• Menu
  • Menu

Psychology

When we ask most people what psychology is, the first image that comes to mind is that of the psychologist treating a patient, probably lying on a sofa. However, clinical psychology is only one of the specialities of psychology, a much broader science that studies human behaviour and psyche in all possible areas of action. This means that wherever there are people, a psychologist will have a job.

The specializations of psychology

Psychology is the science that studies the human psyche, which means that its findings can be applied in several areas. Each of these branches of psychology is a discipline. All the specializations of Psychology have a common basis but concretely deepen the different contexts in which the problem occurs. In the same way that a doctor can specialize in cardiology or pulmonology, a psychologist can also specialize in several disciplines.

What are the specializations of psychology?

Psychology of education and development

It is the discipline of psychology that is dedicated to the analysis and improvement of teaching and learning, meaning teaching and learning those processes that take place within a school or family unit. The educational psychologist works with both the teacher and the student, which implies contact with children and young people, but also with teachers and parents.

The educational psychologist will study teaching methods, how they influence students and how to perfect them. It will also analyze the learning strategies used by students and how to optimize them. He will be responsible for understanding the type of relationship that the student establishes with his family and how this favours or hinders school learning.

Clinical psychology and / or health psychology

This specialization of psychology is essentially responsible for the relationship between health and disease in the field of the human psyche. It includes the simple orientation of a teenager in the field of sexuality to psychotherapy to treat mental disorders such as phobias or depression.

Within clinical psychology, different specialitiescan be developed at the same time such as psycho-oncology, psycho-immunology, child psychology, the psychology of the third age.

Others specialize in couple and family psychology, a specialization in psychology that analyzes the individual in the context of his closest relationships.

Health psychology, on the other hand, mainly focuses on the analysis of the psychological health process. It analyzes mind-body relationships, especially starting from the effect of illnesses, both eminently psychological and physical, and looks for healthy models that favour a good psychological balance. As a result, the health psychologist does not treat disorders directly but is primarily involved in mental health prevention plans. He, therefore, performs a purely prophylactic work.

Both specializations of psychology, however, converge in dealing with less serious problems such as orientation in coping styles of stressful situations and pain, for example, with the aim of helping people to better understand what is happening to them, to assume problems from a different perspective and, ultimately, practising a healthier lifestyle.

Neuropsychology

In some cases, neuropsychology is considered a branch of clinical psychology, but its importance is such that it has gained a position of its own among the disciplines of psychology.

Some of the main fields of application of Neuropsychology are the diagnosis and rehabilitation of neurological disorders, but in recent times, given the progress in brain analysis techniques, this branch of Psychology is extending to other fields, so we have seen the birth of specializations such as Neuromarketing, which analyzes the impact of advertising messages on the brain and how this influences the consumer’s purchasing decisions and desires.

Work or institutional psychology

This specialization of psychology focuses on companies, taking on the task of analyzing and understanding the relationships that the person establishes with the production process. For this, it is essential to analyze the relationship of the person with the work they do: their motivations for the work they do, their interests, expectations and the level of satisfaction they have with their occupation. But also the relationships with the rest of the collaborators: the organizational climate, the level of satisfaction starting from the relationships that are established and the type of communication that prevails.

Psychology of Advertising or Marketing

Marketing psychology has emerged from the psychology of organizations as it is also focused on satisfying the needs of companies. In this case, it’s about increasing sales through advertising.

The psychologist who is dedicated to this sector deals with the design and promotion of products on the market. It is the exciting world of analyzing the target to which a particular product is directed in order to optimize its most attractive features.

He must apply knowledge from different branches of psychology to understand which products or services are most interesting to customers. It also analyzes the needs and purchasing habits of consumers, to present the most interesting products that fit their profile and optimize the return on investment.

Marketing psychology is also responsible for branding or branding processes to help companies stand out from the competition and bring value to their consumers. These psychologists must specialize in communication techniques, text analysis and, of course, subliminal advertising techniques. They are usually included in the company’s marketing departments to help create and develop marketing plans and advertising campaigns, so they have to work with different professionals from the most diverse fields.

Forensic psychology

It focuses on the analysis of criminal processes.

It determines the degree of truthfulness of the testimonies and the conditions of emotional stability of the prisoners, diagnosing the degree of intentionality in the crimes. It also assesses the psychological damage in the victims. In a forensic assessment process, the psychologist has the goal of examining the person to see if he suffers from any disorder that could represent a mitigating factor in criminal acts, has false memories or is lying.

