G. Frank Lawlis

Frank Lawlis Ph.D.

Redefining Stress

What is the next change in psychology

The Change in Psychology is here, but is it?

Posted Oct 26, 2009

It has been a while since I posted a blog and the reason for for my absence is that I have been engulped in the new paradigm in psychology. This is almost like the passion I had for my first real girlfriend with all of its ups and downs of emotions, but the excitement I get from seeing patients get resolution with their problems in just a few minutes instead of months of therapy or medication is intoxicating. When I see individuals resolve their baggage from years of what Freud called "fixations" and cognitive psychologist term "irrational junctures," in a matter of a session or two I wonder where we have been doing for all these years.

Since I am classified as an old timer and been out of graduate school for over forty years (two generations) I can say anything I want to about the field as an expert. But truth be told I have had the best seat in the house from which to observe the changes. I have met most of the people who have been the ones who bent the road, known many of them very well, and understood their minds and goals. This is not to say that all had the most humanitarian purposes, but they were very human and passionate for the future application of psychology. I probably could write a very fascinating introduction book on the twists and turns in the history of psychology, but I would probably get sued for some of my revelations.

When I think of all the things I learned and relearned, and then relearned from my training in school, I realize that the materials today would unlikely be in the curriculum today. The times are changing again, so I am putting out the word that psychology will evolve to a new perspective, making what we learn today as antiquated as that taken forty-one years ago. We didn't know what ADD or Bi-polar syndromes were. We could only fantasize what we were doing to the brain changes when we did "effective" therapy. We could only trust our professors when they discussed the heroes of their recent past and the grand scheme about what we might become.

I predicted the coming of what we have termed "Behavioral Medicine" by the new interest that disease was related to something beyond a "germ" and psychology could actually help cure organic disease. I discovered the emergence of what is now termed "Transpersonal Psychology" as people rekindled the notion that there are other forces that nurtured and lead people through their problems besides the authoritarian logic of a therapist. There are broader sides to the human spirit besides ego and self. I laughed at the advent of cognitive psychology because the methods were so damned logical and actually worked.

So where is this next movement? I think it will come from the advent of brain mapping and learning how the brain can make itself plastic to accomplish something. We already know that people's brains can reconnect their motor centers to backup systems neurological to speak and walk again. We can observe the same process as we train the brains directly to cope more effectively with a problem of life changing relevance. But there are other exciting things in the wind. Brain biofeedback therapies have shown promise for autism and PTSD. Hyperbaric chambers can enrich and nurture brains with strokes and anoxia. But what do you think? It is obvious the change is coming, but you see the same things I do. I am not some prophet that foretells the future. I am curious about where you believe the next big change will happen. Write me and tell me what you think and I promise to respond someway.