There are multiple subjects and disciplines of study with their own distinct features. Each one of these subjects has some association with human beings. But there is one subject which is completely about human beings. Yes, we are talking of Psychology. Psychology is considered to be a subject under humanities. It delves into human minds to find out how people think and behave and how they grow emotionally and socially.
There are different kinds of living beings on this flat earth. Of these, human beings are considered to be the most intelligent species. This is reflected in the progress this species has made which is there for all of us to see. Not all human beings are alike physically. In the same way, people differ in their thinking processes and how they adapt to thinking of others.
Psychology tries to explain what makes people think differently, how perceptions are formed and in what way we can be a better thinker and doer. So, in simple terms, the purpose of psychology is the betterment of human lives by working on mental models. This betterment is also expected to bring positive changes in society which are always required.
Human life is getting complicated day by day. There is more stress, people have more challenges to face and competition is spreading in all walks of life. In such a situation the role of psychologists assumes more significance. Psychologists help people to cope with stress, assist people suffering from trauma, mental difficulties, and disorders. They may be required to work with individual clients and also a group of people to understand the real causes of these issues and offer possible solutions. If this description interests you and you want to become such a solution provider, consider choosing psychology as your career.
Study of Psychology
Psychology can be chosen as a subject of study in 12th class to learn the basics of the subject. To make an in-depth study you need to study the subject at undergraduate level. So you may opt for B.A. (Honours), B. A. or B.Sc. in Psychology depending on the institution offering the course. However, in order to make a solid career, post-graduation (M.A./M.Sc.) becomes a desirable qualification. Specialization opportunities are available at this level.
Psychology has many branches and you may choose to specialize in one of your likings. Some of these are described belowCognitive Psychology:
Cognitive Psychology is concerned with perception and problem-solving capabilities of the human brain. Under this branch, an effort is made to understand the thinking process, development of thoughts and memory habits. This branch has to bear on all other branches like educational, social and industrial psychology, etc.
Developmental Psychology: As we grow there is a change in our thought processes and our way of looking at things. Developmental Psychology examines such changes occurring from childhood to adolescence and then to old age. It also looks into possible implications of such changes. Both micro and macro issues related to the psychology of people are studied under this.
Educational Psychology: This includes scientific study of how human beings think and behave in an educational setting and how they differ in terms of motivation, intelligence and self-concept when it comes to acquiring education. Under this branch, you may be required to study theory and practical aspects of child and adult learning. Issues like learning disorders are also examined under this. The branch covers assessment methods, classroom management and ways to improve the learning outcome.
Organizational /Industrial Psychology: In organizations and industries, people work together for defined goals. How people perform depends on their skills and motives. Performance is also influenced by the prevailing work environment. This branch of psychology explores ways to create an enabling environment, enhancing motivational levels of the workforce and promote job satisfaction. Many interview panels include expert of this branch of psychology.
Clinical Psychology: One of the most important branches of psychology, clinical psychology blends theory, research and clinical expertise to better understand, prevent and relieve people of psychological issues causing distress or discomfort. Psychotherapy plays a crucial role in Clinical Psychology.
Social Psychology: Social Psychology studies factors that make us behave in a given way in presence of others and social settings. It looks at the conditions under which certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur. Some of the topics covered are social influences, group/inter-personal processes and the aspects related to traits like aggression, prejudice etc.
Sport Psychology: This branch of psychology has evolved in the last few decades. It is an interdisciplinary field bringing together physiology, biomechanics and psychological factors. We all know that only physical strength is not enough to win in sports. One also needs the right mindset to put her best foot forward and persist. Building mental resiliency is the main concern of sports psychology. In many cases sports teams are accompanied by a sports psychologist.
How Psychology and psychiatry are different? In many cases, the terms psychology and psychiatry are used interchangeably which is not correct. Psychology is a social science whereas psychiatry belongs to medical science. If you’re studying medicine, psychiatry can be one of your specializations. A psychiatrist can prescribe medicines. Psychologists may solely provide psychotherapy involving cognitive and behavioral interventions. Psychiatrists are physicians that have specific training in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses. In case of need, a psychologist may refer the client to a psychiatrist. Also in certain cases, psychologists and psychiatrists may be required to work together to offer treatment to a mental patient. To become a psychiatrist one has to study for a longer period as is evident from duration of medical courses. While the two professions are distinct, psychologists and psychiatrists both play important roles in mental health treatment.