In this regard, knowledge of graphology and behavioural deviation is necessary, as well as the main psychopathologies and child psychology. Although this specialization is not highly sought after among psychologists, it requires a thorough understanding of all disciplines of psychology. In addition, its role is also key in the creation of psychological profiles of criminals that will help in the search and capture.

Sports Psychology

It is the branch of psychology dedicated to evaluating and enhancing sports performance, so it will resort to psychological techniques that allow the athlete to improve their physical performance. The sports psychologist works equally on an individual level with athletes as well as with teams.

At an individual level, there are visualization techniques that, for example, allow the athlete to refine movements and improve results. In addition, we work on motivation and empowerment, while training the tools so that they can face the pressure of training and competitions without suffering a breakdown.

In the case of teams, in addition to motivation, we usually also work to promote a good climate that improves performance and resolves possible conflicts between members. Leadership functions often also have to be worked on.

A sports psychologist can perform various interventions, from sessions or even value formation through sport.

The ultimate goal of sport psychology is to allow the athlete to use psychological dynamics, learned strategies and emotional state in his favour, to make the most of his abilities.

Social psychology

This specialization of psychology focuses on the analysis of behaviour and the psyche in groups, emphasizes the collective and the way people relate to each other. This branch is linked to sociology, although unlike the latter, it focuses on the impact of groups on the mind of each of the individuals. Analyze how social processes determine personality and reactions.

The social psychologist studies a wide range of phenomena, ranging from mass violence to social norms, group pressure, the formation of stereotypes and the spread of beliefs. As it is one of the major disciplines of psychology, its findings usually have a huge impact on the rest of the areas.

In social psychology, the goal is to understand the dynamics within the community and promote positive changes for each of the members, so that everyone can improve the quality of life. This psychologist often works with the social worker and must be inserted into the community to ensure that the change comes from within, for this reason, it favors a self-directed transformation by the leaders of the community themselves. The community psychologist is just a facilitator.

What is the best specialization in Psychology?

Over time, new branches of psychology will continue to develop. The choice of this or that specialization must depend on our potential and on how much it really attracts us because, if we choose a specialization for the sole fact that it is better paid, we run the great risk of falling into routine and professional dissatisfaction the contrary, if we love the chosen specialization, we will probably engage creatively, open new doors and eventually we will not only be more satisfied with ourselves, but our income will probably also increase, as a natural result of this passion.

In particular, I recommend that you opt for a degree in general psychology, in which all the specialities of psychology are taught and then, with a deeper understanding of each branch, choose the one you like best, for which you will need to do at least one. master’s degree. It is the longest path, but it is the best, not only because you will learn a lot more about psychology, but also because it will increase your chances on the job market as you will have a broader profile that is not limited to a single specialization.

How to become a psychologist: procedure to follow

Here is what you need to do to become a psychologist and what is the procedure to follow to train, enrol in the Register of Psychologists and start practising the profession.

This is a useful guide with all the information on how to become a psychologist and on possible outlets in the world of work.

THE PROFESSION OF THE PSYCHOLOGIST

Who is the psychologist and what does he do? The work of the psychologist is recognized in our country by law no. 56 of 1989. The experimentation, research and teaching activities in this area (art. 1).

The psychologist is a professional who works to improve and promote the psychological well-being of the individual, the group and the community. It intervenes in all those delicate situations that can cause discomfort and suffering. The purpose of the psychologist’s work is to accompany individuals, families, couples, organizations to face moments of particular difficulty and criticality. The professional figure of the psychologist can be placed in different sectors such as social, organizational, corporate, educational, social – welfare, sports, juridical – forensic.

With the LorenzinDdl, approved in the Senate in December 2017 and entered into force with law no. 3 of 2018, the profession of psychologist has obtained full recognition as a health profession (Article 9).

PATH TO BECOME A PSYCHOLOGIST

How do you become a psychologist? What degree do you need and what do you need to do to practice the profession? To answer these questions we must first distinguish between two types of professional figures. You must know that to practice the profession it is essential to have registered, as we will discuss later, in the Register of Psychologists. This Register includes two different professional figures registered in two sections:

psychologists (Section A);

doctors in psychological techniques for social, organizational and work contexts; doctors in psychological techniques for personal and community services (Section B).

The psychologists, in addition to carrying out the activities of prevention, diagnosis, psychological support, habilitation and rehabilitation, also deal with the coordination and supervision of the work done by doctors in psychological techniques. The latter, once called junior psychologists, carry out a series of activities described in art. 3 of law 170/2003, the text of which is available at the end of the article. Let’s see the process to follow for the two tasks.

