PsychologyPsychology is a collection of academic, clinical and industrial disciplines concerned with the hows and whys of behavior, thought-processes, emotions, motivations, relationships, potentials and pathologies. It might be said that many related disciplines live under the same name including: experimental psychology, which focuses on basic and applied science; humanistic psychology, which uses qualitative research rather than conventional statistical methods to investigate the subjective experience of human beings; clinical and counselling psychology, which focus primarily on helping people overcome or better manage pathologies as well as transcend perceived limitations; and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which applies psychological principles to people working in organizations.
Psychology differs from sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science, in part, by studying the behavior of individuals (alone or in groups) rather than the behavior of the groups or aggregates themselves. While psychological questions were asked in antiquity (c.f., Aristotle's De Memoria et Reminiscentia or "On Memory and Recollection"), psychology emerged as a separate discipline only recently. The first person to call himself a "psychologist", Wilhelm Wundt, opened the first psychological laboratory in 1879.
The root of the word psychology (psyche) means "soul" or "spirit" in Greek, and psychology was sometimes considered a study of the soul (in a religious sense of this term), though its emergence as a medical discipline can be seen in Thomas Willis' reference to psychology (the "Doctrine of the Soul") in terms of brain function, as part of his 1672 anatomical treatise "De Anima Brutorum" ("Two Discourses on the Souls of Brutes").
Until about the end of the 19th Century, psychology was regarded as a branch of philosophy. experimental psychology, as introduced by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879 at Leipzig University in Germany, did not contain any religious implications. In the 1890s, Sigmund Freud invented and utilized a therapeutic method of uncovering repressed wishes, known as psychoanalysis. Since then, psychology typically considered primarily behavior (e.g., the behaviorism of John B. Watson and later psychologists), the mind (i.e., cognitive psychology), or both. Today it would be rare to find someone who considered psychology the study of immaterial minds, let alone souls. However, there are many psychologists who believe in the soul and bring spirituality into their psychological work. Of course, like all sciences that have broken off from philosophy, purely philosophical questions about the mind are still studied by philosophers; the name of the philosophical subdiscipline which studies those questions is philosophy of mind or philosophical psychology.
Experimental psychology, the field founded by Wilhelm Wundt and William James, focuses on general and basic questions concerning behavior, mental states, or both, including theories of pathology which are also important to clinical psychology.
Humanistic psychology emerged in the 1950’s in reaction to both behaviorism and psychoanalysis. It stresses a phenomenological view of human experience and seeks to understand human beings and their behavior by conducting qualitative research. The humanistic approach has its roots in existentialist thought (see Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre and Kierkegaard). The founding theorists behind this school of thought are Abraham Maslow who presented a ‘hierarchy of human needs’; Carl Rogers who created and developed ‘client centered therapy’ and Fritz and Laura Perls who helped create and develop ‘gestalt therapy’.
Clinical and counseling psychology both focus on understanding and treatment of behavioral or mental problems. Psychiatry is the medical field specializing in mental health issues, thereby overlapping with clinical psychology. Clinical and counselling psychologists often work in co-operation with psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and 'lay' counselors. Psychiatrists are often involved in providing psycho-pharmacological care including anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic and mood-stabilizing medication. Services aimed at mental or behavioral problems are also often provided by traditional healers and religious counselors. Fields such as neuroscience, political science, immunology, media studies and gender studies have also come to be seen as closely related to psychology.
Applied psychology is a more general term, referring not just to clinical applications but also to education, counseling, industry/organizational psychology, ergonomics, (and so on, please list if you can think of some).
Topics in psychology
Major Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Schools of Thought
List of psychologists
Divisions and Approaches in Psychology (these might be overlapping, of course)
- analytical psychology
- behavioral medicine
- behavioral psychology
- biobehavioral health
- biological psychology
- cognitive psychology
- cognitive neuroscience
- clinical psychology and counselling psychology
- critical psychology
- developmental psychology
- educational psychology
- evolutionary psychology
- experimental psychology
- health psychology
- individual differences psychology
- industrial and organizational psychology
- medicinal psychology
- medical psychology
- personality psychology
- physiological psychology
- popular psychology, self-help, and alternative therapy
- positive psychology
- psychotherapy a branch of psychiatry as well.
- social psychology
- transpersonal psychology
- artificial consciousness
- cognitive science
- complex systems
- computer science and captology
- economics and marketing
- game theory
- linguistics and especially psycholinguistics
- literature, literary theory, and critical theory
- neurolinguistic programming
- philosophy of mind
- philosophy of psychology
- simplicity theory
- systems theory