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Psychology is a branch of science that deals with mental processes and behavior. It is the systematic study of human and animal behaviour, mind and thought. To pursue the career of a psychologist, one should have a genuine desire to help other human beings. Psychology is mainly concerned with the way the mind works. Psychologists study the processes, motives, reactions, feelings and nature of the human mind.
Their treatment is based on changing the behavioural patterns of the patients without medication. They do counceling and help people by bringing about changes in their thought process, thus improving their quality of life.
Psychologists need not have a medical degree. But they have to study several years to specialise in various aspects of psychology. One can pursue Psychology at the plus two level, graduate, post graduate and doctorate level. There are specialisations in many fields of psychology such as social psychology, child psychology, occupational psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, etc.
ELIGIBILITY / EDUCATION :
Psychology is offered as a subject at the Plus Two or equivalent level with a combination of other social sciences and statistics. At the graduate level, one can study psychology as an Honors subject in most universities. After graduation, one can opt for an MA or MSc in Psychology, Social work or Counseling. Specialisations in the subject can be pursued at the post graduate level or at the doctoral level- M.Phil or Ph.D, after post graduation. At the master's and doctoral level, education becomes increasingly specialized.
Post graduate courses in psychology are offered only to students who have graduated with psychology. Post graduate and doctoral degrees in Psychology puts emphasis on research. If your interest is in practice, i.e helping people with problems (counseling ) you could opt for Psychology-related graduate programs such as education and social work
For those who do not wish to put in too many years of study, there are one year Diploma courses in Special Education or Mental Retardation.
JOB PROSPECTS :
The nature of work of a psychologist is influenced most by the areas of specialisation in the subject. They work in a number of different settings, including universities and colleges, primary and secondary schools, government agencies, private industry, hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They are also employed in social welfare organizations, research establishments, rehabilitation centres, prisons, child/ youth guidance centres, advertising industry and in a variety of other set-ups.
Psychologist with master's degree, work under the supervision of one or more doctoral level psychologists. Those with bachelor's degree are eligible for jobs in community health centers and vocational rehabilitations and as administrative assistants.
Clinical Psychology : It studies about complex mental processes, abnormal human behaviours and the mysterious reasons behind those behaviours. A trained Clinical Psychologist offers counselling services to people with mental illness and other disorders and also do provide Psychotherapy. They help the client to successfully deal with emotionally disturbed states. They work out the methods of mental activities. Further areas of specialization in Clinical Psychology are Neuro Psychology, Health Psychology etc.
Social Psychology : This area of Psychology deals with social influence, social perception, and social interaction. Group behaviour, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behaviour, conformity, aggression, and prejudice etc are the subject matter of this field. These Psychologists assist in understanding and explaining diverse kinds of human behaviours in different social settings.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology : Here Psychological research is used to boost performance and efficiency in work, employee selection, improvement in designing of products and how to increase its usability. These Psychologists advise the companies about how to impress the clients and make people interested in buying their products.
Developmental Psychology : This area looks at overall growth and development of human beings over the lifespan. It studies about the cognitive abilities, moral values, social functioning etc of individuals. Right from infancy to old age, the behaviours of individuals are closely monitored under this area of study.
Forensic Psychology : It is an applied field which mainly concentrates on using Psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system. It is application of Psychology in the criminal and field of civil justice.
Counselling Psychology : These Psychologists counsel people undergoing emotional and personal problems. Various techniques like interviewing, testing and advising people are taught in this area of specialization.
Educational Psychology : This branch of study is useful in educational system. It helps to understand emotional, social, and academic issues concerning the children. Learning and behavioural problems of students are taken care of. Effectiveness of educational programs is judged. Behaviour management procedures are adopted in a given educational set up.
Some other areas of specialization are Personality Psychology, Research Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology etc.