There are many types of psychologists in the work force. Psychology has a wide array of fields open to individuals who want to explore the science behind the mind, behavior, mental health, and actions of others.
In terms of study areas, here are some common areas of psychology that people focus on:
- Clinical Psychology– This is probably what we think of first. Someone in an office taking notes and engaging in talk therapy. This person also will assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with mental illness or psychological distress. Then they will develop treatment plans and monitor progress. They can work in private practice, hospitals, or clinics. They sometimes specialize in children’s mental health, geriatrics, substance abuse, forensics or others. They are not physicians and do not prescribe medications but work hand-in-hand with psychiatrists who are medical doctors who can prescribe medications.
- Cognitive Psychology– This is the field that works with decision making and problem solving. They are often researchers and work with patients to understand how the brain processes and stores information and then how it retrieves it and applies it in certain circumstances. The are found in rehabilitation facilities, governmental agencies, and hospitals. Specialties include memory, language, learning disabilities, or attention deficit.
- Industrial or Organizational Psychology– These are people who work within a specific industry or profession. It deals with individuals, teams, management, and other organizational compositions to foster good employee-employer relationships or to deal with factors that are inherent in the career choice. An example of the latter is aviation. They help flight crews with airline safety, training, and equipment. Engineering psychologists look at ways we use machinery or technology and work environments. They are in the healthcare industry to help caregivers and patients recover quicker. They also work with daily use items like mobile phones. Public services is another area. They deal with people who face traumatic situations on a daily basis. Industrial psychologists are often called upon to conduct screening candidates for positions to assure that the new hires are healthy, stable and able to cope with the pressure of the position.
- Community Psychology – These can sometimes be included in clinical psychology, and are found in many settings including schools, government, community action groups, private businesses, charitable organizations. They help resolve every day problems at the community level. They work in specific neighborhoods or districts depending on the need. They focus on the positive aspects of life and changes to make our cities and towns good places to live.
- Biological Psychology– Biopsychologists or physiological psychologists study the biological factors on how people live and act. They may work with people who are affected by injuries and diseases, both long and short term. They also work with serious brain injuries or trauma survivors. They study how different parts of the brain influence our behaviors. These are people who work in research, universities, drug companies, or governments. Some work in clinical settings with those who are recovering from disease or trauma that has altered their personality or behavior.
As you can tell, psychology has a wide variety of fields to choose from. This is a growing occupation and is dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities to function at the highest and best levels possible. If any of this sounds interesting, check with your local university about the classes and programs.