We, the ambassadors of behavioural change … have not once taken a step back (at least to my knowledge and please correct me if I am wrong) and QUESTION the relevance of the term we represent. We have been using the term “Psychology” without questioning or challenging its appropriateness and relevance since…the 16th century!
The first use of the term “psychology” is often attributed to the German scholastic philosopher Rudolf Göckel (1547–1628, often known under the Latin name Rodolphus Goclenius), who published the “Psychologia hoc est: de hominis perfectione, animo et imprimis ortu hujus”… in Marburg in 1590.
Psyche comes from Latin and Greek and means Soul or Spirit and that is where my main objection comes from. Psychologists or Psychotherapists are not experts or therapists of the human Psyche and they are definitely not ‘mind-readers’. They are interventionists of human behaviour, the latter being the result of thoughts, motives and other mental processes. Or they help people make sense of their behaviours.
How does the American Psychology Association (APA) define “psychology“? “Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged.”
And here is the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) definition: “Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour: how we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups. Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and with the thoughts, feelings and motivations underlying that behaviour. It is both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice. We are all interested in what makes people tick and how this understanding can help solve major problems in society. Psychology is a science and psychologists study human behaviour by observing, measuring and testing, then arriving at conclusions that are rooted in sound scientific methodology. Applied or practising psychologists use the knowledge gained from this research in a wide range of settings. Applied psychologists help people with all sorts of problems, working with them to bring about change for the better.”
The term is at least misleading and definitely daunting for many people, it is outdated and needs to be changed. So, I am proposing that we need to RE-THINK the term we are using for something as important and as fundamental to human beings, which has resulted in alienation more than anything else. What about the Science of Human Behaviour?