Time for applied psychology to catch up?

Christopher Gallop responds to a letter from our March issue.

A line caught my eye in the March 2022 letter on Neurodiversity: ‘…applied psychology needs to catch up with medicine in including and valuing neurodiversity within teams’. The authors’ lived experience as neurodiverse psychologists in the workplace did seem particularly disappointing given the nature of the profession, but not only against a benchmark in medical employment.

Throughout current leadership and management theory, the idea of a preferred set of characteristics for an imagined ideal colleague has been firmly set aside in favour of an understanding of the value of diversity of cognition in the workplace. Indeed, the entire approach to building high-performing teams is actively to seek out people with divergent behaviours, ways of looking at the world, neurology, and of course different personal needs. This contrasts sharply with the assumptions behind the term ‘neurotypical’. Neither it nor its near-synonym ‘normal’ would be used in any of the workplaces I am involved with.

Perhaps applied psychology is indeed starting to fall behind the times?

- Christopher Gallop


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