It is quite common to think that psychologists are engaged in solving certain types of personal problems of “patients”. Behavioral problems, such as alcohol addiction; emotional, such as pain caused by the death of a loved one, or related to pathologies also treated by psychiatry.
In short, psychology is, for a large part of the population, the practice of psychotherapy, When it is not directly something that has to do with sofas, hypnosis and psychoanalysis in general.
The different specialties (branches) of psychology
However, if we stop to take a closer look at what psychology is and has been throughout history, we will find that the areas and areas in which it can be applied are much broader than what it is. seems to suggest the iconic image of Sigmund Freud providing psychotherapy services. . In fact, psychology can have as many facets as human activities have.
This is what makes it not a single psychology, but many branches of psychology which are oriented towards different fields of application and different purposes. The psychology of conducting psychotherapy with patients is therefore only one of many specialties that exist in behavioral science.
So if you want to know what are the different branches of psychology and their employment opportunities and you will have the chance to read what follows.
1. Psychology of organizations and work
The psychology of organizations and work (the latter also known as industrial psychology) is linked to research and intervention on workers, with the aim of finding strategies to make their level of performance optimal taking into account the needs of each of them and those of the organization as a whole. It is therefore the application of psychology to the world of work.
People who work in organizational psychology generally work in the human resources departments of companies, or they can offer their services as specialized agencies in the selection of personnel, the teaching of training, the creation of more efficient work dynamics, etc.
As the activities carried out within an organization are very varied, this branch of psychology in turn has many facets.
One of its facets, for example, is oriented towards what allows each worker, individually, to perform well in their workplaceWhether it is about intervening on the tools available to everyone, studying their strengths and weaknesses, carrying out ergonomic studies to check whether they work comfortably or not, etc. This facet of specialization is often referred to as work or industrial psychology because it has more to do with the performance of individual workers and their immediate work environment.
The other facet of this specialty of psychology, however, it is oriented towards the work dynamics and the relationships between the people who make up the organization, And therefore has to do with the work climate, leadership studies, resolving conflicts of interest, creating effective communication flows, etc. It’s organizational psychology.
Work and organizational psychology is also the branch of psychology that tends to have higher job returns, and is therefore often a highly regarded career option. Inside, staff selection tends to be the one that creates the most jobs.
2. Marketing and consumer psychology
Marketing psychology was born out of organizational psychology, in the sense that it aims to meet the needs of the productive equipment of companies. In this case, these needs consist in releasing the products or services offered, which means that the potential demand for these is directed towards the company’s supply.
Counted and debated, among all branches of psychology this specialization focuses on research aimed at creating attractive services and products for the customer. Hence, he is involved in the creation of the marketing plan, advertising and product design.
Marketing and consumer psychology specialize in making what organizations offer as attractive as possible to the type of customer they want to sell the product or service to, and also defines the most useful communication strategies to achieve this goal. This is a discipline very intertwined with what the media and advertising agencies traditionally do, which is why these types of psychologists work with professionals in these fields.
Among the most valuable assets of marketing and consumer psychology is neuromarketing, which applies neuroscience techniques to see how customers or potential consumers react to advertising pieces, packaging designs (product packaging), etc. . Advertising psychologists can also play an important role in these design processes based on their interpretation of reading brain activation patterns, tracking gaze movement in front of an advertising poster, etc.
It is one of the most important specialties of psychology in a context where consumers are increasingly immune and skeptical to advertising.
3. Clinical and health psychology
It is one of the best-known branches of psychology, if not the most, and it is research and interventions focused on psychological problems affecting more or less seriously the quality of life of people. If the psychological disorders are related to mental disorders, clinical psychologists will work with other health professionals to diagnose, prognosis, intervene and control psychological disorders.
People who belong to this specialty of psychology offer a service called psychotherapy and the form, approach and procedures can vary widely, depending on the psychological orientation you have and the tools you have available. Consequently, not all health psychologists work the same or have the same trainingAlthough they can be included in the category of mental health professionals.
The specialization of sexology in the field of psychology must make con the application of psychology to solving sexuality problems. It is a branch of psychology derived from clinical and health psychology, but it focuses on treatments for the sex life of patients.
While the psychology in the field of sexology is particularly useful in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions, it can also play a very important role in improving the sex life of people without such a disorder.
The nervous system is the basis of the operations of all that concerns our behavior, our emotions and our feelings and our capacity to think and communicate, it is therefore normal that one of the branches of psychology turns towards the neurosciences.
Neuropsychology is a specialization that straddles neurology and psychology, and its raison d’être is the study of mental processes and the functioning of the brain in case of alteration.
