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Lecture for Week 3: Social Psychology Explores Counseling and Clinical Psychology Concerns
“Clinicians are sometimes prone to biases and cognitive distortions. Although practitioners are certainly accurate, more often than not, in their assessments, they do sometimes make poor decisions and faulty assessments.” (pp. 127 Gruman et al., 2017).”
Counseling psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, and other mental providers have to make difficulty diagnostic decisions using the DSM-V published by The American Psychiatric Association (
e-Text Chapter Key Points to Remember (Gruman et al, 2017)
· The social-clinical interface is the bridge between basic social psychology research and clinical/counseling practice. There continues to be a lot of research on how social psychological principles and theories can help understand, diagnose, and modify various types of psychological disorders and general problems
· Self-Presentation Theory (Leary & Kowalski, 1995) provides a cognitive-social blueprint to understand Social Phobia, particularly when two conditions are met: High self-presentation motivation (really want to make a positive impression) and Low social self-efficacy (doubt ability to successfully convey a positive impression with others) (see pp.102-104). This has been supported by past research. Self-Presentation Theory interventions seek to increase social self-efficacy in conveying a positive impression and decrease self-presentation motivation to impress others. See the results on pp. 113.
· Seligman’s Learned Helplessness (1975) model of depression has been supported by research studies as a way to explain depression. The cognitive-social model of depression (Abramson, Seligman, Teasdale, 1978) theories that people make pessimistic or dysfunctional negative outcome expectancies, or explanatory style that is internal, stable, and global as opposed to external, unstable, and specific. This pessimistic explanatory style is a major risk factor for depressive states.
· A unique type of depression is the hopelessness depression (due to generalized hopelessness expectancies. Hopelessness Theory to Treating Depression was presented in the chapter. The goals are to (1) reengineer the social environment to lead to more positive life events and (2) to change client thinking toward more self-enhancing attribution styles (global, stable for positive events) toward an increase of hopefulness.
· Clinical decision-making or diagnosing client problems seems to be vulnerable to social psychological factors- distortions and biases (e.g., false-positives, group labeling, group stereotypes, confirmation biases).
Do you know what Counseling and Clinical Psychologists Do? By training, I am a Counseling Psychologist. If you are not familiar with the similarities and differences among Clinical and Counseling Psychologists, click these O*NET Online links:
Interestingly, the O*NET Online does not have a direct report for Social psychologists or Applied Social Psychologists. For more information go to:
Kassin and his colleagues (2017) do a nice job of comparing how these psychologists might examine a case of prejudice. For example, while a counseling/clinical psychologist might “test various therapies for people with antisocial personalities who exhibit great degrees of prejudice”, a social psychologist might “manipulate various kinds of contact between individuals of different groups and examine the effect of these manipulations on the degree of prejudice exhibited.” (p. 10, Kassin et al., 2017).
The social-clinical interface is active in three main research categories: (1) the origin of psychological disorders, (2) the diagnosis of disorders, and (3) the treatment and prevention of disorders. The featured theories in this chapter were Self-Presentation Theory (as applied to Social Anxiety), the cognitive-social model of depression, and the hopelessness model of depression. Cognitive distortions and biases may interfere with accurate diagnosis of mental health problems. Check out the links in Required Resources like this one: