The psychology-for-everyone approach may remove some of
the stigma against seeking professional help with personal or
interpersonal problems. At least, everyone would know where
to go to get the extra help they need.
Practical psychology could eventually be made available to all
people, not just students. Surely knowledge of psychology and
how to apply it in one's life might not only be beneficial to the
sickest members of our society and to those who come into
conflict with the law, but also to the better adjusted or even the
leaders of our communities.
The students are more motivated and the teachers have more
reinforcers to use than counselors. Self-help psychology is the
only class that I've ever taught in which students encourage
others to do their homework, so that they can make a better
contribution to class.
Self-help applied psychology courses build self reliance,
personal pride, and self-direction, and reduce dependency upon
others. It helps correct the common notions that only a
psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst can deal with tough human
The person who is hurting knows his or her background better,
is aware of the problem sooner, and sees his/her goals more
clearly than anyone else. Only the person is always available
(to your self) and more responsible than anyone else for the
problem's existence, its treatment, and its outcome. The
knowledgeable self-helper is in the best position to help.
There are fewer drop-outs and fewer people really dissatisfied
with the psychological services offered in a class, partly, I
suspect, because there are so many sources of help in a course
that do not exist in a therapy situation, such as the readings,
the lecture-demonstrations, the instructors (usually a
classroom teacher and a small group leader), the other
students in the class (individually and in the group process),
and their own learning by doing, i.e., self-help efforts.
Credit courses provide credit to the learning institution, the
faculty members, and the students. I feel "giving psychology
away" is a real credit to the profession as well. Psychology is
clearly relevant to everyone's life every day.
10. Courses are an excellent training opportunity for
paraprofessionals and graduate students. There have been 8-12
graduate students, interns, counselors, other faculty,
undergraduate paraprofessionals, etc. co-teaching with me
each semester for over 20 years.
11. Intensive, personalized courses in school provide a much better
opportunity for doing realistic, meaningful "psychotherapy"
research and self-help research than does the typical outpatient
mental health center or private practice.
These "advantages" are only my hunches, not proven facts. It will
take our society years to develop, research, and evaluate an
integrated sequence of age-related courses. Intentional coping is not
well researched. We know little about moving from one stage of self-
help to another, e.g. from avoidance of the problem to thinking about