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To be amazed anybody can call themselves a pyscologist?

(79 Posts)
ComposHatComesBack Tue 24-Mar-15 23:48:47

I was half-watching a trashy Channel 5 programme called 'Bent Coppers' (yes it was every bit as well made, researched and rigorous as the title makes it sound)

Anyway throughout the programme 'Emma Kenny: psychologist' popped up offering analysis of the motives in these cases in which she she had no involvement and commenting on the motivation behind the crimes committed by corrupt Police Officers.

Now I am a complete layperson, but it struck me as odd that a medical professional was prepared to make such authoritative comment on people or cases she's had no direct involvement with and her analysis seemed a bit cod, even to my uneducated ears.

So I googled her: she has been described as an 'expert child psychologist' on a netmums webchat and was advising on potty training and speaking on children's safety on the internet conference arranged by the Safe Network.

I was beginning either she was some sort of renaissance woman, ranging across specialisms or something was amiss. Turns out that she only has an undergrad degree in psychology and a masters in counselling. A BBC website even goes to describe her as a a 'qualified physiologist' on a BBC website.

What really shocked me is that anyone can call themselves a psychologist! That only the profession of Practitioner psychologist is protected by law.

So she's even perfectly legally able to use the description 'qualified psychologist' as she has some qualifications (as does anyone who's paseed a GCSE) and anyone can use the title psychologist.

AIBU to think more legal protection ought to be given to the title 'psychologist' to stop the misrepresentation/misinterpretation of people's qualifications and experiences and that organisations should be rather more careful about vetting people's qualifications before setting them up as 'experts' on sensitive topics?

AtomicDog Tue 24-Mar-15 23:50:21

That is because a psychologist is different from a psychiatrist.

ComposHatComesBack Tue 24-Mar-15 23:52:17

I realise I've misspelt 'psychologist' in the title!

ouryve Tue 24-Mar-15 23:53:43

A psychologist isn't a medical professional. There is a bit more involved in a psychology degree than a GCSE, mind.

pillowaddict Tue 24-Mar-15 23:54:23

I'm not sure I understand - she does have a psychology degree? So it's not the same as someone with only GCSE saying they're a psychologist surely? confused I get that you're saying she's hardly an expert if she's not gone on to do clinical training in forensics or paediatrics so that's a bit disingenuous to claim to be an expert/specialist in either of these topics.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 24-Mar-15 23:55:06

She can be described as a trainee psychologist, to be fully qualified, she woukd have to do a PhD in clinical or counselling psychologist with eligibility for chartership registration by the BPS, so no she is not a fully qualified psychologist.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 24-Mar-15 23:57:53

I have an MSC in health psychology, I am a trainee health psychologist andcould only get relevant positions under the guidance of a Chartered Health Psychologist, I woukd need to to a further 4 years ohd with chartership status for me to be fully qualified.

ComposHatComesBack Tue 24-Mar-15 23:58:19

I know ouryve, but an undergrad degree strikes me as a pretty low bar for describing someone as a 'qualified psychologist' especially as they are being set up as an expert on topics like child safety.

It is also worrying that I could set myself up as 'Compo's Hat Expert Child psychologist' despite knowing the sum total of fuck all on the topic.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 24-Mar-15 23:59:51

But she hasent just got an undergrad psychology degree, she has a Msc in counselling Psychology, but different to a GCSE hmm

PoisonPension Wed 25-Mar-15 00:02:34

Psychology is a new science that has a lot to learn yet and turned out to be wrong about some things.

ComposHatComesBack Wed 25-Mar-15 00:03:02

I am guessing that on the BBC website they've either made a mistake or are taking an extremely literal approach to the term 'qualified psychologist' as meaning 'someone who descries themselves as a psychologist and has obtained a qualification of any sort at some point in their lives'

I wasn't implying an undergrad degree was on a par with a GCSE!

