When it comes to the mental health of others, don’t be an armchair psychologist
Second-year Bonnie Devlin and third-year Ayden Herman have banded together to create the Armchair Psychologists Association on campus. The association gives advice and mediates relationships for free. Together, Devlin and Herman have one and a half classes worth of psychology experience, in addition to the one crash course video Herman watched on YouTube.
“My psychology professor told me it was a terrible idea to give out therapy without a license … and less than half of a psychology class taken,” Devlin said. “What does he know? I’m going to give people advice based on what I know, and that is something you can’t learn from any class.”
When Devlin noticed that the relationship between housemates Yasmin Nolan and Cara Lee turned sour, she decided to step in.
“First of all, honesty is really important in opening the lines of communication, so I’d like you to rate each as housemates with brutal honesty,” Devlin said. Noticing the hesitant reactions of her clients, Devlin gestures to Herman. “For example, as co-founder of our association I rate Ayden a two, because his inability to help himself makes him overproject while helping others.”
Herman swivels in his armchair to face Devlin.
“And I would also rate Bonnie a two, because I think she’s deflecting because of her failed midterm in psychology and general fear of failure into a pursuit her psychology professor told her was terrible,” Herman said. “According to the YouTube video I watched, I think your position as the middle child in your family has solidified a constant need of approval.”
“Well, I sense that your aggression and the way you cling onto the fact that you know more than me is really telling of a God Complex,” Devlin said, with a sympathetic smile. “I’m not saying you’re a narcissist, but if I had to make a diagnosis …”
Standing up from his armchair, Herman flips Devlin off before leaving the room, amid a stunned Nolan and Lee.
“That is why honesty is so important,” Devlin said, eyes wide and nodding. “If we never rated each other honestly, I would still be partners with a narcissist.”
“Okay, well I guess I would rate Yasmin an eight,” Lee said. “She is such a great housemate, but lately she’s become so withdrawn and I can’t help her if I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“The truth is that my mental health has been struggling lately due to the pandemic,” Nolan said. “I read in the Washington Post that pandemic depression may also collide with seasonal depression. I’m afraid my mental health will worsen, and I don’t know what to do.”
“Thank you for confiding in me,” Nolan said. “I’ll do whatever I can to support you. Maybe we can start by setting up an appointment with a therapist?”
“I don’t know, I disagree with the experts. I think the ‘depressions’,” Devlin said in air quotes, “will eventually cancel out.”
With a shrug, Devlin stands up from her armchair. “Do you guys think you could sign this form so I can show my psych professor that my help as an armchair psychologist was helpful?”
Written By: Renee Wang –– firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article is humor and/or satire, and it’s content is purely fictional. The story and or names of “sources” are fictionalized.)