To become a psychologist it is necessary:

obtain a master’s degree in Psychology in class LM 51;

carry out a one-year professional internship at an affiliated facility;

pass a state exam to obtain the qualification to practice the profession. The exam consists of four tests (three written tests, one oral).

register in section A of the professional register.

To become a doctor in psychological techniques you need:

obtain a three-year degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques (L 24);

carry out a 6-month postgraduate internship;

pass a state exam to obtain the professional title of Doctor of Psychological Techniques. The exam includes four tests (two written tests, one of a practical nature, one oral).

register in section B of the Register.

To find out in detail which Italian universities these degree courses are active, we recommend that you consult the University del Miur website.

REGISTER OF PSYCHOLOGISTS

Only those registered in Section A of the Register are authorized to practice the profession of psychologist. Registration is therefore the basic requirement for working as a psychologist both in public facilities and in private companies. Similarly, to practice as a doctor in psychological techniques, registration in Section B of the Register is essential. In cases where someone works without being enrolled in the Register, the profession is abusive and must be reported to the relevant regional Order.

To check if a person is actually enrolled in the Register, it is possible to consult the Single Register of the National Order of Psychologists.

How to register in the Register of Psychologists? There is a national institution which is the National Council of the Order of Psychologists. It is structured at the regional level and, only for the provinces of Trento and Bolzano, at the provincial level. The application for registration on stamp paper must be sent to the regional or provincial council of the order in which one has residence or domicile. The Council examines it within two months from the date of receipt. Once registered, you can start practising as a psychologist.

For withTo find out in detail which Italian universities these degree courses are active, we recommend that you consult the University del Miur website.

Only those registered in Section A of the Register are authorized to practice the profession of psychologist. Registration is therefore the basic requirement for working as a psychologist both in public facilities and in private companies. Similarly, to practice as a doctor in psychological techniques, registration in Section B of the Register is essential. In cases where someone works without being enrolled in the Register, the profession is abusive and must be reported to the relevant regional Order.

To check if a person is actually enrolled in the Register, it is possible to consult the Single Register of the National Order of Psychologists.

How to register in the Register of Psychologists? There is a national institution which is the National Council of the Order of Psychologists. It is structured at the regional level and, only for the provinces of Trento and Bolzano, at the provincial level. The application for registration on stamp paper must be sent to the regional or provincial council of the order in which one has residence or domicile. The Council examines it within two months from the date of receipt. Once registered, you can start practising as a psychologist.

For the complete list of 21 regional and provincial orders, we recommend that you consult this page.

PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Where does the psychologist work? He can carry out his work as an employee, consultant and freelancer, both in the private sector and in public structures, which can be accessed through a competition. To check the active public competitions, just consult the Official Gazette Series Competitions and exams.

In light of the foregoing, the psychologist can operate in schools, courts, counselling centres, prison houses, consulting and training companies, the health service of the armed forces, the State Police, therapeutic communities, reception centres. , in research institutions. Based on your preferences, you can choose to become a child psychologist, criminal psychologist, forensic or legal psychologist, military psychologist, occupational psychologist, etc. The areas of insertion and the working sectors in which the psychologist can operate are really numerous.

To work within the National Health Service, that is, in local health companies and hospitals, the psychologist must complete a further four-year specialization course in psychotherapy.

FURTHER INFORMATION AND REGULATORY REFERENCES

For more information on the profession, please consult the website of the National Council of Psychologists.

Working as a psychologist: 2 ineffective strategies and a “smart” method

How to start working as a psychologist after the state exam and enrollment in the Register of Psychologists?

If you have just signed up and are starting your business as a psychologist, it may be useful to consider two data, which derive from recent statistical and marketing surveys:

1) the psychologist today works mainly as a freelancer, in a saturated and hyper-competitive market;

2) the services most requested by the market no longer concern the treatment of illness, but above all the promotion of

Welfare;

Unfortunately it is not easy to work as a psychologist in the presence of these two conditions. Let’s try to compare some conventional start-up strategies, with others more attuned to the current functioning of the job as a psychologist:

passive conventional strategy: a resume is prepared, perhaps by filling in pre-printed forms, sent by e-mail or distributed in person to hundreds of cooperatives and clinics … but no response is received, or very few are received, generally with low payor with a volunteer proposal, and you end up accepting, with the hope of gaining experience and sooner or later being appreciated for your skill and finally hired on a regular basis. An event that rarely occurs. The strategy is likely to prove wasteful and inefficient.

semi-passive conventional strategy: business cards are prepared, doctors go around asking them to send patients in case of need, a static showcase site is created, entitled with your name and surname, with the sections “who am I, what I do, where do I receive ”and a list of ailments for which counselling is offered… but patients do not arrive, neither from doctors, nor from the site, or few arrive, not enough to live continuously in this profession. The strategy, while indicating an active approach, risks being expensive and inefficient.

