Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, according to the American Psychological Association. It is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior.
The American Psychological Association adds that it “embraces all aspects of the human experience, from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged.”
Branches of Psychology
Clinical Psychology integrates science, theory, and practice in order to understand, predict and relieve problems with adjustment, disability, and discomfort. It promotes adaption, adjustment, and personal development. A clinical psychologist concentrates on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human performance throughout a person’s life, across varying cultures and socioeconomic levels. Clinical psychology can help us to understand, prevent, and alleviate psychologically-caused distress or dysfunction, and promote an individual’s well-being and personal development. Psychological assessment and psychotherapy are central to the practice of clinical psychology, but clinical psychologists are often also involved in research, training, forensic testimony, and other areas.
History of Psychology
In a philosophical context, psychology was around thousands of years ago in ancient Greece, Egypt, India, Persia, and China.
Types of Therapy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 children aged 2–8 years old in the United States have a diagnosed mental, developmental, or behavioral disorder. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that although 10% of children and teenagers worldwide have a mental condition, most do not seek help or receive supportive services. There are various types of child therapy based on theories that hold different assumptions about people, behaviors, development, and learning.
The psychodynamic theory posits that behaviors are rooted in unconscious thoughts. With this type of therapy, a therapist explores the connection between the unconscious and a person’s behavior. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to encourage a person to process and gain insight into their experiences and emotions.
Humanistic therapy, or person-centered therapy, sees a person as the best resource in understanding themselves. With this approach, a therapist plays a supportive role. They provide an emotionally and psychologically safe environment and invite a person to process their experiences and reflect on how these have impacted their self-worth.
The behavior theory posits that all behaviors are learned and, therefore, modifiable. It suggests that when undesirable behaviors or thoughts are rewarded, it reinforces the behavior. A behavior therapist encourages and rewards new behaviors while aiming to reduce undesirable ones.
Cognitive therapy is based on the belief that situations or events activate distorted thinking, resulting in maladaptive behaviors and negative emotions. A cognitive therapist aims to get a person to examine and address their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors to help them reach their goal.