I majored in psychology at school, but did not give it serious thought as a career. Psychology as a field was never quite what I wanted it to be. It left too many important areas of life untouched, not as beyond its reach, but as beneath its dignity.
The first broad mistake that bothered me in psychology is the tendency to take a human being and turn him or her into an object for scientific study. The way in which the literature draws parallels between human beings and lab rats tells its own story. Yes, I'm aware that you can take studies about lab rats and leverage that to learn something about human beings, and I think that leveraging this knowledge usefully is a good thing. The objection comes when a researcher looks at another human being and sees only statistics to be measured and responses to be manipulated, and in that way does not see any fundamental difference between a human and a rat.
Yes, I'm aware that there are psychologists and psychiatrists who understand about people being people, and that they are probably in the majority; that's not my point. My point is that there are those in the field who simply don't understand it, that there is no requirement in order to be a member of the field that you must see human beings as human beings. And again, I do not object to studying people -- it's a worthwhile pursuit. But there is a type of study that has only an incidental interest in the humanity of the people being studied; this kind of study is dehumanizing. And it seemed to me that if psychology were to pay off the dividends that it promises for humanity, the least it could do is to make the world more human, not less. While a great many people in the field understand that, there is not exactly a Hippocratic Oath required for people in the field: first of all in the humanities, remember you are dealing with humans.
To be continued ...