Written by Jayeesha Taneja, a 2nd-yea…r psychology student
What is psychology?
According to the dictionary definition, psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. It falls into various categories of sciences and arts, when combined we understand psychology as a social science.
Psychology explores all facets of the human mind through its unique experiences with the world within and the one outside. It helps us understand the biological, physiological, and emotional behaviour of humans in all kinds of settings and in all its virtue. There is a presence of psychology and its principles in almost everything that exists and that is built- designing aircraft, flying and operating an aircraft, concentrating on the minor details, and to the very point of interacting with the passengers.
Where do you start? How do you know you can walk on this road?
The first starting point will be your very own curiosity. Your eagerness to know and find answers to ‘why?’. Your observations of the world might drive you to explore more about how humans are the way they are.
In high school, most schools do offer Psychology as a subject in 11th and 12th grade. It will give you a brief understanding of what the subject consists of when it comes to studying, applying, and engaging in research. That can be a possible route you can take to find out yourself if this course is for you or not.
During your undergraduate, you can always explore options and degrees that teach Psychology, its branches, and types. This time, it will be more in-depth and a possible, application of relevant psychological theories. You can also ask a professor for extra guidance and maybe offer your service for extra research work on the side (my suggestion is not to chase them for credits or recommendations but try and learn). Don’t forget to apply for internships. Internships in this area will give you a very clear idea of what you can do in the future, or even if you really want to pursue psychology in the future.
It is necessary to understand that psychology is more than just mental health counseling; there are so many available options one could opt for, like:
- Organizational/industrial psychology
- Aviation psychology
- Sports psychology
- War, and military psychology
- Animal psychology
- Experimental psychology
- Child psychology
- Community psychology, etc..
Whatever interests you, take that path into your graduate studies. You can always work before you decide to go on and study for another degree. It will open many options for you to consider before you take a big leap of faith and take a big chunk out of your bank account.
You have to complete a master’s degree in any one area of psychology to move ahead in pursuit of becoming a psychologist. If you want to practice as a licensed psychologist in India, you might have to follow it up with a Master’s in Philosophy (MPhil.) in your chosen area. You can choose from a wide range of courses offered for specialization, which match with your prerequisites of an ideal course for yourself.
What do you need to be a psychologist?
First and foremost- an inquisitive mind. You need to seek answers, make your questions, and go beyond the possible and apparent. The human mind is more complex than it looks.
The second and very important value which must come naturally to you is empathy. Empathy is present at the very core of psychology, applied and in theory. Along with empathy, you should also be a keen observer; because the answers to the ‘why’ questions lie in the smallest of things, the tiniest of gestures, and the most seemingly unimportant reactions.
You need to be unbiased. Learn to be unbiased and look at every possible side of a response, behaviour, and emotion.
Patience. Patience. Patience. It is a long, time-taking process to reach any firm aspect of study before even coming to a conclusion. Coming to that one aspect also takes a lot of time, experience, study, and opening up.
The difference between Applied and Clinical Psychology
Applied psychology usually involves the application of psychological theories to solve problems in different areas or fields. It can range from organizing a team in a company to training athletes in the track team. Forensic psychology is one such path that involves the application of psychological theories and principles combined with the legalities of the system.
On the other hand, clinical psychology functions more in clinical settings with more in-depth one-on-one interactions. Here, an entire team consisting of a therapist, a counselor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist work together in order to prepare treatment plans and possible courses of action for improving the mental health of a patient.
Institutions known for their work in Psychology
- Lady Shree Ram College for Women, Delhi
- St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
- CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore
- Fergusson College, Pune
- Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
- Manipal University, Mangalore
- BanarasHindu University, Banaras
- Amity University, Noida
- Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi
- Kamla Nehru College, New Delhi
About the author
Jayeesha Taneja is an undergraduate student currently pursuing Bachelor’s in Journalism, Psychology, and English at CHRIST (Deemed to Be) University, Bangalore. Here’s a note from her:
“For me, personally, at a very young age, I knew I wanted to become a psychologist because of my personal experiences (you can study the experiences that drove me to do this. Imagine that!) and from what I experienced second hand. I opted for Humanities in 11th and 12th grade which reinforced my motivation to pursue psychology further in my higher education. I plan on doing a Master’s in Clinical Psychology after I complete my Bachelor’s. That’s my chalked plan till now because I do believe that our growth as humans can also evolve our goals and interests with time.”
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