When it comes to the field of psychology in terms of a career choice, there are two common questions that get asked – what is a psychologist and how do you go about becoming one.
In this article we’ll focus on providing the job description of a psychologist – well in fact the job description for a number of different types of psychologists.
You see there is no one type of psychologist – when it comes to the brain and human behavior there are countless areas of study and treatment, and as a result there are many different types of psychologists to work in all of these areas.
So we’ll start off by talking about counseling and clinical psychologists – two of the most well known types of psychologist in the industry.
Counseling & Clinical Psychologists.
In terms of the kind of psychologist that focuses their efforts on working with patients of some description, the clinical and the counseling psychologist make up the bulk of the jobs.
In some ways the two jobs are very similar – in fact there are some people who believe the distinction between the two has blurred to the point where it no longer exists.
But traditionally the major difference could be seen in the type of patient that was treated by these respective professionals.
As the name might suggest, the clinical psychologist was more involved in working with people that had been diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder.
So we’re talking about things like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders and so on.
The aim would be to diagnose these illnesses and then create a treatment plan using a range of counseling and psychotherapy techniques to reduce the impact of the illness on the persons lifestyle.
On the other hand the counseling psychologist would be focused more on treating the human behavior side of psychology.
So they might be working with couples who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage. Or they could be helping people to come out of their shell and increase their levels of confidence in social or work situations.
And while the techniques used by both kinds of psychologist will overlap, the issues they deal with can be vastly different.
These kinds of psychologist may also decide to specialize in some field of psychology. A few of the more well known specialties are sports psychology and school psychology.
When people ask the question of what is a psychologist they’re more than likely thinking of the sort of psychologist mentioned above.
But there are many other different types of psychologist that are not necessarily engaged in treating patients.
The research side of psychology is huge – the more we learn about the brain and human behavior, the more we realize there is to study.
And this is where research psychologists come into their own.
They study a wide range of subjects including:
- The ability of humans to study and learn.
- How the brain develops as we get older.
- How primal evolutionary instincts effect our human behavior in modern day society.
- How improvements can be made in how teachers deliver their education.
- How humans behave when in group situations versus on their own.
- How performance under pressure can be improved through the use of various mental techniques
And much, much more.
The wide range of areas for potential study means that anyone looking to enter a career in the research side of psychology can more than likely find a field of study that is of great personal interest to them.
What Is A Psychologist – Summary
A psychologist is concerned with the brain and human behavior.
For some psychologists this means helping people overcome mental or behavioral problems that are negatively affecting their lives, as well as helping people achieve their true potential.
For other psychologists the emphasis is on gaining a better understanding of these subjects, often to help improve the treatment options, but also to better understand society as a whole.