The Main Branches of Psychology

After completing their university studies, psychologists may choose to specialize in one of the many branches of their profession.
The Main Branches of Psychology

Last update: 24 February, 2023

Psychology is a field of human study. It’s subdivided into several different branches. If you’re planning to study this subject, or are curious to know about the different fields in which professionals can develop, we’re going to talk about the main branches of psychology. They range from clinical to forensic psychology. Psychology is a science that studies the mental processes of societies and individuals. Furthermore, it contains many aspects that help in the understanding of human behavior.

The five main branches of psychology

There are many specialties in the field of psychology. However, there are five main branches that encompass the study of mental processes. Professionals in these fields should complement their university studies with a master’s degree in mental health or other specializations. These qualifications allow them to train, either in person or online, in the treatment of patients with psychological disorders. The main branches of psychology are as follows:

1. Clinical and health psychology

This field of psychology integrates two fields that were previously studied individually. Firstly, clinical psychology is devoted to the study, detection, and treatment of mental disorders and clinical mental health cases. Secondly, health psychology investigates the impact of illnesses and general health problems connected with the mind.

Psychologists possess the necessary scientific knowledge to assess, diagnose, interpret, treat, and prevent a wide variety of mental disorders or habitual behaviors that may endanger the physical and mental health of patients. Within this branch, techniques such as cognitive psychology and neuropsychology are used.

2. Social psychology

Social psychology analyzes all the psychological processes and interactions that affect the way in which society functions. It also studies the human interactions that are generated by being part of society. Therefore, its main topics of study are coexistence among people, roles, behavior, and social organizations.

The objective of social psychology is to investigate the influence that human relationships and life in society have on people’s behavior and mental health. In this field, there are some crucial theories. For example, symbolic interactionism, whose roots lie with the sociologist, George H. Mead. He was a professional who developed the study of behavior, language, and gestures as a result of the relationships that are naturally experienced when growing up in a community.

3. Educational psychology

Learning processes and human intellectual development in the field of education are the main subjects studied in educational psychology. In fact, its research, conducted under the scientific framework, aims to improve the teaching and productivity of students. It does so by proposing new educational techniques to optimize the promotion of knowledge.

The main function of every educational psychologist is to improve the teaching system. They also help people, especially children, to discover anything that may interfere with their learning processes. For instance, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and non-verbal learning disorders. This is only possible through psychoeducational intervention, the design of educational programs, and support for both teachers and students

4. Organizational psychology

Most of our lives are spent in places such as schools, universities, companies, and social organizations. Consequently, the personal growth and behavior of individuals depend on their development and healthy interaction within these organizations.

Organizational psychology was known in the past as industrial psychology. It focuses on the investigation of human and collective behavior within an organization (organizational behavior). Its objective is to improve the quality of life of employees, thus achieving greater efficiency in tune with the interests of the company.

5. Forensic psychology

This is a branch of legal psychology. It’s responsible for conducting research and applying special techniques such as victimology, testimony psychology, and criminal psychology. It’s also employed in legal cases where judges and courts need the advice of a professional.

Forensic psychologists usually work in forensic-medical clinics. They work together with the courts to solve cases of rape, child abuse, gender violence, or discrimination cases. In addition, they’re in charge of psychologically evaluating victims and aggressors and presenting their diagnoses and observations before the courts.

Specializing in any branch of psychology requires study

Psychology is an extremely extensive science. It’s divided into many branches depending on the specific specialty. However, the five presented above are some of the most in-demand and widely studied. If you’re a recently graduated psychologist, you shouldn’t hesitate in continuing to cultivate your knowledge by accessing an online or on-site master’s degree so you can specialize in your chosen field.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.