Armchair Psychology Can Be Dangerous

Armchair Psychology Can Be Dangerous

Armchair psychology is not the same as a person who is a professional clinician diagnosing a person with mental health issues. When you are participating in armchair psychology, you are speculating as to what a person struggles with and how you can help them. For example, somebody might think that their brother or partner is a narcissist, but they don’t know the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. An armchair psychologist relies on their life experience rather than having skills in the mental health field. Here are some reasons why armchair psychology can be dangerous.

Don’t diagnose if you’re not a mental health professional

If you’re not a mental health clinician, do not diagnose people. You can have opinions on individuals’ behavior. You can feel strongly about how others treat you. But if you don’t have a degree in psychology, it’s not wise to decide whether someone has a mental illness. If you tell a friend that you believe that they are a sociopath, this can be damaging to them if they do not have a personality disorder. Similarly, if you diagnose somebody with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and you’re not a clinician you don’t know what you’re doing to them by imparting this information. If you notice your friend struggling instead of diagnosing them, what can you do?

Get off your armchair and help them

When you think of an armchair psychologist, you imagine somebody sitting in a relaxed position judging others. That is the dangerous part of this behavior. You are not qualified to make diagnoses on your friends and family. You’re not qualified to make judgments on people who are in your circle. The only person who can make diagnoses on these individuals is their mental health provider. So what you can do instead of making judgments about what somebody might or might not have is encourage them to seek therapy or counseling this way you’re not harming their mental health by assuming they have something that they do not have.
If your friend confesses, they are having particular symptoms such as high levels of energy and excessively spending lots of money instead of diagnosing them with bipolar disorder; you can suggest that they talk to their doctor. That would be the more kind and loving thing to do rather than implying that they have an illness that you’re not sure if they have.

How armchair psychology hurts people

When you’re sitting in your armchair judging others it can’t hurt them. They might take your diagnosis as a judgment against them. They don’t realize that you’re trying to help and they might start to believe there is something wrong with them. That’s why armchair psychology not only doesn’t work, but can be hurtful and harmful to your friends, family, or strangers. Judging people without proper information or expertise can be damaging. That’s why it’s essential for people to see a mental health provider who can help them. If your friend confesses that they’re dealing with a mental health issue encourage them to seek help from a medical provider.

Online therapy

Online therapy is an excellent form of treatment where you where your loved one can get help with mental health conditions. It is convenient and flexible. You can work with a provider in the privacy of your own home. Whether you’re working with somebody online or in your local area, the goal of counseling is to get help for your mental health. Mental health conditions are treatable whether it’s depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental health problem, you can get the help that you need. But you don’t need to be diagnosed by an armchair psychologist. Trust a counselor or psychologist who has been through actual mental health training and has read the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Psychologists are here to help us navigate mental health concerns.


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