The background influences for our “Clinical Camp” are manifold. First is the idea that the concepts in clinical psychology should not be a mystery. For most of us, when we think about psychology, or wonder why someone does something – we are thinking about the realm of clinical psychology.
Additionally, most introductory psychology courses are not taught by practicing clinicians. Instead, often times, introductory psychology courses are limited to excerpts of theory – often taken out of context – or only vaguely understood (sometimes even by the instructor!). Students are then told to memorize these concepts, often without understanding how they work (or don’t work!) at a deeper level, and how they apply to real-world relationships.
For many people, it is only in graduate school when they get to understand psychological concepts in a way that makes sense. Many graduate programs offer smaller class sizes (8 to 20 students). This is an excellent way to learn – to be able to ask questions and to be able to pursue concepts and perhaps their cultural or historical underpinnings – at a deeper level.
Actually, Freud himself wanted clinical psychology to be accessible to the public. His belief was that these are not difficult concepts, and they help us to develop our ideas about our inner world (or even to acknowledge that we have an inner world!). (Fun fact: Freud termed the id, the ego and the superego as the “it”, the “me” and the “over-me.” We can all relate to the part that feels like me, the thing that seems to be looming over me and that thing – the “it” – we wish was somewhere else!).