If you are fascinated by the way the human brain works, one potential profession for you is that of a psychologist. Psychologists aim to uncover the "whys" behind human behavioral patterns, from developing understandings of motives to figuring out how peoples' social settings affect all of the things they do. If you are serious about pursuing a career as a psychologist, first you need a strong understanding of what the position entails.
A lot of what it means to be a psychologist involves observation and analysis. Psychologists use information they gather from watching people to come to conclusions about their behavior. When psychologists study the actions of humans, they conduct research typically by speaking to many different types of people and by recording their findings for later examination.
Psychologists are important components for helping people getting back on their feet. People who are disturbed emotionally and mentally often receive counsel from psychologists to learn how to adapt to living a normal lifestyle, from holding a regular job to managing healthy family, romantic and friendship relationships. A couple of examples of people who may be disturbed include people with manic depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder. Psychologists also help people deal with substance abuse and addiction. Psychologists not only treat disturbed individuals, but also people experiencing major crises in life, from divorces to the passing away of a loved one.
Counseling individuals and groups -- often through conducting interviews -- is a big part of how psychologists treat people. However, psychologists also integrate a variety of other treatment options for helping people who have mental and emotional difficulties, including hypnosis, psychotherapy and examinations of personality type.
Psychologists can be employed in a wide array of settings. For instance, a psychologist can be hired to work solely alongside one person or in one household. Psychologists also work in nonprofit medical organizations, hospitals, private practices, universities and colleges -- instructing classes on the topic of psychology, schools, counseling centers and in nursing homes.
Many different types of psychologists exist, although the basic foundations are all rooted in understanding the way people think. If you want to enter the field, first determine which specialization appeals best to your talents and interests. Some types of psychologists include research psychologists, school psychologists and developmental and social psychologists. Knowing what specialization you prefer will help you in determining what education you need to pursue. Psychologists need a bachelor's degree in the subject, and it can also help to have a master's or doctoral degree in the field, especially if you want to start an independent practice.
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