is an academic and applied discipline
that involves the scientific study
of mental functions
. Psychology has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases, and by many accounts it ultimately aims to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner
or researcher is called a psychologist
and can be classified as a social
, or cognitive scientist
. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior
, while also exploring the physiological
processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.
Psychologists explore concepts such as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychologists of diverse orientations also consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some--especially clinical and counseling psychologists--at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science", with psychological findings linking to research and perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, and the humanities, such as philosophy. (Full article...)
Clinical psychology is an integration of the science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective and behavioural well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is regulated as a health care profession.
The field is often considered to have begun in 1896 with the opening of the first psychological clinic at the University of Pennsylvania by Lightner Witmer. In the first half of the 20th century, clinical psychology was focused on psychological assessment, with little attention given to treatment. This changed after the 1940s when World War II resulted in the need for a large increase in the number of trained clinicians. Since that time, two main educational models have developed--the Ph.D. scientist-practitioner model (requiring a doctoral dissertation and therefore research as well as clinical expertise) and, in the U.S. the Psy.D. practitioner-scholar model. (Full article...)
- "Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or even cares." -- Daniel Dennett