Social Perception in Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Social Perception in Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Social Perception in Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Social Perception in Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Excerpt

Clinical psychologists are a hard pressed lot. In their daily work they are continuously faced with baffling problems and tasks for which all of Solomon's wisdom would barely be sufficient. Even in traditional roles, in which clinicians deal with neurotic and psychotic clients, judicious appraisal and planning of intervention strategies requires far more than remembering the substance of courses in behavior pathology, interview techniques, personality theory and intervention methods. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are some disciplines of pyschology to which clinicians have looked for a helping hand. And, generously, conceptual models have been offered by learning theorists, by physiological psychologists, by personality theorists, and by social psychologists.

There is clearly a conceptual overlap between social and clinical psychology. After all, except for a small proportion of cases in which various biological variables significantly contribute to the creation of a problem, most clinical problems are created in a social context. In fact, even in genetically determined or biologically caused disorders, the social context represents an important arena in which intervention may be needed. The choice of theories and research from social psychology for a foundation of clinical practice seems even more appropriate when we consider that many of the subspecialty areas in social psychology deal with personality processes, social attitudes, and social norms that ultimately represent criteria for behavior deviations. And social communication is basic to all but a very few clinical interventions. In the last 25 years numerous authors have argued the case for social psychological theories and experiments as the natural source of models for clinical practice. The argument has been based both on logical and experiential grounds (Sullivan, 1953; Frank, 1961), and on attempts to extrapolate social psychological research to the psychotherapy process (as in Goldstein, Heller & Sechrest, 1966). Linkage of concepts from social psychology to psychotherapy can . . .

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