One of many issues of being a pupil of psychology is that they study every little thing in modules and cross examinations in separate areas of the topic. These can result in disjointed understanding – a failure to attach the dots. This paper is an try and marry the insights of Social Psychology and Counselling apply. Can counsellors study some wider insights from social analysis? I’ll discover an instance of classical analysis and attempt to see the way it can profit the counsellor in apply.


Most psychology college students even after commencement can not all the time see the connection between one space of psychological data and one other – even well-known psychologists handle to provide you with “new” concepts which clearly usually are not – however the place their unconscious has dragged two info collectively to make a correlation that present a brand new concept – not that one might trigger the opposite. For instance Cognitive Behavioural Remedy is utilized by many counsellors, psychiatrists and medical counsellors but few perceive that its principals lie squarely with Freudian pondering.

Counsellors usually are not all the time educated in psychology and lots of study their data briefly programs designed by schools and universities to at least one commonplace or one other. What ever means you take a look at it their data is usually stuffed with gaps. That is primarily due to the tendency to coach in just one faculty of thought, i.e. CBT, psychodynamics, psychotherapy and different areas – however restricted usually to a specific concept or faculty of thought. This results in the identical state of affairs as our realized associates re-inventing the wheel. Many counsellors alone seminars are shocked once you current one thing novel after which inform them who really got here up with the notion – then all of them sigh – oooohhh! I would love right here to current some samples utilizing social psychological analysis and the way we are able to marry the data to assist us grow to be higher counsellors and even higher researchers of our personal apply.

Social Psychology – an concept!

What’s Social Psychology anyway – it’s the scientific research of how individuals take into consideration, are influenced and relate to at least one one other in a social world (Myers 2005). It investigates three areas of our being, one is our social pondering, how we see ourselves on the earth, the second how we’re influenced by society, its tradition and traditions, inside and with out teams and third by our social relations, in prejudice, aggression, attraction additionally altruism in direction of different individuals and from them to ourselves. This then is the social world we dwell in. Most psychology relies on what the person is doing, studying, pondering and feeling, however we aren’t alone on this world – we’re a part of a household, a neighborhood, a metropolis, a rustic, a tradition and all this creates a actuality for our each day lives.

Counselling – a means!

After all the aim of counselling has all the time been targeted on the person (besides Transactional Evaluation – the one remedy based mostly on relationships straight). This imply that in counselling periods it’s the particular person’s issues being addressed and handled in a therapeutic setting, resulting in a decision for the shopper, however not for the world he has to cope with when he leaves the consolation of the therapists workplace.

Social Psychology – pondering outdoors the field!

All of us create our personal actuality – no two individuals will agree on a shared view even when witnessing the identical occasion. It’s because we come to each occasion with preconceptions in regards to the world – we frequently name this frequent sense. Nevertheless frequent sense is usually untested and might be interpretated some ways. Paul Lazersfeld (1949) requested some topics to view some frequent sense statements and requested if the themes agreed with the notions said.

1. Higher-educated troopers suffered extra adjustment issues than did less-educated troopers. (Intellectuals had been much less ready for battle than stresses than street-smart-people.)

2. Southern troopers coped higher with the recent South Sea Island local weather than did Northern troopers. (Southerners had been accustomed to sizzling climate).

3. White privates had been extra longing for promotion than had been Black privates. (Years of oppression take a toll on achievement motivation).

4. Southern Blacks most popular Southern to Northern officers (as a result of Southern officers had been extra skilled and expert in interacting with Blacks). (Myers 2005)

A lot of Lazersfelds’ topics said that the above statements had been apparent and located no problem in agreeing with them. As you may need guessed the truth was really the other in each case. Lazersfeld in actual fact reported that the much less educated troopers suffered extra, there was no actual distinction in local weather adjustment, Blacks had been extra longing for promotion etcetera. In on a regular basis life we expertise listening to others individuals’s frequent sense and by no means actually query it – this is actually because they’re said as hindsight (after the occasion has occurred). We take the perspective of “see I told you that is what it would be like” however earlier than the occasion this isn’t really easy. In in the present day’s society we like to search out scapegoats for political errors, industrial accidents, automotive crashes – somebody must be blamed – they need to have recognized. It’s simple after the info are recognized to attribute blame to somebody – who on the time most likely had been no wiser that anybody else. Within the 9/11 catastrophe, the safety forces had intelligence that might have stopped the terrorists nevertheless it was amongst the tens of millions of different bits of ineffective info. After 9/11 individuals had been shocked this info was ignored.

