Table of Contents
- What is Psychology?
- The branches of Psychology
- Psychological disorders
- Online Psychology courses
- Careers in Psychology
- What’s next
The existence of Psychology as a science is known to many but not all of us know what it entails. As a beginner, you need to understand what Psychology is before diving in deeper. Through this article, you will learn everything you need to know about psychology, its various branches, and the different Psychology courses you can take.
What is Psychology?
Psychology has many known definitions. According to the American Psychological Association, ‘Psychology is an academic discipline that deals with the extensive study and understanding of mind and behavior.‘
While it primarily focuses on the mental and behavioral functioning of humans, it also encompasses animal psychology under its rubric. Moreover, the word psychology comes from the Greek words ‘psyche’ which means soul or mind, and ‘logos’ which means study or science. Hence, psychology is known as the science of the mind or the science of the soul.
Side note: Did you know there are 4 goals in psychology that aim to uncover the mysteries of human and animal behavior? These include Description, Explanation, Prediction, and Control.
In simple terms, psychology analyses how people feel, think and behave. Since psychology is such a vast domain, it’s separated into various branches.
The branches of Psychology
Psychology is a vast area of study that is divided into different specializations, or branches, based on certain factors.
Let’s look at 10 major branches of Psychology and what they are-
1. Behavioral psychology
Behavioral psychology or behaviorism is based on the approach of understanding the behavior of humans and animals. It works under the concept that environmental factors mold all behaviors. So the behaviors exhibited by an individual or an organism are a result of their conditioning.
2. Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology deals with the study, diagnosis, and also the treatment of psychological disorders. A good deal of people get confused between clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. The main difference is a clinical psychologists can not prescribe medications and they do not have medical training. Hence, this field is more about understanding, observing, diagnosing, analyzing, and treating mental illnesses, and behavioral disorders.
3. Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology deals with the study of mental processes of perceiving, remembering, and thinking. It studies all aspects of cognition such as memory thinking, reasoning, language decision making, etc. This field also merges the applications of the cognitive psychology approach and cognitive neuroscience.
4. Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology studies the growth of people throughout their lives. It analyses inter and intra-individual changes. Additionally, it analyzes how people grow and evolve from the moment of birth until they die.
5. Social psychology
Social psychology studies how people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by others. It’s the branch of psychology that also deals with the behavior of people in a social setting. This includes studying group behavior, interactions, nonverbal communication, social thinking, community behavior, and social influence.
6. Educational psychology
Educational psychology focuses on teaching and learning processes such as the relationship between intelligence and school performance. It is also concerned with how better teaching techniques can benefit both teachers and students. The main areas of work for educational psychologists and teacher training, curriculum, planning, instruction designing, and research and development.
7. Organizational psychology
Organizational psychology applies psychology to solve the problems of industries and organizations. It does so through intelligence and aptitude tests of selected employees. Additionally, they apply psychology to problems of management and training to improve communication within the organization and help increase the overall employee performance.
8. Counselling psychology
Counselling psychology focuses on our educational, social, and also career adjustment problems. For example, people with specific questions like career choices or educational programs will consult counselling psychologists.
9. Health psychology
Health psychology explores the relationship between psychological factors and diseases. Good health and the ability to cope with illnesses are affected by psychological factors. Such as thoughts, emotions, and stress management. This is part of a growing field of Psychology, called psychoneuroimmunology. It focuses on the relationship between psychological factors and the immune system.
10. Environmental psychology
Environmental psychology is the study of our relationships with our environments. It explores how our environment affects our emotions. One way it does this, for example, is by considering the amount of stress we experience in a particular setting.
Psychological disorders or mental disorders are clinical disorders that affect the mind, thought process, emotions, and also a response to stimuli. They are the very reason that Psychology exists.
Following are some of the major categories of psychological disorders-
1. Personality disorders
Personality disorders refer to unhealthy rigid patterns of thinking, responding, behaving, and feeling. People with these disorders find it difficult to empathize. They also cause limitations in relationships, social activities, etc.
