A Psychologist is someone who studies mental processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and the environment. Some psychologists work independently, doing research or working only with patients or clients. Others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians, social workers, and others to treat illness and promote overall wellness.
Psychologists study how people think, feel and behave at an individual, group, organizational and community level. They use this knowledge to help people improve their lives. While some psychologists assess, diagnose and treat people who have a mental illness, many others work with mentally healthy people to find ways of functioning better in a range of situations, such as relationships, in the workplace or in educational institutions.
Psychologists seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior. Depending on the topic of study, psychologists use techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation to develop theories about the beliefs and feelings that influence a person’s actions.
Psychologists often gather information and evaluate behavior through controlled laboratory experiments, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy. They also may administer personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. They look for patterns of behavior or cause-and-effect relationships between events, and use this information when testing theories in their research or treating patients.
Psychologists may find employment in a range of workplaces, including private practice, hospitals, the defense forces, education institutions, the justice system, government departments and private marketing companies. Psychologists in private practice can often set their own hours, and many work part time as independent consultants. They have a high level of contact with members of the public and often deal with highly personal and emotional issues, which must be kept confidential.
Most psychologists work in an office environment and work regular hours, but may travel to visit clients, depending on their specialization.