Yikes. I'm a pretty confident person, but I definitely don't like being torn apart. A recent review of my Psychology Today article, "How to Decipher Your Date," was posted at the website for Science of Relationships. The review was outright dismissive that my statements held no value because they were not research-based. One of my points in response: A lot of these relationship dynamics are too difficult to study in a true experiment, so anecdotal data from clinical work is relevant and even necessary.
Overall, I found the review to be more provocative than helpful, at least as far as the reading audience is concerned. People have a hard time with relationships, and all of my messages are empowerment-based. How could any researcher have such a problem with that? How could telling readers to move on if they feel like they're getting brushed off be harmful? I just don't see it. My article wasn't The Secret, yo. Now, with that book and associated merch, criticism was justified in that it offered a supposed basis in quantum physics but betrayed any real science by suggesting positive thoughts can bring you gold jewelry. I don't know about that, but I know that pop psychology has its roots in psychology - and that pop psychology undoubtedly has value.
Anyhow, I'm trying to tease out value in the review of my article and I believe that there is a valid question in the mix: What are the benefits and dangers of both research-based psychology and pop psychology as distinct entities? Moreover, what is the purpose for each? These questions would provide the basis for a good article for that reviewer to write next time. Such a focus would be much more productive and that would get to the reviewer's ultimate point across more effectively.
Here's the link to my original article which focused on the signs that a new date is brushing you off (so heady, I know!): http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201403/how-decipher-your-date.
Here's a link to the review in Science of Relationships: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201403/how-decipher-your-date.
Below I have included my email response to Dylan Selterman, reviewer.
I read your review of my article on Psychology Today, with it's inclusion as a "fail" and an example of bad science.
Honestly, I think your review is cattiness masked as intellectualism, or as you would not-so-modestly probably put it, "good science." Child, please.
In my wish to focus on how my article impacts the reading audience, I can confirm that I drew from about 15 years of clinical experience (working with people and their relationships) as I outlined the generalizations, and my academic work and trainings over the years formed the backdrop. As an aside, I'm curious as you explained relationship dynamics in your response article, how many years of clinical work have you engaged in?
Yet rather than take sides or to try to assume which position is better - because psychology is simply not a natural science, at least with our current understanding - I see value in research-based academia and pop psychology valuing each other and communicating in a way that spreads the word to the audience most effectively. In many of my articles, I cite various studies and am well aware of the value in that. But let's keep it real: A lot of relationship dynamics are awfully challenging to study or measure, which makes anecdotal data relevant and even necessary.
At the end of the day, I will always stand by the ultimate goal that drives me: to show people how to feel better about themselves and to go get in this life what it is that they most want.
I will publish a link to your article as well as my response on my blog; perhaps this will somehow help the readers for whom you profess such concern? Oops, there I went, stooping to a low level and colluding with the us vs. them mentality between academia and pop psychology that we've been stuck in for too long. Can't we all just get along? In fact, I'll propose a deal: If you value a pop psychologist's work, I'll continue to value a researcher's work.
Seth Meyers, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist