- Rachel Hendricks
Updated: Aug 7, 2021
My mother has worked as a science teacher my entire life. Sometimes she has taught chemistry; others times it was life science or earth science or environmental science or biology. She has taught science in middle school and high school. You could say she is a pretty big fan of science. Sometimes I even send her science jokes (and we both science-nerd out together).
(Example 1 of such a joke, and it still makes me laugh….)
(Example 2; also, hilarious!)
I bring this up because, often in appointments, I try to reference science as a reason for various interventions- or, just as likely, as a reason why not. In some sessions, it’s a running joke that I will try to find some scientific way to validate what is being shared.
The reason I belabor the point in sessions (and out) is because science is a powerful tool we can use to help us make better choices and to understand why some things happen the way they do. In a world where so many things are uncertain- and where things that used to be considered certain are now being called into question- it is important to have a standard, a measure, a specific, concrete reference point to be able to identify as the reasoning behind a recommendation.
Occasionally, I have clients point out to me that science is not infallible. And, to be honest, that is what makes science so great! Science is based on the premise that we do not know all things; however, we can form hypotheses about things, and through a structured intervention, we can test those hypotheses and learn whether or not our hypothesis was accurate.
Both the testing and the structure of the testing are important. We cannot assume certain things to be true simply because they seem to be so.
For example, they used to think that smells were what made people sick. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson is a wonderful non-fiction account of how pervasive this belief was and how it was disproved in a cholera epidemic that impacted a portion of London in 1854.
(10 out of 10, highly recommend)
Understanding that it was not the smell that caused people to be sick then pushed scientists to figure out what was causing people to get sick, and as science progressed, things such as bacteria and viruses were identified as the reasons. As a result of understanding bacteria, anti-biotics were created- saving millions of lives. As anti-biotics have continued to be researched, we have come to understand that they don’t work exactly how we thought they work, and bacteria are not always all good or all bad, and sometimes we just need to let our bodies do their thing. This whole process of knowledge being refined and better understood is the process of science.
Science is important! And, yes, science changes, but it does not change arbitrarily- which I think is what is implied when people say science changes. It is still true that we do not know all of the things, but we do know some of the things, and what we know, we are continuing to research and understand which then leads to knowing more.
Again, this process is important. It underlies the psychotherapeutic model at Honeybee because we only use evidence-based interventions. Evidence-based means these interventions have been researched. They have been tested. They have been compared to other interventions. And, they have been shown to be successful.
That does not mean no other interventions work. It does not mean that we sit at the pinnacle of knowledge, and there will never be any changes. It simply means that through the scientific process, we have established a way of addressing things that we know is helpful. This is important because while smells can sometimes be an indicator something is wrong (i.e. rotten meat), it is not the smell that is the problem. We would not know that without science, and if you came to me, and I thought you were sick because of a smell, and my recommendation was Febreze, you would not get well- at least not as a result of Febreze.
Science matters. Evidence-based interventions matter. That is why we at Honeybee will only be using them, and when we get new science or better science, then we will change.
(My mom and I at the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC circa 2013; also, DNA- we are basically twins separated by a couple of decades [so, still science])