What Is Psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and brain. Psychology includes all the studies of unconscious and conscious behaviors, thoughts and feelings. It is an ever growing academic field of tremendous scope.
There are various areas of specialization in psychology. There may be a conflict between science and psychology as some areas of psychology are subjective and have no objective basis. For example, many psychologists may work on cognitive behavioral therapy for individuals with anxiety disorders. However, they are not psychologists who specialize in developmental or social cognitive therapy as these are entirely different from cognitive and behavioral therapy.
Nevertheless, a psychologist who specializes in social or developmental psychology treats patients who have dysfunctional relationships, problematic parenting, abuse, violence, poverty and other related psychological issues. One may ask what makes them different from psychologists who practice cognitive behavioral therapy. A cognitive behavioral therapist will use scientific methods, like neuropsychological tests, self-report questionnaires and observation, to treat his or her patients. On the other hand, a psychologist specializing in developmental psychology will use psychological principles, like family therapy, theory of change and child modeling, to treat his or her patients. He or she will help his or her patient to develop a healthy relationship to other people and strengthen interpersonal skills. If you were suffering from Bulimia and decided to join a diet program, your psychologist would most probably refer you to a therapist, who will be a dietitian, counselor, nutritionist or psychiatrist.
In addition to these, psychologists may work as consultants and trainers. A consultant will help design an intervention program for a client based on the client’s behavior, personality and other unique characteristics. A trainer, on the other hand, will use scientific techniques to help her or him to administer tests that are relevant to the client’s problems. The test results will be used to customize the intervention plan.
How do we know that psychology is a scientific study? For a long time, psychologist could not get their ideas accepted by other psychologists, because they argued that a psychological theory could not be objectively verified. However, since the 1960s, when James Rotton and Philip Zimbardo published their book about Psychology and Human Behavior, other psychologists have been able to publish research papers that can be replicated using a proper methodology. This means that after a series of independent investigations, psychological theories can be critically examined using the same procedures and the same testing procedures used by the critics. This has made psychologists much more credible in the eyes of the general public.
Just like in any other subject, there are also opposing sides when it comes to the debate on whether or not psychology is science. Some psychologists think that science is limited to the tests and experiments that can be conducted with a certain amount of success. Therefore, they do not believe that psychological theories can be tested objectively. On the other hand, there are some psychologists who agree that psychology is a real science and that psychological test results can in fact be used as scientific data. Basically, these people believe that all psychological theories can be proven through the use of various test results and observations.
Basically, psychology is concerned with the causes and explanations for human behavior. However, just like in any other part of science, there are differing opinions when it comes to the definition of science. For instance, while evolution is considered to be a theory in the field of biology, psychology is not considered to be an exact science. The explanations for human behavior are continuously being discovered and rediscovered through the years.
All that being said, if you want to know what psychology is all about, then it would be best if you look for a qualified psychologist to conduct a session with you. If you have bad personal experiences with a psychologist in the past, then seeking a second opinion might help you decide whether to go for a psychologist or not. Moreover, there are many websites that you can visit to know more about the background of a psychologist and their area of specialization. After you conduct your own research, you will be able to determine which type of psychologist will be the best for you.