What does a Psychologist do?
Psychology is the study of people; their behaviour, motivations,
thoughts and feelings. Psychologists are interested in how people act
as individuals, and interact in groups. They use their understanding
together with counselling and other forms of therapy, to help people
avoid, overcome or control their problems. Psychologists use scientific
methods to record behaviour. All psychologists are likely to be involved
in attending meetings and case conferences, keeping records and
writing up reports.
There are eight main areas of
- clinical psychologists work with people who have
a wide range of mental health problems. They try to reduce
psychological distress in clients through treatments which can include
counselling, therapy or advice
- educational psychologists
work with children and young people experiencing problems in
education. They use a range of techniques including counselling, and
supported learning programmes, to ensure that each child makes the
most of their potential
- occupational psychologists aim to
help businesses improve performance and increase the job satisfaction
of staff. This area can include ergonomics, time management and
human resources management
- forensic psychologists (or
criminological psychologists) apply psychological theory to criminal
investigations. They work with offenders and prison staff, and use
therapy and rehabilitation programmes to modify behaviour
- health psychologists are concerned with public health. They
promote healthy attitudes and behaviour, and help patients and their
families to cope with illness
- counselling psychologists help
people resolve their problems and make decisions for themselves,
particularly at stressful times of their lives
psychologists help athletes at all levels to prepare psychologically for
training, competition, and for times of injury. Exercise psychologists
work with the general public, for example as a result of a GP referral,
to increase exercise participation by using a range of strategies
- neuropsychologists help patients with
brain injuries and neuropsychological diseases to recover or improve
their quality of life. They often work alongside neurosurgeons and
Other areas of psychology have no direct
training route. For example, child psychologists initially train as clinical
psychologists or counselling psychologists (specialising in children).
Alternatively they train in educational psychology and work with
children in education.
What's the working environment like working as a Psychologist?
Working hours depend on duties and the type of psychology practised.
Many psychologists work normal office hours, but some also work
evenings. Part-time work and job sharing may be possible.
Psychologists may work in hospitals, clinics, recreational exercise
settings, schools, businesses and prisons. They are usually office
based but may meet clients in treatment rooms or the client's own
What does it take to become a Psychologist?
As a psychologist, you will need:
- an interest in people, their
abilities and temperaments
- a desire to help other people,
and the ability to maintain a professional distance
- the ability to work as part of a
- a tolerant and patient approach
problem solving and logical thinking skills
- the ability to act in
the best interests of clients, while maintaining confidentiality
- to be accurate and methodical, especially in terms of gathering
and using data
- computer literacy skills.
Psychologist Career Opportunities
Local authorities employ psychologists mainly in education or social
services departments, working in child guidance and community
The Civil Service employs psychologists in the Home
Office, Prison Service, Department for Education and Ministry of
Psychologists specialising in teaching and research
work will be based in schools, colleges and universities.
Psychologists in the private sector work in human resources
management, private practice, market research or freelance
Opportunities are increasing as the importance
of psychology becomes more widely recognised. Currently there are
national shortages of clinical and educational psychologists.
Promotion prospects are good for chartered psychologists. Some
organisations have clearly defined career paths. It may be necessary
to move to another area to find a post initially or for promotion.
If you would like to know anything about Psychologist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below. The British Psychological Society
St Andrew's House
48 Princess Road East
Tel: 0116 254 9568
www.bps.org.uk NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NHS Careers
PO Box 376
Tel: 0845 606 0655