For those of you finding the discussion on unity in psychology a little dry (surely not!?!), I have good news: this is the penultimate post in the series. In the next I will foolishly attempt to summarise and comment on all of the articles in the second special issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology. This is not, of course, the end of the discussion, just the beginning, but simply touching on this subject has opened my eyes to a wealth of debates within psychology. I want to reflect on this briefly.
My impression has been that this subject attracts little interest precisely because it is, at the same time, both everyone’s problem and no one’s problem. The strongest criticisms of Henriques’ proposals point to organisational and political inertia: we don’t like change, we are comfortable the way things are; motivation for change can be difficult to access.
For me, though, the idea that psychology should have a broadly accepted macro-level view sticks in my mind as something that could, and should, exist. Many psychologists, while not necessarily being interested in the broad idea of unity, are interested in how their own work fits into the big picture. And here I return to Sternberg & Grigorenko’s (2001) bottom-up approach to unity. It is when psychologists use diverse methodologies and look for links across sub-disciplines, that some of the best work is produced.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Looking to the future, the question of whether unity in psychology will be based on Henriques’ ideas is one to be worked out over time. At least the debate continues: if we have no debate, we have no progress.