Individuals interested in a psychology career can specialize in many different fields. Amongst these fields are clinical psychology, sports psychology, forensic psychology, developmental psychology, counseling, experimental psychology, and industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology.
Clinical psychology, the largest field of psychology, is what the general population likely envisions when thinking about a psychologist. These practitioners are concerned with assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with mental illnesses. These individuals are trained in many different techniques to treat patients, and this treatment can be dictated by the patient’s disorder, age, or both.
Sport psychologists study the psychological factors that influence athletes’ actions and performance. Sports psychologists work with individuals and teams to help maximize performance. This is accomplished by managing the possible detrimental effects of injury or changes in performance. These psychologists can help individuals set goals, visualize those goals, and gain control and confidence in their sport.
Forensic psychologists work within the criminal justice system, helping law and legal professionals understand the psychological factors in particular cases. It is not uncommon for a forensic psychologist to act as an expert witness in family court, civil court, or criminal court. Those who work in family court settings can be responsible for completing evaluations for child custody, investigating claims of child abuse, or even providing therapy. In civil court settings, forensic psychologists may provide therapy to victims of crime. Finally, those working in criminal court settings can perform evaluations to determine the mental competency of witnesses and work with minors who are serving as witnesses.
Developmental psychologists typically focus on behaviors during major periods of change in life, such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, and old age.
Psychologists in the counseling field provide services that are aimed at improving one’s quality of life. This counseling can take place in schools, hospitals, or in group settings.
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