Politicians and Psychologists. This blog will get me in a lot of trouble but, what the hell, most of what I write gets me in trouble with someone…..and, after all, writing about issues that will get me in trouble is a major part of the idea behind my blog site, so here goes.

     It came to me today that we, the people, have a very similar problem with both politicians and psychologists. It stems from the fact that we want solid solutions, and it behoves them to never look for the root causes of a problem but rather only to address the symptoms.

     In the case of politicians, short-term gains dominate their thinking. All gains create publicity, and short-term gains create publicity more often than long-term ones. We live in a soundbite age, and so the more times the politician appears in the media with a gain to announce, however insignificant or trivial the gain may be, the better for the politician’s image and re-election possibilities. An example would be members of the U.S. House of Representatives. They have to seek re-election every two years. The result, if you are a first-term member, you spend your first year trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and then it’s time for you to concentrate of your re-election campaign – net contribution to the good of the people is therefore zero.      

     In the case of psychologists, it is counter-productive to their business to find and solve the root causes of their patients’ problems. If they actually found the basic problem, and helped their patient solve it, they wouldn’t have an income stream from that patient any more. Not a good business, or career, decision or model. It’s much easier and smarter, economically, to only address the symptoms. They are generally more obvious, more understandable and more acceptable to the client, so the client is happy and keeps coming back for a further appointment. Everybody wins….sort of. Skilled psychologists can drag symptom-solving programs out for years, or even indefinitely.

     Neither the politician, nor the psychologist, is serving their public well by employing this strategy. Yes, it serves them well, but they are supposed to be serving us, I think.

     Bluntly, all they are doing is “kicking the can down the road”. So why are we paying them?

     I guess it comes down to professional ethics and community responsibility, and those appear to be vanishing qualities in today’s world.

     Perhaps all students, at all levels, should be required to take courses in ethics and community responsibility as part of a required “Civics” program. It would be a start.

     A required, annual, “revalida” course for politicians and psychologists, which focuses on professional ethics and community responsibility, would also be a wonderful idea.

     Do I hear laughter?

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