A number of members have contacted us to say they feel shut down by recent communication requesting that public discussion about the state of psychology stops. It suggests that such discussion has been disparaging and critical and legal action may be utilised if people continue to speak out. We completely agree that discussion needs to be respectful and conducted with dignity – as it has been and will continue to be. In fact, it often surprises and amazes us how dignified psychologists have continued to be in the face of outrageous disparity in the way they are treated in comparison to their clinical colleagues. That despite the loss of income, recognition and respect for their skills the conversation has remained one of trying to achieve equality for everyone. We are still waiting for those charged to protect and support the profession to express the same outrage, to sit with the discomfort of a job not well done and to say that enough is enough, it is time for equality and recognition that all psychologists are experts in psychology.
How often do our clients come to us cowed, depleted, deprived of a voice in their own lives. We talk to them about how too often we are taught to be good, to shut down and comply by parental figures, teachers, partners ostensibly in the name of our greater good but which is really all about power and control. We are taught that our view doesn’t matter, is irrelevant, wrong, selfish and disruptive. And we say to our clients stand up, speak up, take back your power but we also warn them that it may not work. Sometimes, the parent, authority figure or partner does not want to change, such are the gains from their behaviour. Very often they may talk the talk but their actions speak otherwise. There are promises but not much else. During therapy clients become aware that a choice may be to walk away, find a partner that supports and honours them, find an alternative parental figure who can model the type of person they would like to be, move on from a destructive employer to one who wants to teach and mentor them. Psychology is at a crossroads. What we do now will determine and shape the future for us and those who follow. We have choices. We can choose to be cowed and compliant or we can choose to speak up – and walk away if necessary. It may be the healthier action to take. We are no different to our clients in having to make these decisions.