What is psychology and what does it involve?
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, according to the American Psychological Association. It is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior.
The APA adds that it “embraces all aspects of the human experience, from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged.”
Psychologists and psychiatrists work together to help people with mental health conditions, but they are not quite the same.
A psychologist treats a patient through psychotherapy, helping to relieve symptoms through behavioral change. The role of the psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor, focuses more on prescribing medication and other interventions to manage mental health conditions.
Fast facts about psychology
- Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind.
- There are different types of psychology, such as cognitive, forensic, social, and developmental psychology.
- A person with a condition that affects their mental health may benefit from assessment and treatment with a psychologist.
- A psychologist may offer treatment that focuses on behavioral adaptations.
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is more likely to focus on medical management of mental health issues.
What is psychology?
The work of a psychologist can range from counseling individuals with anxiety to advising companies on how to build better teams.
The mind is highly complex, and conditions that relate to it can be hard to treat.
Thought processes, emotions, memories, dreams, perceptions, and so on cannot be seen physically, like a skin rash or heart defect.
While physical signs of some mental health issues can be observed, such as the plaques that develop with Alzheimer’s disease, many theories of psychology are based on observation of human behavior.
A practicing psychologist will meet with patients, carry out assessments to find out what their concerns are and what is causing any difficulties, and recommend or provide treatment, for example, through counselling and psychotherapy.
Psychologists may have other roles, too. They may carry out studies to advise health authorities and other bodies on social and other strategies, assess children who find it difficult to learn in school, give workshops on how to prevent bullying, work with recruitment teams in companies, and much more.