Being a Psychology-major student/graduate has its perks but it also has its own fair share of pet peeves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be in the program and all because we get to learn how to understand the human mind and behavior and all that jazz but it’s really frustrating and annoying to hear the same (wrong) questions from the people – especially if you met them for the first time.
It’s the same old story, same old tune. Kabisado ko na nga. It always goes like this:

Them: Anong course mo? 

Me: Psychology. 

Them: (insert common question here)

What’s that common question then? Lots. Plenty. Questions we hear over and over that it’s tiring sometimes.

Here. Lemme list down the 7 major questions I/we usually receive:

1) Basahin mo nga kung ano iniisip ko/Can you read my mind? 

Guys. Girls. Ma’am. Sir. Psych-majors po, not fortune-tellers. We really can’t read the mind, you know. We’re not telepaths. It doesn’t work that way.

In fact, the first things we tackled in General Psychology are the misconceptions about Psychology and whatnots, and guess what, this is part of it.

We are not mind readers. As much as we’d like to be one, we’re not – but that doesn’t stop us from pretending we are, though. LOL.

2) Psycho ka ‘di ba? 

One glaring difference between Psych-majors and non-psych: the use of proper abbreviation. It’s Psych, please, and never Psycho because in this field, this term means something else and we usually don’t wanna be labeled with such. In fact, we shouldn’t label or be labeled with anything at all. I don’t wanna sound like I’m nagging here pero ayun nga. Haha.

3) Ayoko na magsalita. In-a-assess mo na ako, e. 

As much as this can be true, most of the time it isn’t. At least for me. I’ve been receiving feedbacks from my friends that I have sharp stares (daw) and it makes them feel uneasy ’cause they think I’m reading them and gauging their thoughts out. I do this, I admit. I love to observe people and study how they work and interact with others BUT. I. DON’T. DO. THIS. ALL. THE. TIME.

Sometimes I just look and listen. That’s it. Yet people still think I’m assessing them. How come? Gah!

4) Edi Psychiatrist na work mo? 

Not everyone knows the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. Heck, even those in the field barely know the demarcation and lines separating these two jobs and that’s okay. Philippines is really slow with its mental issues and awareness but we’re getting somewhere.

Just to clarify, Psychologists are more on the mental and emotional health side so they focus and work extensively on Psychotherapies, testing, and behavioral intervention while Psychiatrists are medical doctors trained to prescribe medications and treat their patients using meds and other intervention program.

Graduating from college/university doesn’t automatically make you a Psychologist though. No. You need to have a masters degree and take up the board exams before you get that RP added to your name.

Here in the Philippines though, graduates have the option to take up the Rpm boards and become a registered Psychometrician after graduation. Since I took up the boards, people often ask me what I do and if I assess people. We can, but not in ways that you think. We are limited in what we can do, and our professional license can only go so far. We can administer and interpret tests but that’s it. Nothing too complicated.

5) Feeling ko bipolar ako. Assess mo nga ako

There are so many things wrong here. One, the misuse of the term bipolar. Second, the abuse of the label. Third, the misconception that we can assess with just a glance (or by listening to your story).

Psych-majors are really careful in diagnosing and labeling so we don’t do it just by looking at you. There are so many things needed to be done. Behavioral observations, interviews, test administrations. It’s not an easy thing like what most often think.

And Bipolar doesn’t equate moodiness. This is a serious mood disorder, one we’d like to be removed from the common lingo of people (along with removing stigma and negative treatment of mentally-ill people.)

6) Ang mga psycho magaling manghula ‘yan, e. 

Nah, not really. We’re just sensitive because we know what to find, where to look, and we have an idea of what could be going on. But that’s it. Nothing fancy.

7) Ang mga Psych majors, baliw ‘yan, e.

Of all the things said and done, ito lang siguro ang tama. Haha. We’re crazy in the sense that we like to have fun, but don’t we all? Though baliw is really a general and vague term. Common people usually use this to describe people suffering from Schizophrenia and mood disorders but it’s wrong and it causes stigma. Psych-majors in fact avoid using derogatory and vague terms like this because of the ill-meaning associated to it.

On this note, baliw, bipolar, depressed, psychotic, and anti-social shouldn’t be used lightly as a way of respect to those people actually suffering from it. I’m hoping that change will come in the Psych field now that a new government has come and taken over. We need more public education and awareness. We need more understanding of mental health and disorders.

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