach quantified such ink blots with so many personality factors variables? Or how can CAT cards revealed needs for a child? How can a tree speaks a lot of a person on how his/her id, ego and superego work? Well, those projective tests are made to help us work.

After Weschler (WISC) test
After Weschler (WISC) test

But … always put in mind that those tests are made as assessments tools to help us work. Those tools are not made to be the key to reveal someone else’s secrets, personality or problems per se. They suppose to be the essential parts of making diagnosis, but not merely the only tool that we can use. As psychologists, we can use observation or interview sessions with clients to help them figure out their problems. We can ask questions and information from significant others as well.

So, what is the difference between psychologists and fortune teller?

Psychologists make hypothesis according to the data collected from observation, interview and/or tests. They always work based on theory or scientific knowledge. They write reports or formal documentation in order to keep clients history, because they will need it for the next treatment or therapy.

Practicing before the practicuum
Practicing before the practicuum

Fortune tellers say what they want to say or what the clients want to hear. They do not work based on scientific knowledge or research. They work with their own tools, such as cards, tarots, or reading through the crystal ball. For me, they look like reading in a blue sky and able to decipher the codes inside that blue sky. Whatever they do, many people are still looking after them… (Maybe I should ask a fortune teller regarding my next boyfriend).

For those of you, who are claiming yourself as psychologists, have you work properly based on your scientific knowledge?

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