What are the 12 Types of Psychology?


Psychology is a diverse and multifaceted field. Often when we discuss the subtypes in the field of psychology, the most common ones discussed are clinical or counselling psychology. In this article, we delve into the various types of psychology, we understand how rich the various branches of psychology are and how various avenues of opportunities are open for people interested in pursuing psychology.

Also Read: A Beginner’s Guide to Psychology

1. Social Psychology

Social Psychology focuses on human behaviour in social situations. It is a branch of psychology that talks about how people think, feel and act when placed under certain social interactions with their environment and society. The three main focus in social psychology is —

  • Social Thinking
  • Social behaviour
  • Social influence

Some of the popular questions that social psychology tries to provide an answer for are — Are people inherently good or evil? How do groups form and how to resolve group conflicts? What is the role of biological and environmental factors in shaping us?

2. Forensic Psychology

As the name suggests, forensic psychology has to go with criminal and legal investigations. It is a branch of psychology used to aid the criminal justice system. It combines both the practice of law and of psychology. It is a relatively new field that was officially recognised only in the year 2001.

3. Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary Psychology is a perspective that aims to analyse how thought, behaviour and action are influenced by the forces of evolution. This perspective is based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and states that certain traits and characteristics as well as patterns of behaviour are influenced by evolution. Evolutionary Psychology studies how individuals mentally adapt to the ever-changing environment surrounding them and how this change in the environment affects their cognitive functions, behaviour, and structure of the brain.

4. Sports Psychology

Sports psychology is the field of psychology that studies how psychological factors have an influence on sports. It also takes into account how these factors can affect athletic performance, exercise, as well as physical activity (Cherry & Morin, 2023)

Sports psychology can be further divided into different types —

  1. Education Sports Psychology: How psychological methods can be used to influence and improve athletic performance using techniques like goal setting and imagery.
  2. Clinical Sports Psychology: To deal with athletes who have mental health issues like anxiety and depression. A clinical sports psychologist will aid an athlete to improve their mental health while simultaneously improving their athletic performance.
  3. Exercise Psychology: A psychologist in this field works with people who aim to make working out and daily exercising a regular habit. The same type of techniques are employed here as in professional sports settings.
5. Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology focuses primarily on mental disorders. It is the branch of psychology that aims to define assess and diagnose mental and emotional disorders and provide an accurate treatment for them with therapy and intervention. Individuals who are experts in the field of clinical psychology work in diverse settings like hospitals, clinics, and schools and even set up their own private practice. It involves practicality. This means that psychological theories are used for practical application.

6. Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology focuses on the brain and human behaviour. It examines the structure of the brain and how that influences how we think, act and feel. Neuropsychology focuses on the brain and its functions. Thereby, it analyses what part of the brain is responsible for what specific function and how damages and abnormalities to the brain structure can lead to dysfunctions. Neuropsychology also takes into account and studies neurological illnesses like strokes, epilepsy, etc.

7. Cognitive Psychology

Cognition refers to the mental processes that are active when we think, use language, engage in the process of perception, and attention, learn something new or the process of memory. In extension, cognitive psychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the study of mental processes such as “thinking,” “memory,” “problem-solving,” and “language.” It explores how people perceive, process, store, and retrieve information.

8. Industrial and Organisational Psychology

As the name suggests, industrial and organisational psychology studies psychological theories and applies them to human behaviour in the workplace. The industrial component focuses on how groups and individuals function and behave in the organisation and the organisational component focuses on explaining and understanding the structure and functioning of the organisation. Some of the concepts covered in this branch of psychology include methods of evaluating employees like employee appraisal, selection and placement of employees and training and development of employees. It also covers concepts like job satisfaction employee motivation and effective leadership styles.

Read more: Ways to Take More Responsibility in the Workplace

9. Educational Psychology

Educational psychology focuses on how psychological concepts can be applied to educational and school settings. It aims to understand how individuals learn in educational settings. The knowledge that one acquires from studying educational psychology is applied to improve teaching methods and the educational system. At the same time, it also pays attention to how all learners are diverse and have different needs. Educational psychology focuses on cognitive development like problem-solving, attention and memory, individual differences in learning style that are characterised by intelligence and motivation, assessment and testing, and much more. The role of an educational psychologist is to create a supportive learning environment for everyone.

10. Health Psychology

Health psychology studies and explains how factors such as biological, social and psychological have an impact on our health and illness. Medical psychology and behavioural medicine are some of the names that are used interchangeably with the term health psychology. Health can be impacted by a lot of factors. While it is true that many illnesses are contagious or caused due to hereditary, psychological factors as well as social factors do have a profound effect on well-being. Therefore, the job of a health psychologist is to understand how people react and cope with the issues and disorders. It studies how individuals recover from their illness.

11. Positive Psychology

Positive psychology follows a simple concept. It believes that positivity — positive thoughts and attitudes are the hallmark of good health and well-being. To simplify, positive psychology focuses on an individual’s ability to thrive and flourish in day-to-day life with satisfaction, happiness and all other positive qualities. Positive psychology encourages individuals to focus on their goals and set goals that are meaningful. It also emphasises an individual’s strengths rather than weaknesses.

12. Environmental Psychology

This branch of psychology studies how the environment affects its inhabitants. To elaborate, it refers to how human beings interact and are affected by their surroundings. The basic idea behind this psychology is that human beings and the environment affect each other mutually or in other words, are in a mutual transactional relationship. This means that one cannot attempt to understand human psychology without taking into account the environment they live in. Environmental psychology aims to understand how, why and when people behave and act in certain ways in certain environmental contexts.

Psychology is a diverse field and a wide array of topics to cover. Aside from these 12 types of psychology, there are many more that need to be added to the discussion. Delving into the types of psychology helps us gain an understanding of how multifaceted and diverse this field is. It allows us to see how psychology as a field has continued to evolve.

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