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Psychology in the Media: The Good, the Bad,

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Title: A New Degree in Applied Psychology Author: Willis M. Frankhouser Last modified by: Henry O. Patterson, Ph.D. Created Date: 2/5/2003 3:37:20 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Psychology in the Media: The Good, the Bad,


1
Psychology in the Media The Good, the Bad, the
Ugly Berks Area Psychological Society March 8,
2007
  • Henry O Patterson, Ph.D.

2
Overview of Session
  • Brief history of Psychologists in the media
  • Psychologists in the media today
  • Issues raised by involvement in media
  • Psychologists in the media APA Code of Conduct
  • Suggested ethical guidelines
  • Benefits costs to Psychologys image
  • Video of Dr. Phil session
  • Open discussion

3
Preface
  • Development of interest in topic
  • Students appear to be affected by psychology in
    the media media psychologists as role models
  • Choice of psychology as major
  • Interests within psychology, e.g., forensic
    psychology, psychotherapy, marriage family
    therapy
  • Modeling of Pop Psych approaches terminology
    to behavioral issues, e.g. substance abuse
  • My writing interview in media

4
Preface (cont)
  • Media includes
  • Print
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Movies
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Internet
  • Focus will be on radio TV

5
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
  • Surprisingly, little has been written about topic
  • Following are findings from research of Dr. Peter
    Behrens, Penn State Lehigh Valley

6
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
(cont)
  • 1st psychologists on radio were on New York
    station WEAF
  • 15-minute weekly broadcasts at 2 PM Tuesdays
    began September 1927
  • Various titles presented
  • Child Study Talk
  • Concerning Parent
  • Parents Talk

7
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
(cont)
  • 1st psychologists on radio (cont)
  • Various presenters
  • Affiliations of presenters not clearmay have
    been connected with Rutgers University Child
    Study Project
  • Most presenters were women audience was mostly
    women

8
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
(cont)
  • Dr. Joseph Jastrow 1st radio psychology
    celebrity 1930s
  • 1st chair of Psychology Department, University of
    Wisconsin
  • 1st Ph.D. in experimental from Johns Hopkins 1886
  • When retired, began syndicated weekly radio show
    from WEAF (NBC flagship station) in 1934

9
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
(cont)
  • Dr. Joseph Jastrow (cont)
  • Actively promoted psychology as public service
  • Regularly featured on Womans Radio Review in
    1935 and 1936 with topics such as
  • Herald of Sanity
  • Psychology and Peace
  • Zest in Living
  • Radio Personality Test

10
Brief History of Psychologists in the Media
(cont)
  • Psychologys 1st TV celebrity was Dr. Joyce
    Brothers (1.5 million sites)
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Brothers
  • Dr. Ruth Westheimer (5.3 million sites)
  • http//drruth.com/index.php

11
Psychologists in the Media Today (cont)
  • Dr. Dan Gottlieb (980,000 sites)
  • http//www.drdangottlieb.com/index.htm

12
Psychologists in the Media Today (cont)
  • Dr. Joy Browne ( 920,000 sites)
  • Calls herself "America's favorite Radio
    psychologist
  • Licensed clinical psychologist
  • Daily Radio show originates at WOR in New York
    City syndicated in over 200 markets including
    Canada Armed Forces Radio
  • "Talker's Magazine award for "Best Female Talk
    Show Host" twice author of several well-selling
    books
  • Program online live Monday through Friday from
    9-10 A.M.

13
Psychologists in the Media Today
  • Dr. Phil McGraw (19 million sites)
  • http//www.drphil.com/
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_McGraw
  • Dr. Jenn Berman (39,500 sites)
  • http//www.doctorjenn.com/

14
Psychologists in the Media Today (cont)
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger (14.6 million sites)
  • http//www.drlaura.com/main/
  • http//www.answers.com/topic/laura-schlessinger

15
Issues Raised by Involvement in Media
  • Whose interest is being served?
  • Public?
  • Psychology as a profession?
  • Commercial sponsors?
  • Celebrity self-promotion?
  • How valid it the information conveyed?
  • Are issues oversimplified?
  • Scientific rigor of information advice?