Personality disorders are segregated into three clusters-
Cluster A: These are characterized as odd, eccentric thinking or behavior.
Example: Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, and Schizotypal Personality Disorder.
Cluster B: These are characterized as dramatic, overly emotional, and unpredictable.
Example: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Cluster C: These are characterized as anxious, and have fearful thinking.
Example: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), Avoidant Personality Disorder, and Dependent Personality Disorder.
*OCPD is not the same as OCD.
2. Eating disorders
An eating disorder is based on an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. This includes having an obsession with food, body weight, and also body shape.
In some cases, eating disorders can cause extremely serious health consequences and can result in death, if not treated in time. There are a variety of symptoms of eating disorders. However, the most common ones known are limiting food intake, binging on food, purging behaviors like vomiting, and over-exercising.
Examples: Anorexia nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia nervosa.
3. Substance abuse disorders
This disorder involves the uncontrollable urge to use alcohol or drugs despite being aware of the physical or psychological health issue they cause. This involves using substances in larger amounts or consuming them over a longer period of time.
People experience extreme withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance. This also decreases their social and work-related activities due to the intense substance use. Since they have consumed the substance for a long period, they need larger amounts to experience that effect. This is extremely risky and physically dangerous.
4. Mood disorders
These psychological disorders impact the emotional state of a person. People with this disorder face emotions or moods that are inconsistent with their circumstances. They may be extremely sad or depressed, irritable or even extremely happy. This mood alteration from experiencing unreasonable euphoria, hyperactivity, intense moods is a part of mania. It is also known as a manic episode.
Moods are normally prone to change according to situations. However, those suffering from this disorder will have extreme mood changes that can interfere with their everyday life and behavior.
Examples: Bipolar Disorder, Mood Depressive Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, etc.
5. Trauma and stress-related disorders
These are based on an individual’s exposure to traumatic or stressful events. However, not everyone who experiences or witnesses traumatic or stressful events becomes a victim of these disorders.
Keep in mind that some situations will cause more stress to some people than they will to others. Every person reacts to trauma and stress differently. Those who face trauma at an early age are more likely to develop certain disorders.
Both trauma and stressor-related disorders are treatable with adequate and timely medical help.
Example: Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Adjustment Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), are a few.
Online Psychology courses
The 21st century has seen an accelerated increase in global connectivity through the internet. These days, it is so easy to access online psychology courses across the world from the comfort of your home.
There are a few psychology courses you can take to learn more about the field-
- Introduction to psychology courses
- Social psychology courses
- The psychology of criminal justice courses
- Child psychology courses
- Experimental psychology courses
- Physiological psychology courses
- Cognitive psychology courses
- General psychology courses
- Abnormal psychology courses
It’s important to note that after taking these courses, you will have a better knowledge of each subject. However, that does not give you the license to diagnose people. Only a trained professional psychologist or psychiatrist can do that.
Careers in Psychology
Pursuing Psychology provides you with an array of career options. Following are some of the jobs in the field of Psychology-
- Industrial/Organisational psychologist
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- School counselor
- Research professional
- Sports psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Child psychologist
1. Can Psychologists prescribe medicine?
No, psychologists are not legally allowed to prescribe medicines. Only psychiatrists have the right to give prescriptions as they have a medical background.
2. When should I see a psychologist?
Some of the reasons why you may want to see a psychologist include having mental health issues, stress, and also anxiety that disrupt your everyday activities. You can visit a therapist if you want to deal with any emotional baggage or other problems.
There is no right time to do this. When your stress is getting in your way, you can visit a psychologist, therapist, or a counsellor to help you deal with the problems.
Since you now have a fair idea of what Psychology is and the different types of Psychology courses available, the world is your oyster!
This is an interesting field because you learn more about the human mind and human behavior. Various psychology courses can help you understand more about each field.
Remember DO NOT self diagnose yourself or search for symptoms of certain disorders online. It’s okay to search about disorders to learn more but never to diagnose yourself or others. Only a trained and licensed professional can diagnose you.
And feel free to reach out to us to know more or you can comment below.
See you in the next blog!