What are the alternative strategies that are more active, efficient and in tune with the psychologist’s current starting method, seen as a freelancer who works in a saturated market, in times of crisis and constant change? Let’s see, in summary, a “smart” methodology, simplifying it in 3 steps (which, however, are anything but simple).

Step 1: avoid entering the market as “generic” psychologists, simply qualifying with the title, for example: “Margherita Pizza – Psychologist”. Unfortunately, the stereotypical figure of the psychologist-all-rounder is not very likely to survive in the current market, based on niches. It is, therefore, more strategic to identify a specific sector, for example, a specific problem/need, by offering a targeted service, different from those already on the market, to a target of people willing to spend for that service. For example, teaching time management techniques for managers; outline a psycho-aptitude profile of students in the last year of high school who are choosing the university faculty; organize a personal growth group for women who want to increase their self-esteem; manage a group to develop the autonomy of women with emotional dependence; offer mothers with hyperactive children practical strategies to help their children regulate their ineffective behaviours; etc. The niches are infinite since there are infinite needs, problems and objectives for which a service can be prepared.

Step 2: After identifying the problem, the target, the service, the specificity of your service compared to those already existing … it is not yet the time to “sell” it! In fact, even if you have a strong, creative idea that responds to a need, for which the target is willing to pay, it is equally difficult for people to buy “cold”. It is advisable to first “create the client”, that is, from the marketing point of view of the profession, create an archive of contacts of people who may be interested in your service.

The generation of contacts of potential “customers”, defined as “lead generation”, is a very important phase, because the larger your list of contacts, the more you work as a psychologist. Given the importance of lead generation and the list, in Anglo-Saxon countries, it is said: “the money is in the list”. In fact, when you work little, you have few customers/patients, you have few subscriptions to your courses, groups or initiatives … the first goal is to expand your contact list. There are many techniques, both online and territorial, to increase your list. These are demanding techniques, to be adopted consistently.

Step 3: it is not enough to have a large list of people potentially interested in your specific service. The creation of a list implies that there has been a first direct contact between the psychologist and the potential client, both online and on the territory, but a single contact is not enough! Sometimes not even 6 are enough: some marketing theories calculate, in fact, that before contacting you, the customer needs to interact 7 times with you. Which means, for example, that he will first have to see you on a site, then on a forum, then at a seminar, then read an article of yours, etc … only after several times, he begins to know you, to trust and therefore to understand that your service does it for him.

It is therefore advisable, after having created your own list, to “pamper” it with other initiatives, to continue giving opportunities to those who have left their contact with you, to know you and understand what you offer them. These operations are called “lead nurturing”, they consist, in fact, in continuing to interact with contacts, reporting other useful resources for their problem, your other articles, doing surveys, etc. The operations change according to the service and the target, so there are no pre-established operations, but it is necessary from time to time to evaluate which are more functional.

Only after a market analysis (niche, target, service, specificity), consistent lead generation and effective lead nurturing, requests begin to arrive. To keep the number of requests high, managing to keep one’s income constant, periodic reviews of these 3 central aspects are required: a possible re-tuning with the market, the continuation of lead generation, the diversification of lead nurturing. In fact, implementing these 3 steps in an inconsistent, inadequate or incorrect way, can make them as ineffective as conventional passive strategies.

It is not easy to set up your own start-up: it is a delicate phase of your work, which today requires a series of basic knowledge, not only psychological/technical but also of marketing.

A question that patients often ask us is: “In the session, should the patient talk about himself and his problems while the psychologist remains silent?”. The answer is: “Absolutely not”.

Generally, people are afraid of “necessarily having to lead” the session, while the therapist remains in religious silence. The perception that follows, rightly, is that the psychologist is not needed, that you can tdo everything yourself. 

Due to the fact that every psychological problem presents itself in very different forms from person to person, and that everyone brings with them a large number of experiences, personal beliefs, values, memories, emotions and thoughts, each of our actions, regardless of the problem reported, always takes into account the uniqueness of the person.

During the first interview, the patient is asked to sign the informed consent form. The signature of these forms is a guarantee for the patient, who through them has the written assurance (with legal value) that everything that emerges during the sessions will be subject to the strictest professional secrecy on our part.

