One on one ...with George Sik

Consultant Psychologist at eras ltd

One book that you think all psychologists should read
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin by David Nobbs. If there was one book that made me fascinated by the psychology of the workplace (and not necessarily in a good way), that was the one.

One inspiration Professor Peter Saville did so much to popularise the use of assessment in the workplace and was always such an innovator.

One alternative career path you might have chosen
I very nearly became a BBC producer so I probably would have been sacked following the Hutton Inquiry.

One moment that changed the course of your career
Realising I was kidding myself about wanting to pursue clinical psychology, having worked on a number of summer jobs in psychiatric hospitals in Devon. It’s for braver people than me.

One great thing that psychology has achieved
I don’t think there is any programme on television now with the slightest level of human interest where psychology doesn’t crop up, either implicitly or explicitly. This was certainly not the case 30 years ago. I think that is a huge achievement.

One challenge you think psychology faces
In an era where so much misinformation, urban mythology and superstition abounds, we need to get the scientific message out there without sounding shrill.

One thing that you would change about psychology
Despite the efforts of a few of us, we still tend to take ourselves far too seriously. We can be rather a gloomy bunch.

One regret
When drinking with Paul Gascoigne, not realising how dependent on it he had become and not offering any help. Oh, and not making the book which Pat Nevin and I wrote (In Ma Head, Son) a bit funnier. I think we fell victim to taking ourselves a little seriously!

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Just follow your dreams. It’s such a rich discipline that you can study (and become an expert) on just about anything.

One problem that psychology should deal with
Communication, communication, communication. However good we get at it, we could still be much, much better.

One proud moment
My colleague Matt Goff and I did an episode of Channel 4’s Football Stories about penalty shoot-outs in 2001. Loads of my heroes took part. Even Sven did it – for no fee! They just wanted to talk about the subject.

One cultural recommendation
Channel 4’s Shameless. The characters are so psychologically rich and the comedy-drama so wonderfully integrated. Some say that if Shakespeare were writing today, he’d be doing EastEnders. I’m not sure, but I reckon Dickens would be writing for Shameless. Its creator, Paul Abbott, has a psychology degree naturally!

One hero from psychology
The late Professor Brian Foss at the late Bedford College, London – a warm, gentle champion of psychology in all its variations.

One thing that ‘organised psychology’ could do better
There’s way too much bureaucracy – but then, it’s only the bureaucrats who enjoy doing all the hard work!

One hope for the future
That we are consulted more on the serious issues facing the world, rather than just helping to make politicians look better.

One more thought
I still relish the fact that, in one survey, NASA astronauts put occupational psychologists as the thing they hated most, second only to rectal thermometers. A fine, humbling observation!

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