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What is a psychologist required to do?

Victoria Fowler

in Higher Education

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Eric Morgan on September 2, 2019

The following is written by and according to the Department of Labor and particular to the work of psychologists.

Psychologists study mental processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting and recording how people and other animals relate to one another and the environment. To do this, psychologists often look for patterns that will help them understand and predict behavior using scientific methods, principles, or procedures to test their ideas. Through such studies, psychologists have learned much that can help increase understanding between individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, nations, and cultures.

Like other social scientists, psychologists formulate theories, or hypotheses, which are possible explanations for what they observe. But unlike other social science disciplines, psychologists often concentrate on individual behavior and, specifically, in the beliefs and feelings that influence a person's actions.

Research methods vary with the topic being studied, but by and large, the chief techniques used are observation, assessment and experimentation. Psychologists sometimes gather information and evaluate behavior through controlled laboratory experiments, hypnosis, biofeedback, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy, or by administering personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. Other methods include interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies, surveys, and observation-looking for cause-and-effect relationships between events and for broad patterns of behavior.

Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain thought, emotion, feelings, or behavior. The research findings of psychologists have greatly increased our understanding of why people and animals behave as they do. For example, psychologists have discovered how personality develops and how to promote healthy development. They have acquired the knowledge of how to diagnose and treat alcoholism and substance abuse, how to help people change bad habits and conduct, and how to help students to learn. They understand the conditions that can make workers more productive. Insights provided by psychologists can help people function better as individuals, friends, family members, and workers.

Psychologists may perform a variety of functions in a large number of industries. For example, those who work in the health service fields may provide mental healthcare in hospitals, clinics, schools, or private settings. Psychologists employed in applied settings such as business, industry, government, and nonprofit organizations, may provide training, research, design organizational systems, and act as advocates for psychology.

Psychologists apply their knowledge to a wide range of efforts, including the health and human services, administration, education, law and sports. Tend to specialize in one of the many different areas.

Clinical psychologists-who constitute the largest specialty-are concerned with the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. While some clinical psychologists specialize in treating severe psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression, many others may help people deal with personal issues, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. Many times, clinical psychologists provide an opportunity to talk and think about things that are confusing or worrying, offering different ways of interpreting and understanding problems and situations. They are trained to use a variety of approaches aimed at helping individuals and the strategies used are generally determined by the specialty they work in.

Clinical psychologists often interview patients and give diagnostic tests in their private offices. They may provide individual, family, or group psychotherapy and may design and implement programs of behavior modification. Some clinical psychologists work in hospitals where they collaborate with physicians and other specialists to develop and implement treatment and intervention programs that patients can understand and comply with. Other clinical psychologists work in universities and medical schools, where they train graduate students in the delivery of mental health and behavioral medicine services. A couple of jobs in physical rehabilitation, the treatment of patients with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain or illness, stroke, arthritis, or neurological diseases. Others may work in community mental health centers, crisis counseling services, or drug rehabilitation centers, offering evaluation, treatment, recovery and consultation.

Areas of specialization within clinical psychology include health psychology, neuropsychology, geropsychology, and child psychology. Health psychologists study how biological, psychological, and social factors that affect health and disease. Promote healthy living and disease prevention through counseling, and they focus on how patients adjust to illnesses and treatments and view their quality of life. Neuropsychologists study the relationship between the brain and behavior. They often work in stroke and head injury programs. Geropsychologists deal with the special problems facing older people. The work may include helping older persons cope with stresses that are common in late-life, such as the loss of loved ones, relocation, medical conditions, and increased care demands. Clinical psychologists can specialize in these fields by focusing their work in a number of niche areas including mental health, learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, or substance abuse. The emergence and growth of these and other specialties reflects the increasing participation of psychologists in direct services to special patient populations.

Often, clinical psychologists consult with other members of the medical staff on the best treatment for patients, especially treatment that includes medication. Clinical psychologists generally are not permitted to prescribe medications to treat patients; only psychiatrists and other medical doctors can prescribe more medicines. (See the statement on physicians and surgeons elsewhere in the Handbook.) However, two States: Louisiana and New Mexico -currently allow appropriately trained clinical psychologists to prescribe medication with some limitations.

Counseling psychologists advise people on how to deal with the problems of everyday life, including problems in the home, workplace, or community, to help improve their quality of life. Promote well-being through the promotion of good mental health and prevention of mental, physical, and social disorders. They work in settings such as university or crisis counseling centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and individual or group practices. (See also the statements on counselors and social workers elsewhere in the Handbook.)

School psychologists work with students in the early childhood and primary and secondary schools. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and school staff to create a safe, healthy and supportive learning environments for all students. School psychologists address students ' learning and behavioral problems, suggest improvements to classroom management strategies or parenting techniques, and evaluate students with disabilities and gifted and talented students to help determine the best way of educating them.

To improve teaching, learning, and socialization strategies based on their understanding of the psychology of learning environments. You can also evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, prevention programs, behavior management procedures, and other services that are provided in the school.

Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the workplace in the interest of improving the quality of worklife. They are also involved in research management and marketing problems. That screen, train, and counsel applicants for jobs, as well as perform organizational development and analysis. An industrial psychologist might work with management to reorganize the work environment to improve productivity. Industrial psychologists frequently act as consultants, brought in by management to solve a particular problem.

Developmental psychologists study the physiological, cognitive, and social development that takes place throughout life. Some specialize in behavior during infancy, childhood and adolescence, or changes that occur during maturity or old age. Developmental psychologists also may study developmental disabilities and their effects. Increasingly, research is developing methods to help older people remain independent as long as possible.

Social psychologists examine people's interactions with others and with the social environment. They work in the organisation of the consultation, market research, systems design, or other fields of applied psychology. Many social psychologists specialize in a niche area, such as group behavior, leadership, attitudes, and perception.

Experimental or research psychologists work in university and private research centers and in business, nonprofit, and government organizations. Study the behavior of human beings and animals, such as rats, monkeys, and pigeons. Prominent areas of study in experimental research include motivation, thinking, attention, learning and memory, sensory and perceptual processes, effects of substance abuse, and genetic and neurological factors that affect behavior.

Forensic psychologists use psychological principles in the legal and the criminal justice system to help judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals understand the psychological findings of a particular case. They are usually designated as an expert witness and typically specialize in one of three areas: family court, civil court and criminal court. Forensic psychologists working in family court may offer psychotherapy services, perform child custody evaluations, or investigate allegations of abuse of children. Those who work in civil courts can assess the competency, provide second opinions, and provide psychotherapy to crime victims. Criminal court forensic psychologists often conduct evaluations of mental competency, work with child witnesses, and evaluation of juvenile or adult offenders.


For the source and more detailed information concerning your request, click on the related links section (u.s. Department of Labor) indicated directly below this answer section.


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