Psychologist Overview


Psychology studies the mind and behavior, embracing all aspects of the human experience. Its studies encompass everything from the functioning of the brain to the actions of nations, from the developmental stages of a child to care for the elderly.

Understanding behavior is the purview of Psychologists, whether they are working in scientific research centers or mental health care service positions.




While a psychologist will traditionally treat patients with mental or emotional issues, they may also serve as research scientists in the phenomenon of human and non-human behavior.

Psychologists study how humans relate to each other and to the environment around them, including human relations to machines, and how these relationships are improved.

Psychologists concentrate on behaviors that affect the mental health and emotional well-being, as well as mental functioning, of healthy human beings.

When doing research, psychologists follow the scientific method, using careful observation, controlled experimentation and precise analysis.

Their theories of human behavior are tested through their research. As new information is gleaned, psychologists’ findings are incorporated into the body of knowledge that active practitioners call upon in their clinical work with patients and clients.

The field of psychology is tremendously varied. Psychologists perform both basic and applied research, and serve as consultants to communities and organizations.

They diagnose and treat patients with mental or emotional issues, test intelligence and personality traits. Some Psychologists choose to teach future psychologists and other students.

Psychologists are excellent resources for information needed to understand different cultures in an increasingly diverse population.

A psychologist has many avenues open to him or her when it comes to deciding on a setting in which to practice. Some of the different career options available within the profession include:

  • Working with business executives, athletes and performers to improve performance and relieve stress.

  • Advising lawyers on jury selection

  • Collaborating with educators to design school reforms

  • Grief and trauma counseling, such as working with victims after a traumatic event such as a plane crash or a school shooting

  • Working with law enforcement to analyze the causes of certain events

  • Collaborating with public health officials to devise plans for coping with and preventing reoccurrence of disastrous events




Since psychologists encounter a wide range of people with a variety of problems, they must have a long list of skills that allows them to interact with people effectively and treat emotional and psychological issues. Along with professional skills, psychologists need interpersonal skills, and to be ethical and stable people.

Their skills include, but are not limited to, the following:


Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.


Must be very compassionate and able to empathize with a patient's pain and other difficulties. They are able to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves and let people know they care.

Emotional Stability

Must be emotionally stable so they can help others who are not. Must be a solid foundation and be able to handle stress and separate personal emotion so as to stay objective and be effective in treatment.


Psychologists must have a solid ethical code and keep sessions with patients confidential as they can greatly affect people's lives. Must know that there could be consequences for error.


Must be able to work well with people and meet with them on an emotional level and interact with them effectively.


Psychologists interact with a range of people from all walks of life, therefore they must be open-minded and tolerant of different cultures and circumstances. Since they are in a research field, they must be open to new studies and findings as to adapt with changing times.


People have to trust their psychologist. The job is all about inspiring patients to confide in you and trust you with their problems. If you aren't trustworthy, you will never make it as a Psychologist.


Psychologists need to be very patient due to long sessions with patients and the research needed to become a better professional. They must understand it takes time to see results and be willing to put in that time.


Working Conditions


Independent practice is the preferred employment setting for many Psychologists. They may also work in collaboration with these professionals:

  • Physicians

  • Scientists

  • Lawyers

  • Computer experts

  • School personnel

  • Engineers

  • Policymakers

  • Managers

Psychologists commonly work in the following environments:

  • Hospitals

  • Laboratories

  • Courtrooms

  • Public and private schools

  • Colleges and universities

  • Community health centers

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Prisons

  • Corporate offices

Most psychologists profess to be very satisfied with their work, citing the variety in daily tasks and the flexibility of their schedules as major pluses in favor of the profession.

Their interest is fascinated by the exciting changes happening in the field, from adapting technology to work in conjunction with humans to psychologists working as part of a primary health care team.

Psychologists are working to find answers to research questions in such areas as perception, prevention and learning, helping educators train the next generations through the use of new technology and knowledge. 



Salary Outlook