16
Issues Raised by Involvement in Media (cont)
  • What is the chance of misinterpretation,
    distortion of advice, casualties?
  • What is the broader impact on society?
  • When do we trust ourselves and when must we rely
    on experts for help?
  • What is the role of psychology vs family, ethnic,
    and religious traditions customs?

17
Issues Raised by Involvement in Media (cont)
  • What is the impact on the science practice of
    psychology as a profession?
  • Is our public image increased or diminished?
  • Are services of psychologists more likely or less
    likely to be used?
  • Will the connection between science practice be
    enhanced or impeded?
  • Is psychologys identity more or less distinct?

18
Psychologists in the Media APA Code of Conduct
  • APA Ethics Code (2002) Sec. 5 Advertising
    Other Public Statements establishes standards
  • 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive
    Statements to public including
  • Comments for use in media such as print or
    electronic transmission
  • Lectures public oral presentations
  • Published materials

19
Psychologists in the Media APA Code of Conduct
(cont)
  • 5.04 Media Presentations
  • When psychologists provide public advice or
    commentary via print, Internet, or other
    electronic transmission, they take precautions to
    ensure that statements
  • (1) are based on their professional knowledge,
    training, or experience in accord with
    appropriate psychological literature practice

20
Psychologists in the Media APA Code of Conduct
(cont)
  • (2) Are otherwise consistent with this Ethics
    Code and
  • (3) do not indicate that a professional
    relationship has been established with the
    recipient.

21
Psychologists in the Media APA Code of Conduct
(cont)
  • 5.05 Testimonials
  • Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from
    current therapy clients/patients or other persons
    who because of their particular circumstances are
    vulnerable to undue influence.

22
Psychologists in the Media APA Code of Conduct
(cont)
  • 5.06 In-Person Solicitation
  • Psychologists do not engage, directly or
    through agents, in uninvited in-person
    solicitation of business from actual or potential
    therapy clients/patients or other persons who
    because of their particular circumstances are
    vulnerable to undue influence.

23
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines
  • Public Advice-giving (Keith-Spiegel Koocher,
    1985)
  • 1. Refrain from handling topics beyond their
    competence--bring in expert guests.
  • 2. Do not offer suggestions requiring radical
    life changes or decisions.
  • 3. Screen potential participants, give referrals
    to those who are not suitable for media exposure.
  • 4. Callers should be informed of some of the
    risks of exposing their personal problems.

24
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines (cont)
  • 5. Resources should be provided for follow-up.
  • 6. Media psychologists should maintain a peer
    review board.
  • 7. Do not put distressed callers on hold.
  • 8. Tapes should not be re-run without the consent
    of the participants.
  • 9. Media psychologists should never read
    commercials or news stories and should not air
    inappropriate advertisements.

25
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines (cont)
  • 10. Media psychologists should not air
    promotional messages about their private
    practices.
  • 11. Frequent disclaimers about misperceptions
    should be made.
  • 12. Never belittle or make jokes about
    participants.
  • 13. Do not speak for all psychologists.
  • 14. Do not criticize the competence of other
    mental health professionals.

26
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines (cont)
  • Public Interviews (Keith-Spiegel Koocher, 1985)
  • 1. Find out the purpose of the story, if it
    sounds exploitive, consider waiting for another
    opportunity to make your material public.
  • 2. Give the reporter a written statement, if
    possible, to reduce the chance of misquotes.
  • 3. Invite the reporter to call you back if
    questions arise, or for an editorial review.
  • 4. Refuse comment on an area where you have
    insufficient knowledge, and, if possible, make a
    referral to an informed source.

27
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines (cont)
  • 5. Call back if you believe you made an error.
  • 6. Qualify all salient or dramatic remarks, and
    avoid making offhanded comments.
  • 7. Do not speak for the profession as a whole.
  • 8. Admit when you do not have an answer, rather
    than formulating an ill-informed one.
  • 9. If the topic is controversial, suggest that
    the reporter contact other colleagues as well.

