Archive for May 2010

Statement of the PAP on the (Mis)Use of Psychology in the Current Electoral Campaign

May 1, 2010

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)* considers some recent occurrences in the current electoral campaigns as an affront to psychologists and to psychology as a discipline and profession. In particular, partisan individuals and media practitioners have not only presented to the public fraudulent psychological reports, but have also made inaccurate statements about different aspects of the practice of psychology and the nature of psychological functioning. These irresponsible actuations have dangerous long-term effects on efforts of Filipino psychologists and other mental health professionals to address the psychological well-being of Filipinos. In this regard, the PAP would like to respond to and clarify some of the issues raised as a result of these political events.

First, the PAP denounces the release of the results of psychological tests or assessment to media and the public at large. In accordance with the PAP Code of Ethics, the results of psychological tests or assessment cannot be released to the media or the public or to any person other than the client. Any reputable individual psychologist or psychological organization ensures the practice of confidentiality and that the results of psychological tests or assessment are only shared with the client. Psychologists take reasonable steps to ensure that information to be disclosed will not be misused, misunderstood or misinterpreted to infringe on human rights, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Second, the PAP denounces the suggestions made by politicians, media practitioners, and others to force political candidates to take psychological tests or assessment. In accordance with the PAP Code of Ethics, individuals cannot be subjected to psychological tests or assessment without their informed consent. Any reputable individual psychologist or psychological organization ensures that informed consent is acquired from the client before conducting psychological tests.

Third, the PAP denounces the insinuation that people who see a psychologist or any mental health professional is “abnormal” or “permanently debilitated”. The PAP condemns the insinuation that depression is a permanent disability; and the use of words like “abnoy” , ‘sira ang ulo’and “may diperensiya sa utak” to label individuals. These irresponsible statements and similar acts perpetuate a profound lack of understanding of psychological concepts, of the nature of psychological problems and dysfunctions, and of the nature of psychological health and wellbeing.

The PAP would like to stress to politicians, to media practitioners, and to the public at large that seeing a psychologist or any mental health professional does not make a person “abnormal”. Seeing a psychologist means ensuring our mental health and psychological wellbeing.

Board of Directors
Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)
1 May 2010

*Note: The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), a professional organization of psychologists founded in 1962, is committed to the promotion of excellence in the teaching, research, and practice of psychology. It is a non-stock, non-profit corporation whose national membership includes teachers, researchers, and practitioners of psychology. Its members adhere to the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists which recognizes that “ethics is at the core of every discipline”.


Reflection on being a Visiting Researcher

May 1, 2010

by Gina Hechanova

This year, I was fortunate to have received the Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship. Sponsored by the Nippon Foundation, it allowed me to serve as visiting researcher in Indonesia and Thailand to do a cross-cultural study on the impact of globalization and transformation in local Asian organizations. As part of my fellowship, I worked with other faculty members from the University of Indonesia and the Assumption University, Thailand. I also found myself delivering lectures to graduate students.
The experience has been life changing. The first challenge I had to overcome was homesickness – it was my first time to be away from my family for this long and there were times when all I wanted to do was pack my bags and go home.

Then there were the misadventures of traveling to non-English countries – mixing up currencies, getting lost, not being understood and having to resort to miming, ordering food and getting something unexpected, feeling alone in a crowd because you can’t understand what they are saying and stumbling over foreign phrases and intonations (note to self: the words for ‘excuse me’ and ‘I farted’ are the same in Thai – the difference is how you pronounce it 🙂 )

Yet there was also the exhilaration of seeing new places, tasting new flavors, discovering new things, making new friends, and simply the satisfaction of knowing I can survive. There was also the experience of meeting other FIlipino OFWs. Or just seeing them during Sunday mass – even if I don’t know who they are, there is a sense of community that brings comfort beyond words.

Then there is the solitude. Stretches of time to write, to read, to research, to reflect, or simply just be. I tried to revel and not be daunted by the silence knowing that when it was over, my life would return to its breakneck pace and I would not have this luxury again.

Gina Hechanova

In these pockets of solitude, I’ve discovered strengths I never knew I had. I also unearthed vulnerabilities I didn’t know were there. Just when you think you’ve grown up – experiences like these stretch and shape you. Entering new worlds make you realize there are other ways of doing and being. It makes you question your assumptions and perspectives. And although I do see the differences in language, customs, and religions, I was continually amazed at the similarities in histories and cultures. More than this, I’ve realized that at the personal level, – there are many things that are still shared across the planet. The human frailties. The search to be relevant. The desire to love and be loved.

So despite the difficulties, I am glad I did this. Beyond the work I set out to do, I feel I’ve grown as a person. And perhaps even more important than what I have learned professionally, is experiencing the joy of finding people you can connect with despite the barriers.