Studies & Degrees in Psychology
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Psychology Study Programs
Psychology is a very broad discipline engaged with the study of the human mind, the human behavior, and other processes associated with the way people feel and think. Psychology can be approached in a great number of ways, from taking into consideration biology’s role in mental health to examining the role of the surrounding environment on one’s behavior. There are a lot of sub-disciplines of psychology that are worth mentioning; examples are social psychology, clinical psychology, occupational health, and cognitive psychology.
Common tasks that a psychologist would perform include conducting therapeutic interviews, carrying out psychological tests, evaluating sources of different problems, and adopting specific counseling and treatment techniques. Psychologists can also provide support in areas like study motivation, teaching skills, occupational behavior, and team dynamics. They can evaluate mental and emotional states of both individuals and groups of people, offering various treatment solutions.
A crucial quality to being a psychologist is patience. Curiosity and willingness to learn in a constantly developing subject area can turn out to be key, too. These other skills can also be considered:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong intuitive feeling
- Great analytical and problem-solving skills
- Feel naturally connected to people
In order to practice as a psychologist, you undoubtedly need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, or one of its sub-disciplines. You can definitely start preparing from high school by taking subjects like chemistry, biology, and physics; you should also be prepared that the admissions procedure for disciplines like psychology is highly selective, and you need to keep your academic scores very high. Furthermore, subjects like sociology, literature, and history would give you some view of what motivates people, which is a good background for any mental health profession.
The institution you choose has to be an accredited one and have a good ranking for the research it carries out – research is an essential part of the discipline of psychology. Your degree should be a good balance between theory, practice, and clinical studies. Most psychologists take their studies further, and an option would be to either pursue a Ph.D. (which is perceived to put equal emphasis on research and clinical training), or a Psy.D., which is a newer professional degree, offered by the professional schools of psychology, emphasizing clinical practice with only a minimum of research training. Both options take at least five years to complete.
There is a large pool of career opportunities for psychologists, especially since today’s society is becoming more stressed on a daily basis. A traditional approach is to provide counseling or to teach. You can work at a university, a community college or a professional school, where you can teach or conduct research. There is also the possibility to work at a hospital, a government agency (the military, law enforcement, or the penal system), or a community agency. You can also manage your own private counseling, where you decide on the type of patients you wish to work with. Many larger companies need the service of psychologists, too, to help management with issues like work-life balance, team dynamics, and other employee life and health-related issues. No matter what your career aspirations are, remember that this is a profession that should mainly be driven by your own willingness and passion to help people.
Job positions for Psychology:
Psychologists who have studied applied psychology may work as Rehabilitation Psychologists. Rehabilitation psychologists are focused on helping those who have suffered physical deprivation or loss. Majority of these people are amputees, patients with terminal illnesses, those suffering with permanent disfiguration and patients with disability.
A Rehabilitation Psychologist develops methods and approaches that would best help those who are undergoing depression and psychological problems due to physical and permanent damage to their body. The goal of Rehabilitation psychologists is to aid the in the adaptation process of the person who is affected and to alleviate the feeling of worthlessness and self-pity. They are trained to be able to assess patients properly and to effectively evaluate each case that they handle. The psychologists also find ways to improve the functioning of a disabled or handicapped person. They usually develop alternative activities and socialization techniques for people who have closed their doors on society due to their condition. Most clients of Rehabilitation Psychologists are military veterans who have been sent home due to their disability or loss of body parts. In these cases, the counseling is much harder because it primarily involves removal or taming of the trauma they have experienced before focusing on their adaptation to their conditions. Rehabilitation Psychologists are also trained in elderly care, since the elderly are more likely to develop depression due to their old age and incapability. For them, a different approach is also needed.
The Rehabilitation Psychologists must be well trained in assessment of psychological conditions and various stages of recovery from a loss or trauma. They are also experienced in psychotherapy and clinical counseling where they perform battery tests and other measurements to determine the patient’s recovery level. They are well oriented with the theories of adjustment and provide interventions with family members and those involved with the patient. They should also be able to use non-pharmacological anxiety treatments and methods like breathing and relaxation techniques.
A Rehabilitation Psychologist has a background and understanding of basic anatomy, neuroanatomy and pathology that is related to the cases they are concerned with. They are able to interpret neuropsychological screening instruments. They should be able to impart essential clinical information to the health care team and be able to explain complex findings in a simplified way to the family members and to the patient. A Rehabilitation Psychologist usually works in the rehabilitation unit of a hospital, clinic or an outpatient facility, although some hold their private clinics or conduct home services. A license may be required to practice their profession depending on the area that they work in. As part of the medical rehabilitation team, they are usually very well compensated.