Social Psychology informs Counselling – 1

From the above instance how can we use this info in our counselling periods? How can we choose that our shopper’s sense of actuality is right -that they don’t seem to be speaking about frequent mis-sense and even utilizing hindsight to interpret a previous occasion? We might strive the next inquiries to the shopper to try to elicit a way of what went earlier than.

1. What had been you pondering previous to the occasion?

2. Did you all the time imagine this?

3. Do you suppose others agree together with your view?

4. How has this occasion modified the way in which you may act sooner or later?

Case Examine: -1

Mary is raped; she has been by means of the court docket course of and seen the person convicted. A 12 months later she is unable to type new relationships with males. She makes the next assertion:

“Men are all the same – takers, liars, untrustworthy and brutal. I always knew they would hurt me one day, take my dignity away from me, and stop me from living my life with-out fear. Since I was a little girl I have feared men. They are all the same when you get right down to it – sexual dirty beasts.”

Therapist: Inform me Mary, what had been you pondering previous to the occasion?

Mary: Properly, I used to be joyful, having fun with the celebration, dancing with some guys, having good enjoyable. I suppose I used to be pondering I used to be secure right here and simply joyful to be with such thrilling individuals.

Therapist: You say that males are all alike – when did you begin believing this?

Mary: Look what occurred to me! You give them an opportunity they usually betray you. He mentioned only a kiss outdoors, only a hug, I wished that too, however once you give them that inch they take a mile. I knew then I ought to have mentioned no.

Therapist: Do you are feeling different women really feel the identical about males?

Mary: Maybe they need to, after which fewer women would undergo like I did. Nevertheless most women are silly and suppose they will deal with males in any circumstances. Foolish fools.

Therapist: Should you go to a celebration or comparable now – how may you behave in direction of males?

Mary: Properly by no means be alone with any man – regardless of how good he’s. Ensure you let you know associates the place you might be and who you might be with. Higher nonetheless don’t go to the celebration within the first place.

Summery: – 1

You’ll be able to see from Mary’s solutions to our set questions she has taken up a brand new international view of males, a brand new means of behaving, she has used hindsight to create a brand new reminiscence of the occasion. Previous to the occasion Mary had no such cautious desirous about males; she actually didn’t have a world ideation. Her assertion about, I ought to have recognized, is pure hindsight after the occasion, she even finds an acceptable saying to substantiate her pondering, an inch over a mile, the other could possibly be, one small step is all it takes to your required objective. Previous to the rape she was greater than trusting to go outdoors and luxuriate in this man’s firm and wished to be kissed and hugged. (This isn’t a justification for her rape merely taking a look at her personal pondering). When requested how others may really feel – she rapidly adopts a “I know better approach”, she is absolutely speaking about herself previous to the rape, her private perception within the means to deal with males, however now in hindsight seeing herself because the foolish woman. Mary involves remedy as a result of she is discovering it arduous to make new relationships but in reply to the final query – she successfully solutions her personal drawback. She has created a brand new actuality for herself wherein no man might be trusted and subsequently safer to be alone and keep away from conditions the place she may meet comparable males to her attacker (or any man).

After this session our counsellor can replicate on Mary’s new perspective, her new frequent sense view, her concern of future relationships and the true matter of belief. Perhaps she’s going to want many difficult session earlier than she will be able to return to some semblance of the joyful woman she as soon as was however in trauma this in fact takes time.

