TO BE PSYCHOLOGISTS OR TO BECOME A PSYCHOLOGIST? A STUDY ON UTILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF AN EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING GROUP ACTIVITY IN ACADEMIC COURSES.

Risultato della ricerca: Otherpeer review

Abstract

1 INTRODUCTIONProfessors of Psychology well know that the most of their students start attending academic courses intending Psychology, and psychological work too, in a not much realistic and strongly idealizing way.This happens, on the one hand, due to an unsatisfactory knowledge of the subject, on the other hand because of a marked discrepancy between the representation/image of the psychologist as presented by media and the one which is shared by the scientific and professional community. According to the representation given by media, for example, anyone in possession of strong empathic and interpretational skills – to be simply strengthened through academic studies – may pursue the career of psychologist. The dramatic increase in popularity and consequently in registrations to Psychology courses in Italy is undoubtedly due to this naive, though extremely attractive representation made by media. Therefore, for example, those who think they have strong listening skills feel they are ‘authorized’ to follow this path.In contrast with this representation, it is a common belief that University should provide both theoretical and professional skills and tools for personal growth through active involvement in the learning process. This will substantially contribute to the construction of a realistic representation of professional identity, in line with personal inclinations and personality traits.In order to achieve such a objective, students should actively be involved through participation in interpersonal experiences which contribute to personal growth and develop a reflective approach towards their future profession (Corey, 2013; George & Cristiani, 1990; Human, 2008). Several scholars consider that group methods are very useful for the training of competent reflective practitioners (Knight, Sperling & Maltby, 2010; Nathan 2003; Nathan & Poulsen, 2004), and it is our belief that that middle and large group settings are particularly suitable to help individuals to understand the cultural roots of their representations of helping professions and how their internalization contributes to the construction of unrealistic images of the professional identity.2 AIMS, METHOD AND HYPOTHESESThis contribution describes the effectiveness of the experiential learning group (Parcover et al., 2006) – specifically for Psychology students – as a relational space which encourages reflection upon professional identity and the way it forms, with the purpose of constructing more realistic representations of their profession and participating in an intersubjective educational process of sense-making. Students are provided with an educational experience which significantly differs from a frontal lecture and where interpersonal confrontation leads them to explore different topics related to becoming a psychologist. A special focus is given to the maturation of their visions of the profession.The aim of this activity is to make students aware that their visions – mostly idealized and not entirely corresponding to reality – consider only a small part of the rich variety of aspects that characterize their future profession. A special attention has been devoted to the socio-genetic and cultural foundations of such visions that psychologists will have to cope with in their daily practice with clients/patients.Research has involved students from the course in Clinical Psychology, from the University of Palermo (Italy), in ‘groups of elaboration on professional identity’, semi-directive discussion groups oriented to associative communication, with the purpose of
Lingua originaleEnglish
Pagine50-51
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

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