AtomicDog Wed 25-Mar-15 00:04:34

Well, do you think nurses are under qualified, with their 'undergraduate degrees' then?

hettie Wed 25-Mar-15 00:05:41

We aren't medical professionals, but our training is similarly rigerous. The usual route is 3 years undergraduate, then assistant positions/masters before a final 3 years doctorate training. It's ferociously competitive and attracts highly skilled/smart candidates (so a lot like medicine in that regard too). The non protected title has been raised by the profession but it's tricky as there are academic psychologists who don't want to be excluded from using the title psychologist just because they don't practice...I think the whole psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, counsellor labels are hugely confusing for most of the general public and can undermine our integrity and reputation.... But since very few people in government give a shiny shit about mental health it won't change any time soon

Aeroflotgirl Wed 25-Mar-15 00:07:17

Op this woman not only has an undergrad degree, she has a postgrad too and experience in the field.

Iwasbornin1993 Wed 25-Mar-15 00:10:08

Yes she isn't a medical professional - a Psychiatrist on the other hand is as they have been through medical school and are completely qualified doctors who have gone on to specialise in Psychiatry post-junior doctor training. I think Psychologists who use the title "Dr" following the completion of a PhD cause a lot of confusion between the two. Was the person in question using this title or had they just only the undergrad psychology degree that you mention? I would also assume "qualified" to mean more than this OP!

TRexingInAsda Wed 25-Mar-15 00:10:34

So she's got a degree and a Masters in psychology, and is employed as a psychologist, and you're concerned she has the cheek to call herself a psychologist? Er... That's not exactly 'anyone' calling themself a psychologist, is it?

ComposHatComesBack Wed 25-Mar-15 00:12:13

Erm no Atomic they aren't being misrepresented as having a level of expertise and qualification they don't have, that isn't the point I am making!

The point I am making is that No qualification whatsoever is required to describe yourself as a psychologist. Interestingly anyone can describe themselves as a nurse too: even if they are completely unqualified.

hettie Wed 25-Mar-15 00:24:31

Trex she has a masters in counselling, which is quite a different thing...
But the essential point is that anyone can call themselves a psychologist..... There are very few protected titles

Aeroflotgirl Wed 25-Mar-15 00:29:07

Yes hettie it is. But doesent tge BPS lay out a clearly defined career path for different disciplines of Psychology.

vegplotter Wed 25-Mar-15 06:12:18

Some psychology titles are protected. So for instance even though I have a PhD in psychology and have published research in the domain of Health Psychology I cannot call myself a Health Psychologist as I do not have chartered status. Same thing for Clinical (where generally you do a Clinical doctorate), Forensic, Counselling, Educational, Sports and Exercise, and Occupational.

Candycoco Wed 25-Mar-15 06:56:42

I like her, she's on the Crimes that shook Britain and Britain's greatest taboo programmes on CI channel which i watch. There is her and other people that do criminal profiling, it's very interesting. Surely her experience counts?

lightgreenglass Wed 25-Mar-15 07:07:05

This confuses me too - I work in the field of psychology and have a masters in psychology. I wouldn't call myself a psychologist until I either got a doctorate or a PhD.

HangingInAGruffaloStance Wed 25-Mar-15 07:09:19

I saw her before and thought it was weird that she felt it appropriate to comment so specifically on cases!

Totally inappropriate that she should be described as a psychologist, it is a real loophole. It isn't the same as nurses with undergrad degrees because clinical training and supervision is included in that training. An undergrad psychology degree is quite broad and could be passed by someone clueless about clinical matters. Her gung-ho approach confirms that.

vegplotter Wed 25-Mar-15 08:22:58

There is a phenomenon called the Dunning Kreugar effect were on some level having a little specialist knowledge about a thing leads you to believe you know a lot about that thing, and when you know quite a lot about a thing you realise how much you don't actually know about that thing.

Also, when I was a PhD student I did some interviews about my specific area (because hey its the most interesting thing ever to you at that moment in time and you are willing to talk to anyone that will listen to you). However, I found that I was then getting media requests to comment on things I knew zilch about. I would explain to the media researcher that I had no expertise in that area and they would just encourage me to come and talk about it anyway. Luckily I had a brilliant mentor who discouraged me from going down that path.

AwakeCantSleep Wed 25-Mar-15 08:42:08

I don't know this woman but I'm confused. What is she supposed to call herself? She has a degree in psychology --> psychologist. Someone with a degree in economics --> economist. Physics --> physicist. That's an accurate description surely? Psychologist is very different from psychiatrist.

What drives me nuts is that someone who has been trained to turn a screw on a domestic appliance can call themselves engineer. Ridiculous. Engineers are people who have gone to university to learn how to build a large hadron collider or similar.

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