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What is POP Psychology?

Hannah Omarjee | omarjeehannah9@gmail.com
17 February 2023 | 17:00 PM CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: Facebook

Besides breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, magazines, newspapers, and social media have become a breeding ground for what is called ‘Pop Psychology’. Umme Muhammad, the founder of Millennial Muslimah, who is passionate about mental health and has a particular interest in Islamic Psychology, a field in which she studied and completed advanced levels and practical training, describes ‘Pop Psychology’ as something that is a simplified version of the ‘human potential movement’.

Umme Muhammad says: “Pop Psychology is basically what you see on social media with these pretty pastel-coloured posts about over-promoting positivity, oversimplifying issues that are regarded as mental health issues.” POP Psychology posts on social media often promote messages that may not be in keeping with the teachings of psychology and real medical health.

These posts are not considered psychological concepts; instead, they are popular catchphrases in motivation and self-help that have now transcended into psychology, causing people to adopt these beliefs as part of what is considered ‘normal’ psychological growth.

Umme Muhammad says, “A big part of our reality is shaped by what we see on social media. If you are in the public domain, you know how social media has impacted people’s lives negatively and positively as well.” Social media provides information overload, and not every person will sift through what is scientifically sound and what is not; that is the danger of blindly believing.

Pop psychology posts are designed to appeal to the eye, attract you, and keep you coming back for more until you find yourself very confused. POP psychology can severely affect people with underlying mental health issues or impressionable young people still discovering themselves.

Pop psychology is being adopted and promoted by people who position themselves as mental health advocates. Umme Muhammad believes that it is irresponsible for a person to advertise themselves as a life coach only to promote concepts that are not psychologically sound. It is both unethical and illegal for life coaches to treat people for mental health issues.

To safeguard oneself from the harms of POP psychology, Umme Muhammad says, ” I know people are shy to ask for people’s qualifications, but really now that’s what we have to do. Do some research on the person you are going to” She also advised to look at the type of information they are sharing; if they’re sharing things like terminology and catchphrases, it is not something you would want to follow if you have mental health issues. Researching these important issues saves you from misinformation and suffering in the long run.

Listen to the full interview on Sabahul Muslim with Ml Sulaimaan Ravat.


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