Psychology Colleges and Universities in India
Calcutta University was first in India to establish a Department of Psychology. This happened in the year 1915. Since then we have come a long way and now almost every University in the country offers Postgraduate and Doctoral courses in Psychology. Some of these well-known universities are:-
- Banaras Hindu University
- University of Delhi
- University of Pune
- Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya,
- Indore Maharaj Sayajirao University,
- Vadodara Mohanlal Sukhadia University,Udaipur
- Guru Nanak Dev University,Amritsar
- Osmania University,
- Hyderabad University of Madras,
- Chennai University of Hyderabad
- Barakatullah University, Bhopal
- University of Bangalore
- Aligarh Muslim University
- Allahabad University
- Pondicherry University
- Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan
- Punjab University, Chandigarh
- Utkal University, Bhubaneswar
- Kurukshetra University
- Dr. Hari Singh Gour University,Sagar
- Jamia Millia Islamia,Delhi
- North Eastern Hill University, Shillong
- Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur
- University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
- Gujarat University, Ahmedabad
- Calicut University
Many University affiliated colleges also have postgraduate psychology courses.
Last few years have seen a spate of private and deemed to be Universities in the country. Many of these offer Postgraduate level courses in psychology. Here you have to be discreet in the selection of the University. The selection should be based on the reputation of the Institute. Also, make sure that the degree being offered carries the recognition of the Universities Grants Commission.
If any private university is asking for an exorbitant fee, you may ignore it as the same course may be available at much lesser cost at some other good institute. For admission to courses in Psychology, the competition is not as intense as may be in case of courses relating to management and technology. This should not be taken to mean that a qualification in psychology has a lesser importance. Banasthali Vidyapith (deemed to be University for women) in Rajasthan and Manipal Academy of Higher Education are among old private educational institutions having courses in psychology.
National Institute of Mental Health Sciences at Bengaluru and Central Institute of Psychiatry at Ranchi are among well-known institutions for higher studies and research in subjects related to psychology and psychiatry.
Psychology is a research-oriented subject offering ample scope for higher study and research. Opportunities are available at Universities and specialized Institutes in India and abroad. To pursue a Ph.D., one needs to fulfill UGC requirements. Research psychologists use scientific methods to build on available studies, collect data, examine results, and then report findings in their research thesis/paper.
Human Resource Management/ Development (BBA/MBA with specialization in HR), Social Work (Bachelor/ Master in Social Work), Education (Bachelor/Master in Education) are few of the courses more aligned with psychology. It means if somebody is a graduate in psychology, she may go for courses like MBA (HR), MSW etc. and if someone has a degree like M. Ed. / MSW etc., a theme from psychology may be chosen for doctoral study. These are only illustrations and a decision in the matter should be taken on the basis of your specific aptitude and resources and time available to you.
Career opportunities in Psychology in India
As a psychologist you may get an opportunity to work with educational institutions (schools/ colleges/ universities/ Management/ Engineering Institutes etc.), hospitals, health clinics, juvenile homes, nongovernmental organizations, advertising agencies, rehabilitation centres, HR consultancies, disaster management institutes etc. Teaching careers are widely available.
Working on your own
With a high qualification in psychology and possibly with some experience, it is possible to work on your own or work from home. Not many subjects offer such an opportunity. If your specialization is in clinical psychology you may treat people suffering from mental disorders, trauma, depression etc. Others may work as family counselors, marriage counselors, career counselors etc. With dedication and professional integrity, you may build your name and expand your reach. Opportunity is available to work as a freelancer also by offering your services to schools, colleges, old age homes, advertising/market research agencies, hospitals and other institutions/organizations.
Traits for success In Psychology Career
To have a successful career in psychology the required traits are keen observation, willingness to help people, strong communication skills, analytical ability, patience and perseverance among others. One also requires a basic sensitivity towards people and need to be ethical in approach. All such skills and traits can be developed with positive and sincere efforts. Psychology is an area in which you derive satisfaction in helping people to lead a good, balanced and peaceful life, overcome mental problems and enrich people’s social, family and workplace relationships. In general, it is not a career of fancy designations and regular promotions. So if the subject genuinely interests you, only then you will enjoy your work and career in psychology. However, your graduate qualification in psychology will work for other jobs like banking, civil services etc. as well.