Evolutionary Psychology (EP) is a more recent discipline within the field of Psychology and investigates how the processes of evolution form our being. Understandably, this will cover a huge range and can span from understanding the complexity of human mating to analysing individual tendencies, such as the need for humans to compare or why people have the motivation to do anything. This can be achieved through a menu of research methods such as the comparative analysis of animal behaviour or by running experiments with participants (mostly university students). EP is relatively unique in that it does not only explain the what but also attempts to elucidate the why behind a relevant human tendency, behaviour or trait.
An often cited field with EP is human sexuality. A common finding within that field are mate preferences for men and women and how and why these differ from each other. Men for example are more likely to select for attributes such as attractiveness and youth, whilst women are more likely to select for attributes such as earning potential or confidence (source). In contrast, disciplines within Psychology that believe experience and the environment to be responsible for forming human nature, can sometimes argue that most personality traits and related aspects are not inherent and therefore fall outside of the remit of evolutionary processes. The study cited above shows how this argument can’t hold up to much scrutiny, as human phenomena such as mate selection are examined cross culturally. It would be unrealistic to expect coincidence to be responsible for similar mate selection strategies within a tribe in the amazon rainforest and Sweden. Some even define the processes of evolution as non existent and theories of evolutionary psychology as harmful to minorities. However, attributing moral misfortune towards a method of investigating reality indicates a politically motivated criticism outside of the boundaries of rational analysis.
If a therapist London can create a link between a client’s tendencies and how these relate to evolutionary pressures, a client will often be able to take an observer perspective and make it less likely that they become defensive when certain aspects of their being are pointed out. It can also decrease shame in a client, if they for example understand that their people pleasing behaviour stems from a need to submit (when they perceive others to be more powerful than them). Therapy provided by a counsellor or psychologist in London that is informed by evolutionary psychology has the additional benefit of not being overly focused on how their childhood may be solely responsible for whom they have become. Therapies that over-focus on experience often create hypothesis that can’t be tested and falsified. A psychologist who tells their client that their anxiety stems from a certain behaviour her mother presented with, will never be able to know this for sure and can potentially create circumstances in which family structures are unnecessarily damaged.
Finding a psychotherapist in London with knowledge of evolutionary psychology is hard to find. Most mental health counsellors are not aware of EP and if they are, often have a very simplistic understanding of it.
At seekapsych we are experts in the field of mental health and can help you find a suitable therapist near you.