Tutor profile: Preetha S.
How do I write a thesis statement that is specific but still general?
When asked to write a thesis statement, think of it like this: You are making an argument or a claim at a larger scale based on a theme/pattern you have noticed from many small events or examples. For example, if I notice that my cat only follows me around the house and no one else in my family, that is a theme (a pattern!). From this, we know that: my cat only follows me around, no one else (this is a small even, an example). An argument we could make from this is that my cat likes me the most in my family. However, this is too specific for a thesis statement---thesis statements need to be general enough to apply to multiple situations! It cannot only be based in one situation (or, it usually cannot be). We could also argue that animals follow around some people, but not others. However, this is not really an argument; it is more-so an observation and thus too broad. Further, by saying "animals" we lose specificity---it is no longer based in the evidence of my cat. A happy medium would be this: Cats do not form close bonds with many; they are selective in whom they trust, and when that trust is there they are devoted to their person. This example is based in specific evidence (my cat following only me around), but it is still broad enough that others can relate to it, too. Further, we are not focusing on the evidence itself (cats following people around), but instead on what that means. It is by uncovering meaning that a thesis statement become strong---it is based in specific events, but takes from those events a general (yet creative!) meaning.
Which branch of psychology is the best for becoming a therapist?
In truth, there is no branch that is technically any better than the others; each field within psychology is varied in its approaches to helping others. Ultimately, it comes down to the client-therapist relationship---certain therapists work better for certain clients, depending, in part, on what psychological background they come from. For example, CBT and Humanistic approaches in psychology are both fairly common practices in the world of psychology. CBT (or, cognitive-behavioral-therapy) deals with the thoughts and beliefs one has and how those thoughts/beliefs impact one's behavior. For example, if one believes they are not good at school, they may not study because they see no point. A CBT specialist would address that underlying belief, and challenge the client to come to a new understanding of themselves---they challenge underlying beliefs in order to output a new behavior. A humanistic approach is less focused on exact thoughts and behaviors, but more on the general experience of being-alive that one has. For instance, instead of focusing on the behavior of not studying, a therapist in this orientation may ask how one experiences their time in school, and what does that experience mean? In finding this meaning, the therapist will help the client try to come to a deeper/more whole understanding of how they view themselves and the world around them. All therapists, regardless of orientation/branch, then, are concerned with one thing: helping their clients grow in some regard. How they go about helping their clients may vary, but no one method is wholly better than any other. Nowadays, most therapists are eclectic, meaning that they gather theory and approaches from multiple branches of psychology!
Why does the study of literature matter?
While all fields of study are important in their own regard, it is through the humanities that individuals can more deeply understand the meaning of their lives. Literature is perhaps the best window into gaining this understanding; stories portray the lives of fictional beings (written by real beings) who grapple with being alive. There are various levels to this; firstly, from the fictional characters themselves, readers can learn things about the world, life, themselves, etc.; secondly, each piece of literature is fitted in some historical, contemporary, and/or cultural context---the study of literature helps us better understand, then, the world in which the literature is/was conceived; lastly, there is much to learn from the symbolic significance in literature, in that it is through these symbols, often, that meaning is attained, and so it is in life itself. We are surrounded by metaphors and by life-events which are steeped in meaning. Literature helps us understand this fact, and can help guide us to make the most use of the meaning in our lives as we can.