What is psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes; the reason why we think and feel various thoughts and emotions. It also focuses on the study and treatment of mental health disorders.
Psychology is a complex field with numerous subspecialties:
•Biological psychology – The biology behind behavior and mental processes
•Clinical psychology –Prevention of psychological dysfunction in patients (individuals, families, couples or small groups)
•Cognitive psychology – How people think, perceive, remember and learn
•Comparative psychology – The similarities and differences in behavior and mental processes in human and animals
•Development psychology – The development of the human mind throughout the life span
•Education psychology – How humans learn
•Social psychology – How humans relate to one another
What is a psychologist and what do they do?
Psychologists seek to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Psychologists treat patients through “talk therapy,” and observing, interpreting, and recording their patient’s behavior and mental processes; their thoughts, experiences and responses. They typically look for patterns in human behavior in order to diagnose conditions. Psychologists treat individuals (adults and children), couples and families, as well as patients in small groups. They may treat patients in a clinical environment (hospital), or in private practice. If a patient requires medication for a mental health disorder, a psychologist may refer a patient to a psychiatrist; psychiatrists are medical doctors who can write prescriptions for a variety of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, psychosis and more.
A minimum of a doctoral degree is usually required for independent practice as a psychologist, which requires about five years of full-time graduate study.
What conditions does a psychologist commonly treat?
Psychologists treat a wide range of conditions in children and adults, some of which can be harmful or life-threatening to the patient and others if not treated. Examples of various conditions psychologists treat include:
•Autism and Asperger disorder •Alcoholism, substance abuse •Addictions and compulsions •Abuse, bullying and violence