28
Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines (cont)
  • 10. Offer only possibilities when asked to
    comment on situations on which no solid data
    exists (e.g. a hostage situation).
  • 11. Psychological evaluations about newsworthy
    individuals should be avoided, confidentiality
    should be observed at all times.
  • 12. If you are dissatisfied about the final
    product, let the reporter know in a constructive
    way.

29
Benefits Costs to Psychologys Image
  • The benefits -- the good
  • Disseminates helpful, accurate information to the
    public about human behavior
  • Sometimes helps people deal with their problems
  • De-mystifies psychology, counseling, and therapy
  • Reduces reluctance to seek treatment
  • Encourages students to enter the profession

30
Benefits Costs to Psychologys Image
  • The costs the bad
  • Leaves public with simplistic ideas about human
    behavior
  • Models helping strategies that some might try to
    use help others inappropriately
  • Increases dependency on experts to solve problems
  • Gives impression that psychologys scope is
    limited to mental health practitioners often
    confuses distinction of professions

31
Benefits Costs to Psychologys Image
  • The costs the ugly
  • In some cases leaves the impression that
    psychologists are self-serving hustlers
  • Superficiality of radio/TV counseling might
    actually harm some participants
  • Expose problems vulnerabilities to the world
  • Tarnishes the scientific base professionalism
    of psychology
  • Increases psycho babble image of psychology

32
Dr. Phil Video
  • Session with married couple
  • Wife has serious hoarding problem in home (OCD)
  • Husband threatens divorce, but would stay
    reverse vasectomy if wife throws out junk

33
Discussion
  • What has been your experience with clients who
    watch or listen to psychologists on radio and/or
    TV?
  • Do they have inappropriate expectations of
    therapy?
  • Are they more or less resistant to therapy?
  • Do you sense they compare you to Dr. Phil or some
    other celebrity therapist?

34
Discussion (cont)
  • What is your appraisal of the appropriateness of
    Dr. Phils program? His style of interacting
    with his clients? His observance of ethical
    standards?
  • If you were offered an opportunity to have your
    own radio or TV show, would you do it? Why or
    why not?
  • What do you think the future holds for
    psychologists in the media?

35
Thanks for being a great audience!
36
References
  • Blumenthal. A. (1991). The intrepid Joseph
    Jastrow. In G. Kimble, C. White, and M.
    Wertheimer (Eds.), Portraits of pioneers in
    psychology (pp. 75-87). Hillsdale NJ Erlbaum.
  • Cadwallader, T.C. (1988). Origins and
    accomplishments of Joseph Jastrows 1888-Founded
    chair of comparative psychology at the University
    of Wisconsin. Journal of Comparative Psychology,
    101, 213-236.
  • Epstein, R. (2001). Physiologist Laura.
    Psychology Today, 34 (July/August), 5.
  • Hilmes, M. (1997). Radio voices American
    broadcasting, 1922-1952. Minneapolis University
    of Minnesota
  • Jastrow, J. (1928). Keeping mentally fit. New
    York Greenberg.

37
References (cont)
  • Keith-Spiegel, P, Koocher, G. (1985). Ethics in
    psychology Professional standards and cases. New
    York Random House.
  • Levenson, R. W. (2005, April). Desperately
    seeking Phil. APS Observer. 18(4). Retrieved
    March 5, 2007, from www.psychologicalscience.org/o
    bserver/getArticle.cfm?id1749
  • Martin, A. A. II The wedding of psychology and
    the Media Taking a look at the ethical
    imperative. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from
    www.tagnet.org/dvm/psycmedia.html
  • Schwartz, L. L. (ed.) Psychology and the media A
    second look. Washinton, DC American
    Psychological Association.
  • Zimmerman, J.D. (1983, April).
    Psychologistsmultiple roles in television
    broadcasting. Professional Psychology Research
    and Practice, 14(2), 256-269.
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