Amateur psychologists and why they’re dangerous

We’ve all done it. Lets be honest. We’ve all voiced opinions on things where we’re not an expert – or even, sometimes, where we’re not remotely knowledgeable. Hopefully, however, we all make it known that we’re not the leading authority on those subjects. Hopefully it’s all harmless and meant well . . . because sometimes, it really isn’t.

Take ED, for example (and preferably take him far away and throw him into a volcano). He works in mental health. Oh, not as a psychologist or anything, but as a case worker. He has a lot of paperwork to do, and some home visits. He can’t prescribe or dispense medications, he can’t diagnose, and he can’t treat patients.

Yet somehow, he thinks he is the world expert on mental health.

What wonderful knowledge does he impart? Well (to paraphrase): ‘the kind of depression that most people have isn’t really depression because they haven’t harmed themselves enough. Personality disorders don’t exist and people should stop using them for attention. Unless you’re sectioned, there’s nothing wrong with you. People should just buck up and get on with it.’ He has also tried diagnosing me, and telling me where exactly he thinks my problems come from (and hint, none of them are him. He’s trying to save me, and has never done anything wrong.)

Sometimes he even says it with enough conviction that I almost believe him. Other times I can at least see that he is talking bullshit. Harmful bullshit. Seriously, don’t do this. If you’re not an actual professional psychologist, don’t, for the love of goodness, talk like you are. It’s worse if you can bluff and naturally be convincing, because these opinions could really hurt someone.

Imagine suffering for years with mental health problems, only to be told you’re overreacting and weak. That happens a lot. But when the arsehole saying it claims to be an expert? Because they work in mental health? Yep, that’s life-destroying right there.

It’s fine to have opinions – though there’s a time and place for opinions – but shutting others down by claiming to be all-knowing is just wrong. Think before you open your mouth. Think about something what troubles you, and think how much damage it could do to you if someone argues that you’re just mad or stupid or wrong.

I don’t even know why people do it. It’s one thing if someone asks you for help, but some jerks can’t seem to keep their mouths shut. They try to shoehorn their limited, biased, idiotic knowledge into every crack they can. I’m sure an actual psychologist could have fun analysing that.


Think. There’s a reason you aren’t a professional. If you were any good at those things, you’d be paid to do them. You’re not though, so shut up.


One thought on “Amateur psychologists and why they’re dangerous

  1. One of my casual friends is a self-styled “expert” on psychopathy and narcissism. She has gone so far as to assemble a book of her “interviews” of psychopaths. Furthermore she is now a podcaster, specializing in psychopaths, using her book as the topics source.

    She is also an “expert” on natural cures and vitamins. Last year, she was pushing coconut oil as a cure for nearly every malady under the Sun. She’s big into B vitamins. My wake-up call came when she gifted me a bottle of mega dosage Biotin pills to help me regrow hair on my bald spots. I took one a day as she recommended. On day three, I started getting heart palpitations and shakiness. I threw away the pills.

    Anyhow, she certainly believes she is an amazing expert about matters of health and well-being. I’ve gently started a conversation about my concerns, but she is dismissive of them. Now that she is a member of the psychopath/narcissism Internet cottage industry, there’s no stopping her. In fact, she is counting on her podcast to provide a tidy income.

    Just my two-cents worth today.


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