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5 Specialty Areas of Psychology

5 Psychology Specialties

  • Social Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Research Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

The field of psychology has changed greatly since the days of Sigmund Freud. Not all psychologists are therapists and even those who are vary widely in their approaches. Here are five specialty areas of psychology that paint the picture of just how diverse this field has become.

1. Social Psychology

Social psychology is the study of social interactions. This includes social groups and systems, as well as individual factors such as personality. As one might expect based on this definition, social psychology is one of the most relevant specialties in everyday life. This makes social psychology an excellent foundational degree on which to build a wide variety of careers, from sales to civil rights activism.

2. Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational (IO) psychology concerns the relationships between people and their workplaces, and between people within the workplace. Psychologists in this specialty have many options for employment, from working for one specific organization to running a freelance practice to helping multiple organizations with specific projects. Some of the most common tasks of IO psychologists are the design and implementation of occupational training and facilitating professional mediations. IO psychology also concerns the creation of workspaces that promote mental health, a topic which Forbes has highlighted in this article.

3. Health Psychology

Health psychology lies at the intersection between the mental and physical health fields. Recent research supports the importance of addressing the connections between the body and the mind, the influence of mental wellbeing on physical healing, and the physiological damage of stress. Achieving work-life balance is a major theme of interest in health psychology today. Health psychology also plays a huge role in modern medicine careers such as nursing.

4. Research Psychology

Any specialty of psychology has the potential to contain research roles. Earning a degree in every specialty requires the ability to search and review the latest research in the field. Research psychology is the perfect specialty area for those who enjoy this type of work most and are not interested in practicing psychology. Research psychologists dedicate their work to critically analyzing the current state of the field, formulating questions about how to make progress, and designing research studies to answer those questions.

Related Resource: Top 25 Online Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

5. Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is the closest to what most people think of when they hear the term psychology. However, there is more variety within this specialty area than most people realize. Clinical psychologists are those who spend the majority of their days treating patients, and they do so in infinitely different ways. New trends in psychology such as art and music therapy and in-home and in-school sessions have revolutionized psychological therapy and made it accessible to more people.

Patients on couches having their minds picked by intimidating shrinks is the psychology of yesterday. Through specialty areas of psychology such as these, one can combine psychology with other skills and interests to build their dream careers. Psychology has never been more diverse, and the world is benefitting greatly.