Approaching Psychological Perspectives

Topics: Psychology, Science, Scientific method Pages: 3 (1033 words) Published: November 29, 2011
The field of psychology as a whole is made up of many different theoretical perspectives. These frameworks influence the way in which psychologists observe a situation and the methods by which he or she responds. Theoretical perspectives are not simple dichotomies, as they may appear. A psychologist may identify with a certain orientation but this membership does not exclude them from the use of other perspectives. Similarly, psychology is not a static field. It is constantly integrating new information and methods into theoretical approaches. Thus a person employing dynamic psychological approaches must adapt to a situation, both by indulging in the constant influx of new information and also by utilizing the best theoretical approach for each individual situation presented. Both of these methods of adapting to a situation require flexibility on the part of the psychologist.

Psychologists must be dynamic themselves in order to be part of the dynamic field. IT is also vital that a psychologist recognizes his or her own biases. As George Engel (1987) concludes, “Where you think you stand determines what you think you see” (p. 3). Every person sees through the lenses of their own experience, be that professional training, learned behavior or even two young boys who believe that Moses received the ten commandments at the hospital where their uncle works because both are named “Mount Sinai” (Engel, 1987). One of the most important lessons that emerges through understanding our different biases and perspectives is that just because one is right, that does not mean that the other is necessarily wrong.

More than one theoretical approach can be “right”, many may even achieve the same outcomes. This brings up the debate over the scientific status of psychology. Robert Fancher (1995) writes a provocative article in which he states that the scientific authority of psychology is false. He supports this by pointing to the fact that in psychology multiple perspectives may...
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