What is Psychology?
Psychology is the science that studies human behavior and mental
Psychologists today work in many different settings. Experimental psychologists continue to work in laboratories, usually connected with academic departments in colleges and universities. They study both humans and other animals, since many principles of animal learning and behavior can be applied to humans. Clinical psychologists are more likely to work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. While they may also do research, their work generally involves applying the principles of psychology. Clinical psychologists are often psychotherapists, treating mental disorders and helping people make positive changes in their lives. They administer and score personality tests and intelligence tests to measure these psychological traits. Counseling psychologists often have similar jobs, but they tend to work with less pathological populations. Health Psychologists work in health care settings, often working with patients who have physical disorders rather than psychological disorders. They may help patients who have chronic pain or cancer, and they are usually included on teams that evaluate patients for organ transplants. Industrial and organizational psychologists help companies work with their human resources.
Much of psychology's growth in the U.S. after World War II consisted of psychologists who saw themselves as providers of mental health services. Graduate programs in clinical psychology and counseling psychology were developed to fill a perceived shortage of mental health professionals. Almost all of these programs were located in psychology departments of colleges and universities. The federal government provided funding to many graduate students through Public Health Service grants. The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree joined the traditional Ph.D., and emphasized practice rather than research. Internship training programs provided a year of full-time clinical training to complete the education of new psychologists.
By the 1970s health insurance had begun to cover the services of psychologists. Clients could often use their insurance to pay for most of the cost of their therapy sessions. Most clinical psychologists were happy to participate in this "third party payer" system. Few had any idea that managed care was on the way.
The success of graduate programs in clinical psychology did not go
unnoticed. The 1970s saw the birth of freestanding "professional
schools" of psychology, most of which were not associated with a
college or university. Like many trends, this one began in
California. College students often found psychology to be a
fascinating subject, and graduate school was difficult to get into.
There were plenty of students to fill these new professional
schools. As these schools grew the number of students competing for
clinical psychology internships also grew. The number of internships
could not keep up with this growth in students, and competition for
the limited number of internship slots became fierce.
By the 1980s health costs had begun to skyrocket. Managed care
appeared as an attempt to control these costs. Psychologists and
other therapists found their practices directed by managed care
company employees who usually have much less training. Paperwork
increased dramatically and many therapists' incomes fell. Many
psychologists began to look for work settings with more job security
and fewer hassles. With all of this change in the field, some are
asking whether we really need 2500 plus new psychologists every
The American Psychological Association paints a more optimistic picture of psychology job prospects. Their Website states: "Psychology is a discipline with a bright future. Among fields requiring a college degree, it is expected to be the third fastest-growing field in America through the year 2005 and to continue to grow steadily for at least another dozen years after that." (American Psychological Association, 2002) I'm not quite as optimistic, but students interested in this field should certainly consider it as a career.
Psychology.info is becoming into a comprehensive portal for psychology. As the premier one-word destination for psychology information, it is also for sale at the Healing Sites Network. Visit today for more information, or to choose a distinctive domain name that will help your site stand out from the crowd.