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The Seven Types Of Psychology

Have you ever wondered why psychology has recently gained so much popularity? It is because people want to know what is going on in the minds of others. The mind and the brain have served as an enigma for all of history, and since the inception of the field of psychology, we were finally given some insight into the inner workings of the mind.

While the concept of psychology goes back to ancient civilizations, each with its own understanding of the concept, the formal field of psychology only came into existence in the mid-1800s. As academic fields of study go, it is fairly new. But this field of academia has provided insight into how the mind and the brain work hand-in-hand with each other.

Given its young age, psychology has rapidly developed with a number of sub-disciplines and sub-fields forming. While there is still some debate on how many fields there are, it is generally accepted that there are four major fields, namely clinical, cognitive, behavioral, and biopsychological.

However, there are arguably far more fields of study within psychology, each with an interlinking component to the next. Let us take a deeper look at the wide varieties that exist and what each facet brings to the table in terms of theory and practice.

Choosing The Right Field

The hardest part of choosing to pursue a degree in psychology is deciding what components you are hoping to pursue. The choice is hard only because there are so many options. If you are dead set on choosing psychology as your career path, you will not only need to choose the psychology modules you hope to study but also your minor subjects that will contribute to the field you wish to pursue.

For example, if you are hoping to pursue a career in research psychology, you would need to choose subjects that equip you with the skills of research design and methodology development, as well as data analysis. If you are hoping to go into child psychology or abnormal psychology, you will select courses that would prove to be beneficial to you when you begin practicing as a psychologist.

As we look at the different fields of psychology, it is important to note that there are no clear-cut lines that differentiate each field from the next. Instead, there are a variety of courses that you can take in your psychology program that intertwine and are linked to other courses.

An example of this would be the link between child psychology, developmental psychology, and behavioral psychology, all of which can be seen as different fields within psychology but are all greatly interlinked and intertwined.

While there are believed to be four major fields of psychology, we will delve into seven of the different fields of psychology that are most commonly pursued as career paths.


Biopsychology is the field of psychology where behavior and biology intersect. Basically, it is in this specific field of study that psychologists will study the physiological anatomy of the brain and assess correlating or suspected behavioral differences that are a result of these brain differences.

If someone faces a traumatic brain injury, biopsychologists will assess the patient to determine how these injuries will affect their behavior and further brain development. This field of psychology is heavily based on research that has been done in the past and has proven that certain parts of the brain are responsible for certain functions.

These psychologists also assess the brain's neuroplasticity which is the brain's ability to recover and relearn functions that other parts of the brain are no longer able to carry out.

Through the theories of development, these psychologists can determine if individuals are more inclined to behave a certain way than another, depending on their brain activity.

It is also in psychological testing that biopsychology plays a great role in that companies form and develop personality tests to assess what role a person may be best suited for in the organization. By determining your behavior through simulated responses, companies determine your most expected personality type.

Biopsychology also looks at abnormal behavioral patterns, and criminals who perform heinous crimes are often assessed by biopsychologists to determine if there is any physiological basis for their behavior.

Forensic Psychology

It is here where the law and the mind meet together. Forensic psychology is the meeting point between psychology and the law, and psychologists in this field apply their knowledge and expertise to cases that are specific to civil and state law.

Forensic psychologists will need to understand the law and they would be required to study criminal behavior and treatment. It is up to the forensic psychologist to run screening assessments on those facing criminal charges to determine if they are fit to stand trial.

They not only work closely with law enforcement but with criminals as well. Additionally, forensic psychologists may be called to the stand at any time to provide witness testimony.

Clinical Psychology

This is the type of psychology that many are most familiar with. It is the type of psychologist that is seen most often on television, and it is the idea that pops into our minds when we think of psychology.

Clinical psychology focuses on treating and diagnosing individuals with mental illness. They address behavioral issues, and they devise and establish treatment plans for those suffering from any form of mental illness.

Clinical psychologists are practicing clinicians and they work either in hospital and clinic settings, in private practices, or in state-owned institutions. Working in a variety of different settings, clinical psychologists treat a variety of different patients from children to adults, in a variety of different settings, while working with a team comprised of a variety of different medical experts.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is the field of psychology that delves into why people think or behave the way they do. It looks at thought processes, perception, memory, and other cognitive functions that usually set humans apart from other animals.

Cognitive psychology looks at the conscious and the subconscious mind and how these two aspects of humanity form the fundamental components of humankind.

When thought processes deviate from the expected norm, disorders and problems arise. Through cognitive psychology, anxiety disorders can be diagnosed and treated, as can depression, chronic stress disorders, substance abuse, and much more.

When paying attention to how the individual mind perceives reality, cognitive psychologists can assess if there are any misalignments, and further delve into the workings of the mind by assessing chemical imbalances and other possible contributing factors.

Behavioral Psychology

If you haven't heard of the concept of behavioral psychology or behaviorism, perhaps you have come across the concept of nature versus nurture. Behavioral psychology is rooted firmly in the notion that behavior can be nurtured based on environmental conditioning.

This means that desired behavior can be reinforced by providing individuals with a reward, and bad behavior can be punished by the removal of a positive stimulus. In doing so, you are able to model the desired behavior of an individual.

While this field of psychology has become less popular in recent decades, it is still a greatly respected field.

Developmental Psychology

This field of psychology looks at how certain cognitive, personality, behavioral and environmental factors may impact the development of an individual. Just in the same way as not receiving enough sustenance through food may stunt one's physical growth, certain factors may impact an individual's mental development.

This field of psychology is dedicated to delving into the how and why of such occurrences. This field not only looks at expected evolutionary developments throughout different societies and communities but also works with individuals across the age spectrum to determine how development is influenced by a variety of different factors.

Industrial and organizational psychology

This branch of psychology has gained popularity in recent years since the importance of mental health and employee wellbeing has become a focus for the workforce across the globe. It has been found that the way an organization has been run will affect the mental well-being of those who work at that organization and that the mental well-being of employees affects an organization's success.

Once this correlation was determined, the field of industrial and organizational psychology shot into popularity and now is a primary facet in many workplaces.

Beyond ensuring that employees do not face burnout or other personal and professional challenges that may be detrimental to their mental health, industrial and organizational psychologists also provide counseling and advice on career prospects, human resource divisions, and marketing factors either internally or externally.

Research And Practice

Overall, the field of psychology follows one of two main streams, either research or practice. These two streams work hand in hand with each other to form the most holistic psychological theories and applications that are beneficial and viable courses of action for mental health challenges.

Research in the field of psychology aims to expand the knowledge base and develop psychological theories, and practice is the execution of these theories in the real-world context.

While there are many fields that have not even been touched on, it is important to note that there are many interlinking factors between each subfield of psychology. For example, behavioral and developmental psychology will be closely linked in practice.

Salary And Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists earn a median annual salary of $81,040, with each sub-field earning varying salaries. Industrial and organizational psychologists are recorded to have earned a median annual salary of $105,310, with clinical psychologists earning around $79,510 per year.


Regardless of the field that you choose to pursue, psychology is arguably one of the most fulfilling and exciting career paths to have ever emerged. As a field of study as well as a career, it is a multi-faceted holding space for each person to contribute to the field, regardless of their passions and goals. If helping others is your forte, this field of study holds endless means that you can use to pursue this career.

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