The aim of this train was nevertheless to point out how we are able to use some notions from Social Psychology in our counselling apply.

Social Psychology – Who am I?

Central to social psychology is the concept of the “self” in a social setting. Our social identification is our sense of who we’re in our non-public ideas and in a neighborhood – our group identification for example. When requested the query, “who am I?” , we are inclined to record our idea about our look, so we might reply, a person, a girl, tall, quick, fats, skinny, black, white. We might then discuss of our social self, physician, housewife, engineer, unemployed, these are our social roles. We then espouse our achievement, graduate, and noble laureate. Then we might speak about our data of ourselves within the sense of our character, sort, joyful, intelligent, superstitious. Lastly about our emotions of self-worth, am I good individual, do I assist others, do individuals like me?

As we don’t dwell in isolation (except you’re a hermit) we’re continually adjusting ourselves to our conditions, we might have some enduring traits throughout many conditions akin to, persistence, kindness or danger taking and self-interest. Nevertheless we do change our pondering and picture to extra usually match the state of affairs we discover ourselves in at anybody time. Culture could make an enormous distinction to a state of affairs and the way we expect and behave. Markus and Kitayama (1991) investigated the idea of the unbiased Westerner and the interdependent Easterner. The Westerner is surrounded by individuals akin to mom, father, siblings, associates, co-workers and those that they serve or are serviced by, (retailers and so forth). Within the West they acknowledge the relationships with others however within the East they see themselves as deeply embedded within the lives of others. This has a big impact on the idea of your self picture. The unbiased individual is outlined by particular person traits and objectives which can be private to them; the interdependent individual is socially outlined by connections with others. When requested what issues in life the unbiased will reply – me, my private achievements, the interdependent will reply – we, the household, the group. The unbiased disapproves of conformity whereas the interdependent dislikes egotism in individuals. One group might really feel they’re controlling the world and the opposite is being managed by the world (or occasions).

Social Psychology informs Counselling -2

If the self is central to our pondering, our behaviour and our emotions then counselling ought to attempt to discover out the core of a purchasers being with the intention to perceive his place in society and life. How can we really perceive the shopper and their want for development or decision with out realizing extra about their place to begin? Our therapist must ask some elementary inquiries to elicit an outline of an individual’s state of affairs. Listed here are simply six examples:

1. Inform me the way you see your self – bodily.

2. Inform me the way you imagine others see you?

3. What roles do you have got in society, work, residence and so forth?

4. If I met you for the primary time – what would my impression of you be?

5. Do you suppose you’re a good individual?

6. Should you see a beggar on the street how do you react?

Case Examine – 2

John has come to remedy to realize some private development. He’s essentially joyful in life, has a superb job, good household and has few dramas in his life past the traditional stressors of cash and mortgages. Nevertheless he’s feeling unfulfilled and desires to discover his potential for development as an individual.

Therapist: If I got here from Mars and noticed you – how would I report again to my superiors what you seemed like compared to others I met?

John: That is a troublesome query, I don’t usually take into consideration how I look past being suitably dressed for the event, i.e. for work or going out. If pushed I might say tall, possibly too skinny, balding however nonetheless not ugly, maintain clear and I’m tender spoken. I suppose as a Martian in case you examine me too others I could also be seen as uninteresting, routine sort and never very thrilling.

Therapist: So if I used to be to inform your greatest good friend that description would they recognise you?

John: hahahah I doubt it. When I’m with my associates I’m extra informal, extra relaxed and possibly even a bit outgoing – take a danger on occasion. I keep in mind a lot of jokes and amuse my associates with the telling. They all the time child me I am at risk of being blown away as I’ve no weight and maintain consuming on a regular basis to maintain on the bottom.

Therapist: What’s your function in society – what do you see as necessary?