If it is a question of problems relating to children or adolescents, the psychologist speaks with the parents and only later with the children, and the most suitable interventions will then be proposed.

Even if many colleagues (I am referring to self-employed psychologists, not to non-profit organizations or associations) offer the first meeting for free, it is more correct that this is paid. Indeed, someone even proposes it at a higher cost than the following ones, because if it is true that it is a cognitive meeting, it is also true that for us psychologists the first meetings are the most intense and tiring. We must enter into a relationship with a perfect stranger (and he with us), get to know him, align ourselves with his emotions, fears, expectations, win his trust and at the same time develop our diagnosis that will then guide the entire therapeutic path. Proposing this intervention for free is a total devaluation of the work that is being done, of us as professionals who propose an intervention that is worth € 0, but also and above all of the patient himself, as if we were telling him: “it is not even worth paying” . The rates of the sessions vary from therapist to therapist and from city to city, at my office the cost is € 60. In the case of non-profit organizations or associations for problems related to those included in the statute of the association (in general women or children victims of violence or abuse), the session can be provided at lower costs or free of charge.

The diagnosis

After the first cognitive meeting, the psychologist proposes to the person a short diagnostic path, that is some sessions (from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 5) aimed at understanding the problem presented by the patient, hypothesizing causal links and finally proposing the path of more adequate help based on the problem that has emerged (remember that the psychologist knows absolutely nothing about the person in front of him and his life. Imagining or, worse, pretending that he can deduce these things only by observing it is a senseless legend, it would be an of great presumption, I would almost say a “delusion of omnipotence” …).

it is possible to quote some guidelines always present in our work.

By psychotherapy we mean the treatment of psychological discomforts and disorders, carried out mainly through the verbal and emotional relationship between the patient and the therapist (psychologist with a four-year specialization in psychotherapy), who uses psychological methods and tools.

In addition to the Clinical or Therapeutic Conversation, which remains the main tool of psychotherapy, the therapist can use other methods, such as:

Relaxation techniques: for example in anxiety disorders, a relaxation technique is taught. Learning relaxation methods is not only useful for everyday life, but in some cases, it is essential to be able to work in subsequent sessions.

Psychoeducation: psychoeducation is the transmission of information, from the psychologist to the patient, on the most important psychological issues. What are cognitive schemes? What are the negative automatic thoughts? What are the physiological signals that we can perceive from our body and that indicate that we are in a state of anxiety or stress? All themes are customized using examples applicable to the patient’s daily life.

Homework and discussion of homework in sessions: the psychological sessions are generally on a weekly basis. The time in which we do not see our patients, therefore, is much more than the time in which we see them. For this reason, a psychotherapist (not all and in any case not for each session) might consider it appropriate to make use, in a personalized and respectful way, of the patient’s availability of time, for “homework” to be carried out during the week, that is, small targeted exercises to put into practice or deepen the topics discussed in the sessions. Part of each session will be used to discuss the tasks, the difficulties encountered and the possible solutions to be adopted to make them easier to deal with. Whatever technique it may be necessary to use during the sessions, the cost of each of them does not change and is not subject to variations for the entire duration of the course. Any change in the rate should always be negotiated with the patient.

Psychotherapy with EMDR: a more recent technique, which you can learn more about here.

Pharmacological therapy: only if prescribed by the doctor or psychiatrist. We, psychologists, are not doctors and consequently, we cannot prescribe drugs, much less take them off.

When can a psychological path be considered successful?

The psychological path can end at any moment if the patient expresses the will. However, it can generally be considered successful if one of these situations occurs:

1) The client has solved the problems brought into the session, and therefore feels that the discomfort and suffering he felt are no longer there;

How much does psychotherapy or a visit to the psychologist cost and what is the duration?

The costs of the session with a psychologist and psychotherapy vary according to the overall duration and the cost of the single session, but pay attention to the specialist you choose, always make sure that he is qualified.

If it is a question of problems related to children and adolescents, the psychologist may need more time to make a diagnosis, generally, it is also necessary to meet the parents of children or adolescents, while in the case of problems relating to school or learning difficulties the diagnostic path will be different.

Psychological tests may be administered at this stage if deemed useful.

At the end of the diagnosis process, the person (whether adult or child) is given a return of the collected material, helping him to acquire an awareness of what is happening inside him, to establish causal links between the disorders presented and present or past events, to understand what the real problem is, unfortunately not always clear in the mind of those asking for help.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Alert: Content is protected !!