5 Branches of Psychology

Psychology is a vast subject. It is the study of the way the human mind works and how thoughts affect behaviours.

Because the mind is so complex and there is a lot that we still don’t know about it, psychology is forever evolving. New theories are being created and different 

There are several different types of psychology, all of which can be split into two general categories – practice and research. Both categories are interested in learning more about the complexities of human thoughts and behaviours.

No matter what branch of psychology you choose to enter, you will need a psychology undergraduate degree. All undergrad psychology courses will give you a solid base that you can build upon when you specialise in a specific area of psychology further down the line.

Depending on which specialty you choose, you might end up working in a hospital, clinic, school, or community centre. You may work with children, teenagers, adults, or families.

Here are five branches of psychology.

Behavioural Psychology

Behavioural psychology focuses on the way people’s behaviours are influenced by their thoughts and habits. It is used commonly in psychological therapies and treatments in a variety of settings.

Common strategies used in behavioural psychology include classical conditioning and operant conditioning. These strategies are used to target and change specific behaviours.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is used in healthcare settings and educational facilities to assess and treat patients who are suffering from a range of mental illnesses, including drug addictions, eating disorders, and mood disorders.

It integrates all aspects of health, including cognitive, emotional, physical, and social health to relieve symptoms and distress.

Clinical psychologists work alongside other medical professionals and teachers to create a personalized treatment plan for patients to help them manage or overcome their mental health struggles.

As a clinical psychologist, there is the option to further specialise in research, education, or forensics.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology looks at people’s motivation, emotions, learning, perception, and decision-making skills. Each of these areas of cognition can influence people’s mental processing and perception of the world around them, which can affect their behaviours.

Cognitive psychology is closely associated with neuropsychology and linguistics because it focuses on the way certain areas of the brain and nervous system can affect language and behaviour.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology looks at the way people grow and develop throughout their lifetime, and how their thoughts and behaviours change with age. It mainly focuses on children and teenagers but can extend into adults and geriatrics too.

Psychologists working within this field may observe a child’s behaviour, physical growth, cognitive development, and emotional adaptations over the course of several years.

They look at how environmental circumstances can impact an individual’s psychology and how positive changes can be implemented to improve their development.

Social Psychology

Social psychology focuses on understanding more about human behaviour in social settings. It also seeks to understand more about what influences human behaviour in different social environments.

For example, social psychologists will study the way people interact in groups and how leadership is established, or they may look at how societal pressures lead to conformity.


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