I got to thinking the other day about the psychologist I see currently. At this point in my life I don’t *need* to see a psychologist, I want to. The psychologist has this unique thing she does, she believes in me. I know she believes in me because it comes through in the atmosphere she creates and in what she confirms I’m capable of. She’s separated herself from every other treatment provider I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen many because she is the first who truly believes in me.

This is what’s known as the Pygmalion Effect. When someone in some position of authority has a positive belief about the subjects capabilities under them. I’m sure there is a more accurate definition out there but to simplify further, let’s say this: it’s when a teacher believes their students are highly intelligent and the result is a student who actually learns more because the treatment of the teacher is more positive. The student knows the teacher believes they are smarter and the student begins to learn “as if”. The converse is also true.

I wonder if this applies to patients in psychology? Is there a study out there that studied the effects of two groups of patients, one group being labelled a “typical” patient in say, depression, and the second one being labelled in such a way that indicates they are more prone to change from treatment?

I suppose I see a study being done where a group of psychologists are given 2 groups of patients not knowing the details of the study. One group of patients is labelled the higher intelligent with some sort of made up fact about them, say they have higher than normal seratonin levels or they have no history of trauma or something, anything to indicate that they only need temporary treatment. The second group would be labelled as a higher risk group. Perhaps more prone to repeated negative behaviors or a chemical imbalance due to trauma. Something that indicates one group is more capable of change than the other.

I believe that the groups will perform in accordance with their labels, actually, I believe the psychologists will evaluate them as having performed in accordance with their respective labels.

What would this mean? It would mean that treatment providers personal beliefs about a patient, their biases, have a deep and profound impact on the outcome of the patients treatment goals. Actually in indicates the personal beliefs of anyone in authority has deep and profound impacts on the people under their charge.

We see this already in policing. We see this in subjects like hidden biases, and the widely known glass ceiling.

Part of this also rests on the shoulders of the subject, patient, or one under someone else. We must also believe we are capable of more. If we carry ourselves with the confidence of someone who can do more and be better with a little help, I believe this assists those in positions of authority to see us as a more intelligent group.

Just thinking publicly here.

With Love

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