Careers in Psychology

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments. They use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors.

Duties of Psychologists

Psychologists typically do the following:

  • Conduct scientific studies of behavior and brain function
  • Observe, interview, and survey individuals
  • Identify psychological, emotional, behavioral, or organizational issues and diagnose disorders
  • Research and identify behavioral or emotional patterns
  • Test for patterns that will help them better understand and predict behavior
  • Discuss the treatment of problems with clients
  • Write articles, research papers, and reports to share findings and educate others
  • Supervise interns, clinicians, and counseling professionals

Psychologists seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior. They use techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation to develop theories about the beliefs and feelings that influence individuals.


Psychologists often gather information and evaluate behavior through controlled laboratory experiments, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy. They also may administer personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. They look for patterns of behavior or relationships between events, and they use this information when testing theories in their research or when treating patients.

The following are examples of types of psychologists:

  • Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Clinical psychologists help people deal with problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions.Clinical psychologists are trained to use a variety of approaches to help individuals. Although strategies generally differ by specialty, clinical psychologists often interview patients, give diagnostic tests, and provide individual, family, or group psychotherapy. They also design behavior modification programs and help patients implement their particular program. Some clinical psychologists focus on specific populations, such as children or the elderly, or on certain specialties, such as neuropsychology.Clinical psychologists often consult with other health professionals regarding the best treatment for patients, especially treatment that includes medication.
  • Counseling psychologists help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, at the workplace, or in their community. Through counseling, these psychologists work with patients to identify their strengths or resources they can use to manage problems. For information on other counseling occupations, see the profiles onmarriage and family therapists,substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, and social workers.
  • Developmental psychologists study the psychological progress and development that take place throughout life. Many developmental psychologists focus on children and adolescents, but they also may study aging and problems facing older adults.
  • Forensic psychologists use psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice system to help judges, attorneys, and other legal specialists understand the psychological aspects of a particular case. They often testify in court as expert witnesses. They typically specialize in family, civil, or criminal casework.
  • Industrial–organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of worklife. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles, and employee morale. They also help top executives, training and development managers, and training and development specialists with policy planning, employee screening or training, and organizational development.
  • Rehabilitation psychologists work with physically or developmentally disabled individuals. They help improve quality of life or help individuals adjust after a major illness or accident. They may work with physical therapists and teachers to improve health and learning outcomes.
  • School psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to education disorders and developmental disorders. They may address student learning and behavioral problems; design and implement performance plans, and evaluate performances; and counsel students and families. They also may consult with other school-based professionals to suggest improvements to teaching, learning, and administrative strategies.

Psychology Requirements

  1. Research and identify the differences between a school, rehabilitation, developmental, industrial and forensic psychologist? What populations do they serve and how do they relate differently to their clients?
  2. Research about Clinical Psychologists and Counseling Psychologists – what are there differences and similarities and identify 2-3 places someone can seek treatment from one of these professionals in Shanghai?
  3. Demonstrate through an illustrative model Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psycho Social Development? Find out what stage you are in, your parents, grandparents and what are the successful goals for each stage. Share this information with our class
  4. Learn and demonstrate understanding the differences in BF Skinner’s Operant Conditioning and Ivan Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning models? Construct an experiment with your counselor’s approval of one of these models and share your hypothesis and experiment results.
  5. Demonstrate the types and core symptoms of these mental illnesses and the biological or environmental factors to each:
    1. Major Depressive Disorder
    2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    3. Bipolar 1 and 2 Disorder
    4. 5 Types of Schizophrenia
    5. Types of Personality Disorders

5.  Learn about and write a report on the different types of treatment modalities (Provide an overview then choose 1 to focus on)

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  2. Psychoanalytical Theory
  3. Group Therapy
  4. Behavioral Therapy
  5. Humanistic Therapy
  6. Integrative or Holistic Therapy

6. Speak with a Psychologist and report to the class about their Educational Training, Current Practice, Joys/Stressors of the work, and why someone would enjoy being a Psychologist. After the interview, prepare a presentation to the class and let us know if this career is of more or less interest to you.