How Does Psychology Work?

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Psychology: The Basics

  • Psychology is the study of the human mind's thought processes, behavior. Psychology is largely scientific and involves theories, processes and experimentation in order to get a better understanding of how people's minds work. With society constantly changing and technology vastly improving, psychology will be a never-ending study. Regardless of how you approach it, psychology isn't limited to couches, nor is it limited to labs. Psychology works because people believe that once you study the mind's behavior you begin to learn more about others and, most importantly, about yourself.

Beyond The Couch

  • Some largely attribute psychology to "head shrinking" and people lying on couches telling their life stories to a stranger, but there is much more to the field than that. For example, behavioral psychology can study behavior among humans and animals. Academic psychologists can focus on testing people's intelligences in various aspects of study or fields. The main test that determines a person's general IQ score, the WAIS III, can only be distributed by psychologists with a master's degree or higher. Industrial psychologists focus on people's mindsets, behaviors and interactions around the work place.


  • How psychology works for counselors is defined by even more theories and studies. Psychotherapists specialize in "talk therapy" to help people solve whichever problems they need solved. Psychotherapists can sometimes use cognitive behavioral therapy to help a person solve issues. That involves laying out a person's thought processes and life events out on paper or from a "logical" perspective and developing step-by-step plans to reach a certain goal. Psychoanalysts would look into a person's relationships with their parents and unconscious thoughts (and sometimes unconscious "collective" thoughts) to reach goals. Postmodern psychotherapists would analyze a person's current situation and relationships and attempt to help change behavior by observing and sometimes "joining" in as an ally, enemy, family member or friend to point out various details that can be eye opening to a patient. Could you imagine being in a psychologist's office and in the middle of your speech he gets up and walks out of the room for a few minutes just to break up your natural rhythm? It can happen in a postmodern psychotherapist's office.

Group Therapy

  • Group therapy is also a way that psychologists can help people. They manage small groups of people and facilitate discussions so that others can benefit from their own shared or different experiences. They learn how to ask questions for the benefit of the group and help create guidelines that groups can agree on. For example, people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have shown to benefit more from group therapy than any other because PTSD suffers feel that no one can understand the trauma-except maybe others who had the same experience.


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