A role model is someone who others look up to, who has qualities that others would like to have or demonstrates conduct that others want to emulate. As a psychologist I believe that I am a role model to my clients. How can I be asking a client to manage their pain differently and to be considering using lower dose medication and incorporating pacing activities if I am using only Panadeine Forte to manage headaches, refuse to reduce my stress or have my eyesight reviewed? If a client asked me if I did what I was asking him/her to do, I want to be able to answer Yes. Credentials do not give you credibility.
Role models are not only professionals. Footballers, actresses and singers are placed in positions of importance and idolisation by fans and Likers. I do not consider myself an idol for anyone. Nor do I have paparazzi following my every move or millions of followers (yet!). Young people especially girls are especially loyal to their media crush. One such media crush is One Direction. Recently Zayn and Louis were in the media for all the wrong reasons. Footage showed scenes and dialogue involving a joint.
Yes they are pop stars and yes pop stars of days gone by have smoked dope so really this is nothing too new and unexpected. The issue here is about credibility. Their market is the teen market predominantly and the age of their followers is that of minors who ideally should not know what a joint looks like. Ideally their parents are not smoking anything in their presence. Some of the fans have been shocked and appalled by their behaviour whereas others think that if Zayn and Louis can be part of the dope experience then why can’t they? If it is good enough for them, then why not us?
My advice to the management of One Direction is to admit that taking drugs is risky to people’s wellbeing and that they do not encourage anyone to start using marijuana. The potential of psychotic symptoms has always scared me. One Direction must realise that they are influential in young girls’ lives and that if they want to accept their role model status then they need to match image to behaviour otherwise their credibility will be questioned further as their young fans become older fans.
Yes I will be going to their Adelaide concert on 17/2/15. I invite Zayn and Louis to book a consultation with a credible role model with credentials.