The scientist-practitioner model: What it is, the importance and its issues

What is the scientist-practitioner model?  I think I already have discussed this in previous posts over the last three years (2011/2012/2013).  There are some really good articles (see reference links below) regarding this topic.

The scientist-practitioner model:
According to Shapiro (2002), the model is of a psychologist practicing as a scientist and clinician at the same time.  The psychologist is to use psychological therapies and methods that have been validated and proven to be effective.  On the other hand, he must also do research through applying scientific research methods and principles, to test out the efficiency of existing therapies and treatments or to understand the psychological theories and mental health issues and disorders.  With the research and practice of validated psychological methods and theories existing at the same time, this is the true display of the scientist-practitioner model.  This is also the reason for why we must take so many modules related to psychological practice and research in university.    

It is important that we have such a model in psychology, as we need to constantly evaluate our methods and theories.  This way, we can make sure that the theories and psychotherapies that we are using are fully validated and tested to be practical for this modern era.   

Why do we need to criticise what we already know? Can't we take it for granted?
In order for psychology to be recognised as "science" and our theories and psychotherapies to be of "scientific value", we must make sure that they can be tested and proven through various levels of testing.  What we know from our textbooks and research articles have also gone through the same scientific testing by the various researchers and psychologists, and that is the only way the field of psychology can grow and improve.  For the continuation of learning and growth in the psychological field, we just have to continue our research and practice our therapies with validated methods.   

Issues with the scientist-practitioner model
Though we know that the scientist-practitioner model is being used in the psychological field, Barlow, Hayes and Nelson (1984, as cited in Dick, 1996) found that:
  • Research paradigms are inadequate for researching psychological issues.
  • The training does not result in practitioners doing research.
  • Practitioners do not even make much use of research findings.
  • Research has little influence on practice
This indicated a lack of connection between the sides of  the researcher and practitioner.  What was found was that students were probably trained more in the practitioner side, rather than the researcher side, which resulted in less people doing researches and less people applying the findings from research.  This indicated that we (students, psychology lecturers, researchers, psychologists, etc.) probably need to try to connect these both sides as much as possible.  

Hence, to improve this situation,  a similar recommendation have been provided by Dick (1996), Lowman (2012), and Shapiro (2002).  The recommendation is to integrate the science of psychology with the practice of psychotherapy, both conceptually and operationally.  This can be done by having research that are driven by and applicable to practice, and have clinical practice that is highly supported by quality research.  In this way, we can then sustain the scientific rigour of psychological research and practice.

Dick, B. (1996). Is it time to revise the scientist-practitioner model? An unpublished discussion
paper. Retrieved from
Lowman, R. L. (2012). The scientist-practitioner consulting psychologist. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63(4), 151-156. Retrieved from
Shapiro, D. (2002). Renewing the scientist-practitioner model. The Psychologist, 15(5), 232-234. Retrieved from

Miss Psychobabble: Facebook Addiction - When logging out is the hardest thing to do

One specific type of Internet Addiction that emerged recently was Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).  Facebook, the largest social networking site created by Mark Zuckerberg, had over one billion active users as of September 2012.  Having a profile is the first step to Facebook Addiction Disorder! 

Some noticeable signs of FAD
Click Here to enjoy a free Facebook Addiction test.  Please note that the results on this test are purely indicative.  So, do not take it as a serious diagnosis.

Social factors that influenced the emergence of FAD:

1) Impression Management
Impression Management is how people form, maintain and enhance their social identities to reach one's goal and influence other’s perception on them (Piwinger & Ebert, 2001, as cited in Sharma & Sharma, 2012).  People’s addiction to Facebook arises because of the need to constantly maintain that ideal or perfect impression.  It appears that we present different aspects of ourselves depending on where we are and whom we are with (Goffman, 1959).  This is why we shape our impression based on the user’s desired audience.

2) Mere exposure effect
Mere exposure effect is when we start to develop good feelings towards an object that is expose to us frequently.  Facebook is good at marketing and advertising because it is visible everywhere.  This is why you pay good money for Facebook Ads.

3) Conformity
One would choose to conform and change his behavior just because everybody does it or because it is very evident in our society.  Since almost everybody has a Facebook account, you would also like to have one because you want to be a part the “in” crowd.

Facebook has truly become a global phenomenon and social factors paved way to its emergence.  Furthermore, it led to many cases of Facebook addiction and cyber crimes.  Therefore, we should try our best to become responsible users, know our limits and control ourselves to not lose sight of our priorities!

Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday. Retrieved from
Sharma, A., & Sharma, A. (2012). Impression management works in career success! : Myth or reality? International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, 2(3), 350-368. Retrieved from

Statistics Made Easy 4: Types of Data

In my last post, I mentioned about continuous, discrete and categorical data.  In the statistics used in psychology and in SPSS, these are also known as
  • Nominal (Categorical) data
  • Ordinal (Ranked) data
  • Interval (Scale) data
  • Ratio (Scale) data
Polgar, S., & Thomas, S. A. (2008). Introduction to research in the health sciences (5th edn.). PA, USA: Churchill Livingstone
Nominal data are categorical data, which are separated in different groups.  Each of these categories are assumed to be distinct (as in the above picture) and independent of each other.  A specific value of a variable either falls into a specific category, or it does not.  For example, a value of "male" will only be categorised into the 'male' group and not into the 'female' group.

