Psychologists are the people you call when you are having relationship problems or when you need to talk about your feelings. They analyze your behaviour and think about why you make the decisions you make.
Today, the field of psychology is extremely broad, with a range of sub-specialties and treatment approaches. Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes; they offer therapy; they consult with clients; they conduct research; they teach; they write books—the list goes on and on.
Is psychology hard?
It's a challenging field to get a handle on because of the variety of tasks that fall under the umbrella of "psychologist."
Here are some things you should know about what psychologists actually do:
The majority of psychologists work for a private practice that exists to serve people who require psychological services. Psychologists in private practices typically have an office space where they can meet with their clients face-to-face. These practice settings are flexible, which is why many people prefer them to other kinds of jobs in the field. In private practice, psychologists can decide how many hours they want to work each week and how much time they want to spend seeing patients. They often work closely with other professionals in the mental health field such as psychiatrists or clinical social workers.
It's not all about sitting in an office, though; there are also psychologists who might travel to disaster areas to help survivors deal with the aftermath of manmade or natural disasters, or psychologists who go overseas to help troops overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they return home from war.
Psychologists are a diverse group of professionals, and their personalities and areas of focus vary. You might find a psychologist who spends his days performing research or teaching in an academic setting, where he gets to spend time with like-minded people who share his passion for understanding the human mind. Or you could be working with a clinical psychologist, perhaps discussing your anxieties about the upcoming school year or working with a psychiatrist to better understand why you have difficulty concentrating or sleeping.