By Timon Kaple
Are you a current psychology student or professional in the field who wants to further explore psychology's reach into popular culture and outside areas of study? Podcasts offer one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to learn more about the latest work of psychologists and scholars in related fields.
We compiled this list based on the recommendations of several experts in psychology. No matter which aspect of psychology interests you, podcasts can expand your knowledge and help you locate new topics for exploration.
Podcast Recommendations for Psychology Students
"Therapy for Black Girls" is a weekend podcast developed by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. This insightful program provides expert advice and explorations of mental health, self-care, and personal development. Dr. Harden Bradford offers practical and actionable strategies and tips using psychological research and pop culture references for diverse populations, especially Black women.
Recent episodes explore processing our collective grief, parenting in a pandemic, and managing loneliness. "Given that a huge component of being an effective therapist is knowing ourselves, this podcast gives great insight," says Elizabeth Irias, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California.
"Light Up the Couch" is a continuing education podcast by the Clearly Clinical company. Irias writes that the program features "fast-paced interviews with national experts on a wide range of psychology topics, from progress notes to racial awareness to dialectical behavior therapy." All "Light Up the Couch" episodes come from a nationally approved continuing education program that can help satisfy clinical professionals' required education credits.
Users can access many of the episodes for free. Subscribers can also obtain unlimited access to all of the podcast's continuing education courses for $60.
"Landmark Recovery Radio" is a podcast and radio show focused on addiction treatment and recovery. Episodes strive to debunk common myths surrounding addiction issues by incorporating interviews with mental health experts, rehab facility administrators, and individuals in recovery. Landmark also helps listeners understand the factors that affect one's susceptibility to addiction, including personal environments, genetics, and difficult life experiences.
The podcast also covers addition from a historical perspective and how substances and addictions affect communities over time. "This podcast is helpful for both laypeople and clinicians to listen to, as it offers an insider perspective into what addiction and addiction recovery really look like," Irias writes.
Elizabeth Polinsky, a licensed clinical social worker and military marriage counselor, recommends the "Foreplay Radio" podcast. Hosted by Laurie Watson and George Faller, episodes focus on couples and sex therapy. Watson and Faller develop content that helps students, individuals, and couples understand intimacy, emotional and physical connections, sexual health complications, and partnership dynamics.
"Even students in marriage and family therapy graduate programs often get limited information about sexuality, making this podcast great for clinicians and students wanting to learn how to work with couples and their sexual concerns," Polinsky says.
"The Practice of the Practice," hosted by Joe Sanok, helps students in counseling and therapy professions understand how to create their own private practices. The podcast's episodes cover financial, social, and cultural challenges and concerns that many professionals face during these entrepreneurial endeavors. Listeners learn about basic and advanced concepts, including details regarding solo and group practices, insurance-based and private pay formats, and effective marketing strategies.
Polinsky recommends this podcast. "The business side of psychotherapy is not often talked about in graduate programs, and this podcast is the best source for beginning therapists to learn about private practice so they can determine if it is the right career move for them."
Polinsky also recommends "We Heart Therapy" with host Anabelle Bugatti. Bugatti, a licensed marriage and family therapist, spends episodes discussing emotionally focused therapy practices for individuals and families. Additional topics include navigating relationships, improving the quality of one's life, and pursuing the many types of therapy available to people with virtually any kind of mental or physical health concern or ailment.
Bugatti is also an emotionally focused therapy trainer -- a long-standing area of psychotherapy for couples. With this in mind, Polinsky suggests that the "We Heart Therapy" podcast is "great for students and early career clinicians who want to learn more about working with couples."
Laura Reagan, an integrative trauma psychotherapist and clinical supervisor, hosts "Therapy Cat," a podcast focused on understanding human emotions and well-being. Reagan specializes in types of trauma related to family of origin issues and tailors this podcast for audience members inside and outside the therapy field. The podcast also covers popular therapy topics, including mindfulness, self-care, self-compassion, parenting, and perfectionism.
Aaron Simmons, a medical student and founder of Test Prep Genie, argues that "Therapy Cat" offers "interesting discussions about the emotional experience of being human," through interviews with experts and stories from Reagan's work in counseling and psychology.
"The Psych Files" offers insight into everyday life and human activity through psychological studies and principles. It is also one of the longest-running podcasts, dating back to 2007. Michael Britt, the host and doctor of philosophy in psychology, helps listeners explore the world of psychology as it applies to popular culture, humor, crime, and modern technology.
Britt develops the episodes with the layperson in mind, but Simmons argues that "students taking a course in psychology, those majoring in psychology, and instructors of psychology will find this podcast particularly interesting."
David Grammer, a licensed therapist with a master's degree in clinical psychology, recommends "The Happiness Lab" with Dr. Laurie Santos. This podcast focuses on debunking myths about happiness using scientific research and case studies. Dr. Santos teaches popular psychology courses at Yale University and offers inspiring explorations and stories about the pursuit of happiness for psychology students and beyond.
Grammer suggests that Dr. Santos' experience as a teacher helps make this podcast useful and "related to current students." The podcast also relates its psychology-focused content to current events and popular culture, including episodes about racial justice, the Coronavirus pandemic, and superhero movies.
Shankar Vedantam hosts "The Hidden Brain" podcast on NPR. The content presented in these episodes connects research findings from scientists and scholars in psychology with experts in several fields, including anthropology, economics, and sociology. "The Hidden Brain" provides listeners with insight into how human behavioral patterns and choices relate to unconscious patterns in the mind.
Grammer argues that, while the podcast is not strictly about psychology itself, the episodes contain "psychological themes" focused on daily life and may help students "to utilize their knowledge in a number of different ways" when they enter the workforce.