Dr. Joseph Taliercio, CBC’s research coordinator, published an op-ed in the Behavior Therapist (Vol. 46, No. 5) on the failures in communicating about mental health science to a general audience. He reflects on the public view of mental health, treatments and science, and offers suggestions on how to improve as a mental health field.
He says that barriers to communication in the mental health field stem from general public distrust in research, the perception of therapy as a weakness and widespread negative PR.
“Mental healthcare providers are often portrayed as unreliable, untrustworthy, or even evil” he says, explaining that despite openness about past wrongs in the field, they have not been effectively relayed to the public.
To fix the issue, CBC clinician and Research Coordinator Dr. Taliercio proposes three methods to foster public perception of mental health: to utilize popular media, to reduce use of scientific jargon and to be more vocal about prior mistakes in the field while noting the advancements and benefits.
He urges mental health scientists to implement these solutions not just in external communication with the public but also within the scientific field.
“We are advocates, practitioners and scientists united by our appreciation for evidence-based practices. Who better to correct our public image than those of us who are devoted to expanding its related knowledge and value?”
In improving communication, Dr. Taliercio says, researchers and scientists can gain trust in the field.
The Behavior Scientist is an Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) publication that aims to provide a rapid dissemination of news, recent advances, and innovative applications in behavior therapy. Several CBC clinicians are ABCT members, and CBC recently hosted an event at the 2022 conference to liaison with other CBT clinicians and expand services.
Taliercio, J. (2023). Systematic errors in communication: our failure as mental health providers to reach the general public. The Behavioral Therapist, 46(6), 199-202.