The field of psychology is a diverse and varied subject made up of many different areas of study and practice. In the United States, there are fourteen recognized specialties in professional psychology. There are six additional proficiencies acknowledged by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Clinical Neuropsychology is a sub-field where clinicians evaluate the relationship between the brain and behavior. Clinical neuropsychologists are responsible for assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients of all ages with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions.
Clinical Health Psychology
Clinical Health Psychology focuses on the relationships between behavior, emotion, cognition, social interactions and biological functioning. Psychologists in this specialty are responsible for promoting and maintaining mental and physical health, preventing and treating illness or disability and working to improve the health care system.
Psychoanalysis in Psychology
Psychoanalysis in Psychology is a specialty within psychology that is based in the teachings of Dr. Sigmund Freud. While many of the techniques and methods are similar to those taught by Freud, there have been many advances in this field of study. The psychoanalytic theory covers topics such as human development, abnormal and normal behavior, social behavior, cognitive processes, affective reactions and conscious and unconscious mental processes.
School Psychology is a sub-field that applies principles of both clinical psychology and educational psychology to improve education and learning. School psychologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating children and adolescent with behavioral and learning problems. These professional are well versed in general psychology, child and adolescent development, child and adolescent psychopathology, education, family and parenting practices, learning theories, and personality theories.
Clinical psychologists are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, predicting, preventing and treating psychopathology, mental disorders and other problems. Their goal is to help the patient work towards improvement in pro-social behavior, adaptation to their specific environment, personal effectiveness and overall sense of well being.
Clinical Child Psychology
Clinical child psychology is the scientific study of changes that occur throughout prenatal developmental, infancy, childhood and adolescence. Clinicians in this specialty are concerned with physical, mental, emotional and social development.
Counseling Psychology is a specialty that includes both research and application in: counseling process and outcome, supervision and training, career development and counseling and prevention and health.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology applies the psychological and scientific principles to individuals and groups in the workplace. Industrial Psychology focuses on the management of employees, overall organizational effectiveness, the proper use of human resources and well being for people in the workplace.
Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology
Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology focuses on an experimental-clinical approach, which uses the principles of human learning, development and the theories of cognitive processing. These are combined to promote pro-social behavior to replace maladaptive behavior and cognition.
Forensic Psychology is the application of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. Forensic psychologists address issues such as crime prevention, rehabilitation programs in prisons, courtroom dynamics, jury selection, psychology and the law and select ideal candidates for policework.
Family psychologists focus on the prevention of family conflict, the treatment of marital and family problems and the maintenance of normal family functioning. They may work with individuals, couples or whole families.
Researchers in the psychology of aging (geropsychology) use the principles of Sociology, Biology, Psychology and other scientific disciplines to study the factors associated with adult development and aging.
Police & Public Safety Psychology
Police and public safety psychology is concerned with assisting law enforcement and public agencies in carrying out their missions and societal functions with effectiveness, safety, health and conformity to laws and ethics.
The specialty of sleep psychology studies problematic and normal sleep patterns and evaluates and treats sleep disorders. These professionals study behavioral, psychological and physiological factors that underlie normal and abnormal sleep patterns.
Six Areas of Proficiency in Psychology
The six areas that have been noted as areas of proficiency by the APA are Applied Biofeedback, Psychophysiology, Psychopharmacology, Treatment of Alcohol and other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders, Sport Psychology, Assessment and Treatment of Serious Mental Illness and Personality Assessment.
Students interested in a Psychology Degree have the opportunity to study one or more of these very interesting areas of psychology. Because there is so much variance in the study and practice of psychology, almost everyone can find a sub-specialty that sparks their interest. If you are interested in one of these fourteen specialties in Psychology, a Psychology Degree might be the right option for you.