Neuropsychology is particularly useful in the study of brain damage, malformations, dysfunctions, and diseases that affect the functioning of the nervous system. Thus, people who from all branches of psychology opt for this specialization will be able to devote themselves to the study of the relationships between mental (and behavioral) processes and what happens in the brain, to draw the conclusions that they allow. diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and control of symptoms.
6. Forensic psychology
This specialty aims to cover the needs that appear within the judicial system. A psychologist forensic scientist collects, analyzes and presents psychological evidence that will be taken into account in legal proceedings. For example, you can assess a respondent to examine the possibility that they have a mental disorder, or provide evidence that supports the hypothesis that a person has false memories.
Unlike what happens during psychotherapy, in which information about the behavior of a specific person is also collected and analyzed, in forensic psychological assessment the interests of the psychologist and those of the person being examined do not match. . In fact, one of the tasks of the forensic psychologist is to explore the possibility that the person being examined is lying to assert a side of the story that benefits him or her.
In addition to all this, the branch of forensic psychology is linked to the creation of psychological profiles of criminals to aid in search and capture tasks.
7. Educational and developmental psychology
Almost all branches of psychology direct some of their attention to learning processes, but specialization in educational psychology directs all of their attention to them. The purpose of this branch is apply techniques and strategies to make learning as satisfying as possible, Make a good match between learners and teachers.
In addition, educational psychology includes the concept of “education” in its broadest sense. It is not only about what young people do in school, but also applies to all areas in which learning plays a major role, whether in training courses for workers or in schools. families and communities, which must be adapted to a new situation.
In fact, of educational psychology, more and more importance is given to the need to conceive of education as networking, Which is practiced well beyond schools and academies. This is why part of the efforts of educational psychologists is aimed at bringing together different agents who together play a role in the education of a group of people: teachers, social workers, family members, etc.
Developmental psychology is closely related to educational psychology and is often seen as one and the same. However, the first is more oriented towards behavior changes related to the development of maturation of people and their passage through the different stages of growth, from childhood to old age.
This is used from educational psychology to establish criteria that allow people to know what their learning abilities and limits are, based on their stage of development. For example, the fact that a girl is five years old suggests that she will not be able to learn content that requires the use of moderately elaborate formal logic.
8. Sports psychology
The branch of sports psychology aims to implement strategies for the psychological and physical performance of athletes to lead them to improve their results, both in terms of their individual performance and what this implies in their cooperation and coordination with other people on your team (if there are teams in the sport in question). The goal is to ensure that the psychological dynamics, the strategies learned and the emotional state in which the athlete finds himself lead him to find himself in an optimal situation to squeeze his capacities to the maximum.
Psychologists who choose this branch are involved in many processes that are addressed in clinical and educational psychology, such as following self-instructions, developing good self-esteem and self-image, conflict resolution, habits that have to do with communication during sports sessions, etc.
9. Social psychology
It is one of the most interesting branches of psychology since places particular emphasis on the dimension of what is collective, the relationships between people in a context. Thus, social psychology aims to study how the presence of other people (real or imagined) affects the mental processes of the individual.
It is therefore a specialization which, although it belongs to psychology, is closer to sociology than the other branches. Moreover, being one of the great fields of psychology, it can play an important role in other branches of this discipline: in organizational psychology, in education, etc.
10. Community psychology
Community psychology can be understood as a drift of social psychology oriented towards research and intervention on problems affecting specific communities and localized groups of people.
Its objective is to generate both material changes in the context of these people and new dynamics of relationships between them that improve their quality of life and their decision-making capacity.
In addition, the research and intervention strategies of community psychologists they promote the participation of community members throughout the process.
11. Couple and family psychology
This branch of psychology can be understood as a specialization in clinical psychology that also takes ingredients from social and community psychology and, in the case of couples therapy services, sexology. It focuses on conflict resolution within families and the sessions offered are usually in groups.
12. Basic and experimental psychology
Basic psychology is a branch of psychology entirely focused on research into more general psychological processes related to human behavior. It aims to study the typical psychological processes of mature and healthy human beings, in order to discover the trends and patterns that characterize the entire human population.
This specialty of psychology is therefore responsible for studying basic psychological processes such as memory, attention, reasoning or decision-making, with much more emphasis on the mechanisms on which they are based, in the way in which the context influences them.
- Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; Garcia-Allen, Jonathan. (2016). Psychologically speaking. Paidós. ISBN 9788449332531.
- Vidales, Ismael. (2004). General psychology. Mexico: Limousin. ISBN 9681863739.