Psychology has been regarded by many as part and parcel of the modern American culture and this in fact has some truth in it. Psychology had become a strong player in American culture and in some ways has influenced a large part of how organizations, groups, schools, parents and even individuals manage their existence. A discipline that was regarded as merely philosophical exercise and was snubbed by the scientists of the 19th century as lacking in scientific rigor and validity has come full circle and has firmly established itself as a diverse field of study that focuses on improving the quality of life (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
The course in the History and Systems of Psychology has opened me to the fluidity and resilience of psychology as a scientific discipline and that it has more than any other field of expertise adapted to and evolved alongside that of human and social progress. From the early schools of thought to the present perspectives that psychologists of different specializations has adhered to, it always offered man a means of discovering his/her personhood and it also respected the existence of external influences and biological determinants of behavior.
This course had made me appreciate more the realness and genuiness of psychology in its efforts to understand human behavior and mental processes. The mentioned insights are very important to me and in my learning because it has given me a new perspective of what psychology is and what it would be in the future, knowing that man is continuously changing and our society is evolving and that as practitioners and scholars of psychology, I need to see myself and my role as an advocator for this field.
I had always been fascinated by human behavior I used to spend my days sitting in the shade and enjoy observing people and how they behave. Naturally, I was drawn to psychology even if I did not have much background about it and the adults I tried to extract information from had shaken their heads and asked me why I want to know stuff like that.
But my incessant curiosity and desire for learning drove me to explore and take charge of my learning and have become a student of psychology even before I went to college. I was fascinated with the history of psychology, how it was thought to be superstitious and nothing more than a short-lived trend in its beginnings. But time and time again, psychology has proven its critics wrong and that psychology had been grossly misunderstood in the past.
It may have had its own share of blunders, inaccuracies and narrowness but despite that it has continued to seek to discover the truth of human behavior and the myriad aspects of human behavior in terms of his/her individuality and as an interacting and social person. Although I enjoyed and learned so much from this course, I would have wanted to know more about the different perspectives of psychology in major cultures and how they had utilized psychology and how they had developed their own unique psychology (Viney & King, 2003).
I know that these topics would be better covered in a cultural psychology course or global perspectives in psychology but I think that this should included in this course maybe just to teach students that psychology although predominantly developed by Americans, other cultures had also found importance and meaning in psychology by maybe allotting a discussion or a reading on the status of psychology in different parts of the world corresponding to the historical timeline of psychology.
Looking forward to my role as a teacher of psychology, I would very much want to teach this course and through my own experience, I would want to stress some topics more than the others, not because it is more popular or more close to my heart and beliefs but because it has proven to be more applicable and more relevant to human development and society.
I know that a large portion of this course stressed the distinct brand of American psychology that developed as a product of functionalism. I do agree that this is an important aspect to teach to students of psychology but I would also want to focus more on how the history of psychology mirrored that of the history of man.
I would also give importance to the distinct perspectives that has survived the test of time and change, the perspectives that have become the basis of present day psychology and how each perspective seemed to specialize in a certain field and have made its major contributions in that area (Leahey, 2000), for example Gestalt psychology has been the precursor for cognitive psychology, Behaviorism had led to the development of the psychology of learning and to social psychology and how psychoanalytic perspective influenced psychotherapy and counseling and etc.
I believe that these are important topics to emphasize in this course because it shows how psychology is a unique discipline that is made up of different systems and perspectives that is wonderfully interwoven (Thorne & Henley, 2005) and that this course would prepare the student for more specialized learning because they have learned the foundations of psychology. This course have changed my understanding of psychology and counseling in terms of correcting my misperceptions and misunderstanding of some schools of thought and systems. It has opened my eyes and my mind to what psychology is and what is counseling.
I also believe now that psychology should focus more on the normal person, to develop more measures and theories about normal human behavior. Moreover, I have learned that psychology is indeed a science and it has fought and strived to maintain the scientific aspect of the field and in some ways it has now also become a personal standard, I now try to approach every problem and challenge in the scientific way and at the same time use the training and skills developed in this course such as critical thinking, objective analysis, application of theories and concepts to real life situations.