Ordinal data are ranked data, with the values being ordered in sequence, signifying the rank of the value, e.g. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  Note that though there is an order, the difference in ranking does not imply the variation of class performance, i.e. the the difference between the 1st and 2nd is not the same as that between the 2nd and 3rd.

Unlike ordinal data, the interval and ratio data has that last characteristic (equal differences between subsequent values) as mentioned.  Interval and ratio data are also known as 'scale' data in SPSS, because they are measured on a scale with continuous values.  As long as your value can be measured on a 'scale' (e.g. cm, inch, kg, etc.), it would most probably be interval or ratio data.
The main difference between interval and ratio data is that ratio data has an absolute (or non-arbitary) zero.  An absolute zero is a "0" that is quite meaningful, as it indicates a value of an absence or non-existence of the value.  For example, 0 degree Kelvin represents an absence of heat (ratio data), while 0 degree Celsius is the melting point of water (interval data) with the values of degree Celsius being able to go below zero.  Hence if the value can go below the value of zero and consist of a negative value, it would be interval data, and if the lowest value can only reach zero, it would be ratio data.

Are you now clear on which type of data you using?  Please note that you might have to decide on the type of data you are using earlier in your research, as it might affect your hypotheses and research questions.  

Fear and Hope in Life

I have been thinking about it.  What are the inner motives  and reasons for the things we do?  I believe this is the question that all psychologists ask.

Here's my answer:  I believe that two of these unconscious motives that hinder our behaviours are Fear and Hope.

How much of your life is controlled by your fears and hopes that you have? Are you able to control your fears and hopes?

In my opinion, our fear causes us to do things.  If we fear that we will not do well, we practice more and harder at what we are doing.  Fear causes us to stay at our comfort zone, in the fear that if we move out of it, we may lose what we currently have,  People often lose sleep or decrease their quality of sleep due to fear.  Fear can be a result of your past experiences, your current feelings and emotions, or even the unknowns of the future.  But regardless of where it is from, it does hinders us from performing at our best.
I have written two posts on the topic of fear in the last 12 months:

Some people believe that hope is the propelling force for people to do amazing things, things that they will not believe that they are capable of.  With hope, we have a goal, something to aim for and to work towards.  But what if these goals are not achievable?  Are you going to continue working towards them?  Even worse, what if they are achieved?  What else are you going to work towards?

One common goal or hope of some Singaporeans are to earn as much money as possible.  That's barely achievable, for the pure reason or question of "How much is enough?"  If the hope was to buy a landed property in Singapore and you slogged many years to finally reach that goal, what is the next hope then?  Being aimless in life is worse than working hard towards an impossible dream, as we would be going through life like a zombie, without any aim.      

Having fears and hopes are parts of a normal human cognition, i.e. it is normal that people have fears and hopes.  However, this may lead to people having external locus of control in your life, attributing unwanted events and results to external reasons like luck, the unreachable goal, or other people hindering your progress.

In my opinion, always believe in yourself and your abilities.  When performing or doing your work, do not fear or worry about your progress and/or hope that you will perform well.  Just focus on what you should be doing at the moment.  Be in the moment and experience flow.  Only by focusing on the current moment, you will perform at your best.

Miss Psychobabble: Positive Psychology - How to Live a Healthier and Happier Life

Much like the world news, most of Psychology’s branches tend to highlight the negative side such as the roots of abnormal behavior and the effects of dysfunction. This separates Positive Psychology from the rest. Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, its forefathers, used positivity to flourish one’s well-being by focusing on how human beings can live a healthier, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

Instead on focusing on what’s wrong with you, celebrate what can go right and become the best version of yourself! These are some of the ways that you can lead a healthy and happier life...

Simple Ways to Live a Healthy and Happier Life

1. Know and live by your character values and strengths.
(Image from

Authentic strengths (e.g. curiosity, bravery, creativity, persistence, kindness, leadership, or humor) are very important because these are in lined with your behavior. Identifying your core values will direct you to your personal strengths (Peterson, 2006). Using these strengths can improve your well-being and performance in all aspects of life.

2. Be the master of your own emotions.
According to Daniel Goleman, the Psychologist who developed the emotional intelligence appraisal test, having emotional intelligence or being the master of your own emotions help you to become effective in various aspects of your life including work.
Watch this short video (1:52 mins.) to find out more.

3. Try to be as positive as possible in a negative situations.
As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said:  
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."  

Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to behavior. Talk more about your blessings than you do with your problems. Better yet, share your blessings and make others smile. Studies showed that happier people give more and later experience higher levels of happiness from doing so (Piliavin, 2003; Thoits & Hewitt, 2001).

4. Never compare yourself to others.

On one hand, aspiring someone else's success and knowing more about how they got there can become a great motivation. But, unrealistically desiring and measuring your self-worth on what others have can lead to depression. Beating yourself up for not being exactly as famous celebrities is irrational. Instead, get off the couch and work your way up to your goals!

5. Finally, make the most of what you have even in a seemingly unfortunate situation.



Instead on focusing on what is wrong with you, Positive Psychology helps you to celebrate what is going right and improves that even more. It highlights your strengths and use it to your advantage. Following its principles, here are some ways you can lead a healthy and happier life...
  1. Live by your character values and strengths.
  2. Regulate and master your emotions.
  3. Have a positive outlook when faced with negative situations.
  4. Never compare yourself to others.
  5. Finally, make the most of what you have.

Piliavin, J. A. (2003). Doing well by doing good: Benefits for the benefactor. In M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well lived. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Thoits, P. A., & Hewitt, L. N. (2001). Volunteer work and well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42, 115–131.