To begin with, psychologists often work as health care providers, who carry out assessments of people’s behaviour, well-being and cognitive functions. Educational psychologists work to help children and teenagers who have learning difficulties and they also help those who are involved in educating children by explaining how children remember, think and process their thoughts and so on. They can make assessments so that teachers can try out different ways of helping their students. This work can benefit children who are highly intelligent as well as those who are slow to learn.
Psychologists work with communities, various organisations and as well as diagnosing and treating people, they also study how we actually relate to each other and they are also engaged in teaching psychologists of the future. They do all these things as well as doing intelligence and personality testing.
Some psychologists work with the police, for example, forensic psychologists and criminal psychologists.
Forensic psychologists deal with legal matters. They work in the legal system, in academia, the private sector and the public sector. They deal with various legal matters, including, but not limited to: -
- assessing a prisoner’s mental health and advising whether or not a person is fit to stand trial.
- child custody cases and family law
- risk assessments of potentially violent people
- personal injury cases (civil law)
- selection of jurors
- explaining to a jury the intricacies of scholarly topics such as memory research (social science research)
- they can arbitrate to resolve disputes and mediate
Forensic psychologist might work on child abuse cases, or on threat assessment, which is a new field that is just emerging. In this field, a forensic psychologist tries to predict which people might commit an act of violence.
This is valuable work which can truly benefit society.
Thanks to TV series and films, there is a growing interest in both forensic and criminal psychology. A criminal psychologist is interested in studying and analysing why some people commit crimes. Sometimes they are asked to assess a criminal and give an opinion about whether he or she is likely to reoffend. Often a criminal psychologist is required to be an expert witness in a court case.
If you have watched TV programmes about criminal psychologists, you will know that they engage in criminal profiling. This can help the police catch a criminal as the psychologist can give a fairly accurate picture of the type of person the police should be looking for. The idea behind criminal profiling began during the Second World War, and the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI) regularly use criminal profiling to help law enforces to apprehend criminals.
Criminal psychologists can assess a criminal that has been detained in police custody in order to provide the police with a psychological assessment that may be used, if required, in the process of interviewing a suspect. They can give suggestions for the appropriate interview techniques and also suggest interview strategies.
Other jobs for criminal psychologists include work online, perhaps studying internet predators or helping police to investigate internet fraud.
Other branches of psychology include: -
- Brain science and cognitive psychology
- Counselling psychology
- Climate and environmental psychology
- Experimental psychology
- Developmental psychology
- Health psychology
- Industrial and organizational psychology
- Human factors and engineering psychology
- The psychology of teaching and learning
- Quantitative psychology
- Social psychology
- Rehabilitation psychology and
- Sport and performance psychology
Brain science and cognitive psychology is a very popular area of psychology and in demand in all areas of industry, education and other fields. Everyone is interested in finding out how the brain works. Brain and cognitive psychologists have been trying to understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease and speech impediments, as well as the loss of memory (amnesia, for example) and difficulties with perception.
Such psychologists are also interested in attempting to understand how we learn languages as well as how we can create and understand it. Another area of interest for them is the connection between our emotions and our cognition.
Counselling psychology is almost the same as psychotherapy. Counselling psychologists investigate how such diverse factors, such as age, gender, race and sexual orientation affect our psychological well-being. Of course, they teach and perform scientific research s well as acting as counsellors.
Climate and environmental psychology is not, as you might think, primarily about stopping global warming and protecting the environment. Rather it is concerned with trying to comprehend how our behaviour affects the world we live in. They can concentrate on the ways the different environments we inhabit (home, office and cities for example) affect our world.
Climate and environmental psychologists might concentrate their research efforts on looking at how weather phenomena affect our mood. For example, the sun makes us happy, generally while rain and cold dark days might very well make us sad and depressed.
They study many other areas too, but space here is limited.
Experimental psychologists ask theoretical questions and then set out to prove or disprove their hypotheses by experimenting. They study a broad range of behavioural topics such as cognition, perception emotions and so on.
Developmental psychology investigates how we adapt to different situations, how we learn and how we mature. We go through various stages and changes as we grow older and it is how we cope with these that interest developmental psychologists.
Health psychologists basically investigate how our health and well-being (or lack of it) impacts our psychology. They might look at how, or if, we follow health practitioners’ instructions. In other words, they investigate the various factors that affect our life-style choices which have positive or negative impacts on our health
Industrial and organizational psychology is about how people identify and resolve problems in their workplaces as well as the dynamics affecting those who work in a given organization. This area of study is important for industrialists and bosses, who want to maximize their profits. After all everyone wants to make a very good profit when they are running a business. There is a need to investigate how workers react and interact with each other in order to find out what the best workplace practices are.
Human factors and engineering psychology is about working out how people react to having to come to terms with a new device. It’s with everyone’s interest to make this process as easy and comfortable as possible, so that productivity is not affected in the workplace, for example.
The psychology of teaching and learning is clearly about how we learn and remember what we have learned. These psychologists aim to improve the process of learning so that all students can be successful.
Quantitative psychology attempts to find techniques and measures that can accurately measure people’s behaviour and attitudes. A mathematical and statistical modelling our psychological processes is employed to do this. Quantitative psychologists are adept at designing both methodologies and studies that produce answers to their research questions. They might investigate such diverse topics as child development, and how we learn and remember languages.
Social psychology investigates how we see ourselves in relation to the rest of the world, and how our perceptions influence our behaviour ad beliefs. They are concerned with how we interact with others and work to improve our interactions and so our relationships with others.
Rehabilitation psychology is about health and how to support and help people with addictions, mental health issues, and chronic pain, for example.
Sport and performance psychology is about helping sports people to overcome any mental problems that might impede their performance. If an athlete is injured in an accident, thejm a sport an performance psychologist can help them regain their confidence so that they can continue their careers.