What is Psychology as a Career?
Planning to pursue a career in psychology? One of the most common questions that students planning a career in this field always ask is what psychology is all about. Psychology is one of the most common career majors in many universities and colleges and it is also one of the most misunderstood.
In the simplest form, psychology can be defined as the study of both the mind and human behavior. Psychologists use a variety of methods or techniques in order to try and explain human thought, motivations, emotions as well as behavior. It is widely applied in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions but that is just one aspect of its application in our daily lives. Psychology is also generally applied to help people enhance their performance, in self-help sessions, in motivational sessions, ergonomics and many other areas in our daily lives.
Because the human mind, behavior, emotions, motivations and actions is quite broad and diverse, psychology, which attempts to study these areas, is similarly a very broad field but it generally encompasses the following areas:-
Because of this diversity in the field of psychology itself, there is a diverse range of careers where psychology can be applied to solve a variety of human and social problems. It is generally applied in politics, business, sports, the workplace, criminal investigations, policing, military training, computing, on kids and many others in order to achieve certain desired positive outcomes. In a way, every form of human endeavor will require a psychologist because they specialize in the human mind and emotions.
Evolution of Psychology
The modern psychology as we know it evolved from the late 19th century and was only fully developed in the 20th century through the contributions of such famous thinkers and psychologists such as Sigmund Freud. Today psychology is a separate science that is studied in its own right.
Schools of Thought in Psychology
The development of psychology has been an ongoing process and over the time, several schools of thought emerged to explain human behavior as well as motivations and emotions. Every school of thought generally has a period of dominance before it is superseded by another school of thought. In some instances, two or more schools of thought may view for space and compete for dominance. Some of the main schools of thought when it comes to psychology include the following:-
Modern Psychological Studies
The modern psychological study is more empirical and relies on the objective scientific methods in order to study, understand as well as predict human behavior. The study of psychology in the modern environment is highly structured. This generally begins with the formulation of hypotheses which is then subjected to tests through empirical methods.
There are two main areas of focus when it comes to the study of modern psychology. These include the following:-
- Applied psychology
- Academic psychology
While academic psychology studies several subtopics within psychology in order to improve on our knowledge base, applied psychology is mainly concerned with applying the principles of psychology in solving the real world problems.
Areas of Psychology
There are several specialty areas when it comes to the study of psychology. These include the following:-
- Abnormal psychology
- Biological psychology
- Comparative Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Development Psychology
- School Psychology
- Personal Psychology
With such diverse fields, you are likely to find a niche in psychology where you can comfortably apply yourself to solve the problems of human mind and behavior.