Working as an educational psychologist inevitably involves a lot of time in the car and in recent years I’ve become a bit of a podcast fan. My holiday this summer will involve a lot of driving and this seems a good opportunity to explore some psychology podcasts. So I’ve spend the last few weeks sampling some of the more popular psychology podcasts and I’m sharing that experience with you here. If you are new to podcasting I’ve included a link to a “how to” guide at the end of the blog. I’ve included links to websites linked to the podcasts and you can also find them all on iTunes.
There are many high quality podcasts available from the BBC. The podcast that most psychologists would be familiar with is probably All in the Mind. While often interesting, I sometimes find that this is often a little medical for my taste as it covers topics related to both psychology and psychiatry.
If you are interested in sociological themes you might enjoy Thinking Allowed. This long established magazine programme takes two recently published sociological studies and discusses them with experts in the field. Topics covered include wider social issues such as class, ‘race’ and gender.
There are BBC programmes that have broader themes that sometimes touch upon psychological issues. The Infinite Monkey Cage has very good episodes on The Mind v Brain, the Battle of the Sexes and What is Race?
Psychologists Off the Clock
The format of this podcast is usually a discussion between the two hosts on a psychological topic. The hosts are two clinical psychologists, Diana Hill and Debbie Sorensen, who specialise in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The content is a good mix of psychological research and how it can be applied to everyday life. Topics include resilience, post traumatic growth and children’s emotions. It takes a positive approach to topics. Of all the new podcasts that I listened to, this is the one that I enjoyed the most.
This is an American radio show that looks at “the unseeable forces that control human behaviour and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions”. Hosted by two journalists Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, it’s the most professionally produced of the podcasts on this list. This is reflected in the quality of the recording and the range of guests. It covers a range of topics and takes a story telling approach. So you might enjoy it if you enjoy hearing about people’s experiences and life stories.
Psychology in Seattle
This podcast is hosted by Dr Kirk Honda who is a psychotherapist and teaches on the Couples and Family therapy course at Seattle University. The format is a conversation usually between the host and his friend Humberto. The content is quite eclectic. There are posts about various aspects of psychotherapy and you might like these if you are interested in family therapy. Others are related to popular culture, for example “The Psychology of Severus Snape”. Though for me these are psychology light. A highlight for me was an interview with Irvin Yalom (and if you haven’t read Love’s Executioner and other tales of psychotherapy I would recommend this highly for your summer reading list).
Warning: the podcast has a laid back style but there is occasional swearing, should you be listening with children around.
The Psychology Podcast
Presented by Dr Scott Barry Kaufman, this podcast features a series of interviews about various topics in psychology. He has an eclectic range of guests including academics, journalists and therapists. The episodes that I enjoyed were interviews with Elliot Aronson and Roy Baumeister. For me, this is a podcast to dip into for topics that interest me.
Shrink Rap Radio
This is a long running podcast with over 600 episodes. It is hosted by “Dr. Dave” who is David Van Nuys, Ph.D. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Sonoma State University. It is a series of interviews with experts mainly from the broader therapeutic world of psychology. I found this podcast difficult to listen to but it may be that I was suffering from podcast fatigue by the time I got to it. It may appeal to people who are interested in psychodynamic approaches as it features episodes on the work of psychologists such as Winnicott.
The Psych Files
This is another long running podcast with over 300 episodes. It is hosted by Michael A. Britt, Ph.D who was Assistant Professor of Psychology at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Unlike most of the other podcasts in this list the format is usually the host talking about a piece of research. This can seem a little dry compared to podcasts where there are two people having a conversation. One of the things that I like about it is that the range of topics covered is very broad, possibly because the host’s academic background is not based within therapeutic practice.
This podcast is produced the British Psychological Society’s fantastic Research Digest (a blog that is well worth checking out) and presented by Dr Christian Jarrett and Ginny Smith. The episodes are short, often less than 10 minutes, so it’s one perhaps for when you are washing- up rather than going on a long car journey. It isn’t produced regularly which is a bit of a shame. It would be good to have more episodes and perhaps even a slightly longer format.
You can find a guide to using podcasts here
Julia is one of the the course tutors in the training course for educational psychologists at the University of Birmingham.
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