John: I’m a father in the beginning after which, in fact equally, my spouse’s husband. I feel household is necessary extra so than work though it’s important to have each with the intention to survive. I’m an engineer by commerce however now-days I largely work in an workplace utilizing a pc to create design papers. The work is regular and necessary however not important to the well-being of mankind. I mentor at a youngsters’s membership as soon as per week, the kind of factor, retaining them off the streets and occupied. I get pleasure from the way in which they appear as much as me as their advisor in so many areas of teenage concern.

Therapist: If my assistant walked in right here now and mentioned howdy to you what impression would she type of you? If I requested her later to inform me what may she say?

John: She may say who was that boring man you had been with? It damage my neck to search for at him. If I had a ladder he may be okay?

Therapist: Are you a superb individual John?

John: Properly I’ve by no means intentially damage anybody so far as I do know. I feel I do greater than most for my local people. So, sure I might say I used to be good over-all.

Therapist: There are lots of beggars within the streets now-days, in case you noticed one outdoors what’s your response to them?

John: I’ve to be trustworthy right here and say I don’t all the time sympathise with them. I really feel they might not be as poor as they faux to be. a day of accumulating then again to the automotive and residential to the spouse. I noticed a beggar gather $5 from a bus cue, I labored out in a day he might gather possibly $200, that’s $1000 each 5 days, $4000 a month – most individuals must work actually arduous to get that kind of cash. So now I solely give to those I might be actually positive about.

Summery: – 2

First we should always re-examine the aim of the questions;

Inform me the way you see your self – bodily.

This query helps to breakdown the individual’s self idea -their mirror picture of themselves. What does it inform us? In our instance John is a conformist; he clothes to expectations of others, and cares about his impression on others as in his comment about being clear.

Inform me the way you imagine others see you?

It is a checking query in regards to the first. You’ll be able to see right here John doesn’t repeat the primary description however his extra social self when relaxed and surrounded by these he trusts. Outdoors of his circle John conforms to expectations.

What roles do you have got in society, work, residence and so forth?

This query is to see how he suits into the world he inhabits. John clearly present a choice for secure roles, father, husband however when he talks about his outdoors roles he’s clearly not so joyful and fulfilled by work or his skilled self.

If I met you for the primary time – what would my impression of you be?

Right here we’re testing out the self-image once more. John self-abases himself as he believes girls react to his tallness and being skinny. He imagine he might appear to be the goal of humour particularly girls.

Do you suppose you’re a good individual?

On this query we’re in search of character traits, right here John emphasises his contribution to the neighborhood, over exaggerates his function and minimises that of others. He desires to be seen as the great man.

Should you see a beggar on the street how do you react?

This once more is the checking query for the earlier one about being good. Right here John justifies what being good is – that it’s situational for him. The beggar makes an excessive amount of cash subsequently I do not need to present. I am nonetheless a superb man although? Self justification provides rise to pondering and behavior to swimsuit our prejudices.

John got here for private development to have the ability to be extra in his world than simply the traditional individual. John feels he’s unfulfilled by life and from our questions we are able to see the picture he holds of himself and his private actuality. Now the counsellor shouldn’t be coping with an issue of development however an issue of picture and self curiosity. From the findings of social psychology the counselling might be higher knowledgeable and have a greater base from which to recommend change and perception.


This paper got down to present how a research of social psychology might assist counsellors grow to be higher questioners and extra knowledgeable about how individuals see themselves, their private actuality and idea of value in a social world. Within the two instance case research we are able to see the sensible utility of the findings from analysis on this space. After all social psychology is a large space of research and on this paper we have now solely scratched the floor of social pondering. Social affect and social relations may also inform us – such areas as obedience, conformity, battle decision and lots of different areas the place individuals affect individuals both by the state of affairs, or by the traits and characters of others, in transactions of our social world.


Myers, .D (2005) Social Psychology, Posts & Telecom Press, China – McGraw Hill Publishing. USA.

I like to recommend the above textual content for a introduction to the realm for first timers, nevertheless in case you are extra superior then the research texts for social psychology from the Open College in England is way extra superior in clarification of content material.

Professor Stephen F. Myler PhD (Psych)

Categories: Opinion


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