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How Do You Specialize a Psychology Degree in Abnormal Psychology?

Abnormal PsychologyPerhaps you’ve always been interested in human behavior that deviates outside the norm, and you’re interested in learning how to specialize a psychology degree in abnormal psychology. Fortunately for you, there are a number of ways you can specialize your coursework in the area of abnormal psychology and find career options related to the field. Let’s examine what abnormal psychology is, what kinds of educational opportunities are available in the subject and the types of careers you might consider within the field.

About Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology is the study of psychological issues or disorders that dysfunctional behaviors. Such conditions falling under the umbrella of abnormal psychological issues include schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Those who are employed in this field study behaviors that cause people difficulties in everyday functioning. They also work directly with clients to teach healthier behaviors and ways to overcome or manage the issues that are causing them distress.

Tools used on the job include personality inventories, intelligence tests, observations and interviews. Professionals in the behavioral and mental health field consult the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its fifth edition, to identify whether patients exhibit the characteristics required to be assigned a particular mental health diagnosis.

Educational Components

There are a number of options available for those wishing to specialize a psychology degree in abnormal psychology. At the bachelor’s or master’s level, you will study topics such as psychological theories relevant to the study of abnormal psychological behavior, the kinds of disorders in this category and diagnosis procedures, as well as the ethics involved in psychological treatment. It is also possible to go on for a doctoral degree in psychology to attain further credentials, leading to additional career opportunities. The type of job you can pursue depends on your level of education, along with other factors such as practical experience.

At the master’s or doctoral level, you will may need to pass a licensure exam or undergo a practical experience such as an internship, depending on your program or the state in which you live. These requirements will help to provide you with the hands-on experience and competencies you need in order to feel confident in your skills to work directly with clients.

Career Options

Your educational background in abnormal psychology can lead to a number of job types like clinical psychology, counseling psychology or rehabilitative psychology. With a bachelor’s level degree, you might work as a drug and alcohol counselor, rehabilitation assistant, case manager or psychiatric technician. Master’s level practitioners may look for positions as a psychotherapist or clinical social worker. Should you decide to go on for a doctorate, you could become a clinical psychologist, psychological researcher or a professor, according to the American Psychological Association.

There are a variety of settings in which you could work. It’s possible to set up a private counseling practice or to join a group practice. Mental health clinics, juvenile detention centers, correctional facilities, schools, rehabilitation centers and residential group homes are other common locations for behavioral and mental health practitioners to be employed.

Entering the field of psychology is a decision that can be quite fulfilling, along with challenging. As you can see, there are many ways in which to specialize a degree in abnormal psychology.