Psychology is quite a broad field of study and there are literally dozens of different types of psychologists out there.
While we probably can’t cover all of them here, listed below are some of the major types of psychologists as well as a short description of what they do and how it differs from some of their counterparts.
These different types of psychologist can probably be classified into two broad categories – the ones who do the research and teaching, and the ones who are more focused on the practical aspects of psychology as a form of therapy.
Types Of Psychologists – The Practitioners
When we think of the different types of psychologist out there, one of the most common that comes to mind is the clinical psychologist.
These are the people that spend their working life helping people deal with all manner of mental problems ranging from issues like anxiety or addiction all the way up to full blow mental disorders including bipolar or schizophrenia.
They focus firstly on the diagnosis of the disorder and then put together a treatment plan that will include aspects of psychotherapy and counseling along with any medications that have been prescribed by a psychiatrist.
Within the field of clinical psychology a person will generally specialize and focus their efforts on helping people with specific disorders or problems, possibly people from a specific demographic group of the population.
There is some overlap between the work of a clinical and a counseling psychologist. The major difference lies in the kinds of patients they deal with.
Where a clinical psychologists will deal more with people at the mental disorder end of the spectrum, a counseling psychologist is focused more on helping people to make behavior changes which are going to be to their benefit.
So maybe this will be in helping people improve their performance in their career or in their personal lives by helping them identity behaviors that are holding them back and working together to make the necessary changes to improve those behaviors.
These would probably be considered as a type of counseling psychologist, with their role being to help schools understand student behavior and help students with any issues that are affecting them either at home or at school.
Again another type of counseling psychologist, this time helping athletes to improve their mental preparation so that they perform at an optimal level.
The forensic psychologist is called upon to bring their knowledge of psychology and human behavior and apply it to the legal world.
The perfect example of the role of a forensic psychologist would be in analyzing the mental state of a defendant who has committed some sort of crime, with that mental state being a major determinant in the sort of conviction and sentencing that may be handed down.
As the name suggests these types of psychologists are involved in helping people with their rehabilitation after some sort of trauma.
This trauma may have directly had an impact on mental cases such as with a stroke, or it could be helping people overcome the mental barriers that come with recovering from serious physical injuries that require intensive and painful rehab methods.
Types Of Psychologists – Research & Teaching
There are many different types of psychologist who are engaged in the research into human behavior both at an individual and a group level.
Some of the different specialties include:
Cognitive & Perceptual Psychologists
The aim for these types of psychologist is to increase our understanding of how humans learn and make decisions.
They will often work closely with other professionals to understand how much our biology influences these things versus how much our learned behavior has an impact.
Originally this type of psychology was focused on understanding how children developed, but as our population ages is now starting to look at the older age endf of the spectrum as well.
The focus of evolutionary psychology is on how the evolution of the brain over the millenia has influenced the way we think, feel and act.
Some examples of things that may be studied by these types of psychologists include things like aggression, mating behavior, community behavior as well as communication
These kinds of psychologists are interested in studying how human interaction plays a part in our behavior particularly with regards to relationships, the formation of prejudices as well as things like the behavior of a group versus that of an individual.
Different Types Of Psychologists – Summary
As you can see there are many different types of psychologists, and there are still many that haven’t been mentioned here.
This makes it an extremely interesting career path with the huge number of options available for you to specialize in something that you’re truly interested in.