The 10 branches (or fields) of Psychology

Psychology is a science that encompasses a wide range of fields and fields of application. Its object of study is the human mind and behavior, but it also studies other aspects; this is why psychology is diversified (and specializes) in many branches or fields.

In this article we will know the 10 most important branches (or fields) of Psychologyalthough there may be more. We will know their characteristics, fields of application, functions developed by their different types of professionals and we will see some examples.

The 10 branches of Psychology (and what each consists of)

What does each of these 10 branches (or fields) of Psychology consist of? Let’s look at it in detail below.

1. Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology in charge of studying psychological disorders (or mental), as well as abnormal behavior. In addition, it encompasses the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of such mental disorders.

In the degree of psychology, most of the subjects we find, at least in Spain, are clinical psychology. Many times is the branch that most motivates future psychologistsand the one that most remembers the situation of couch, patients, own consultation…

The functions of a clinical psychologist are therefore not only to diagnose, evaluate and treat, but also to prevent any type of mental disorder (or maladaptive behaviour).

As a clinical psychologist you can work in hospitals, clinics, medical centres, health centres, private practice, teaching… In Spain, currently the only way to access the specialisation of clinical psychology (as a specialist psychologist in clinical psychology, PEPC). to be able to work in public healthis the PIR (resident internal psychologist).

The PIR consists of an examination which, if passed, gives access to a 4-year training plan as a resident psychologist in a hospital in Spain.

2. Educational Psychology

This branch is the one in charge of studying the different processes involved in learningas well as the factors that intervene in schools. In other words, it studies the learning subject itself, but also the medium in which it learns, the agent that teaches it, etc., and all the variables that influence a person’s learning process.

The functions of the educational psychologist include attention to students with learning difficulties. Plus, intervenes in psychological processes that may hinder learning. It coordinates with other professionals in order to help students learn effectively.

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Educational psychologists can work in schools (both ordinary and special education), associations, foundations, teaching…

3. Sport Psychology

This third branch, or field of psychology, deals with the study of psychological factors. that may be influencing an athlete’s performanceas well as in their participation in different activities or sports championships. It is a particularly key figure for high level athletes or elite athletes (professionals).

Its functions include psychological attention to sportsmen, in aspects related to their performance, their training, possible injuries, etc..

These professionals can work with athletes individually, but also in football teams, basketball … (or any sport), clubs, federations, etc..

4. Psychology of organization and work

This branch of psychology alludes to the discipline of human resourcesIt is characterized by being involved in all those processes that affect the employees of an organization (company), being these: selection of personnel, training of workers … Thus, human resources are responsible for managing organizations at the level of workers (employees).

The roles of an organization and work psychologist may vary depending on the department where you are located, but basically they are: search for and screen candidates for vacant positions(i.e., personnel selection), design and/or implement training for workers, group dynamics, occupational risk prevention, etc.

This type of professional can work in any company that requires it, public or private, in the human resources department.

5. Evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology studies the development and changes that occur at the psychological level throughout people’s lives, at different life stages. That is, it focuses on each of the stages (ages) of life, characterizing them with milestones and other elements.

6. Personality Psychology

The psychology of personality, another of the branches of psychology, studies those elements or factors that characterize us as individualsthat is, they study personality, traits, types of behaviour, etc.

It focuses on analyzing why a person behaves in an “X” way, according to their personality type, analyzing the influences received. In addition, it evaluates and describes how this personality changes throughout life.

7. Social Psychology

This branch of psychology is responsible for studying the behavior of individuals in society and at the relational level; that is, it studies the individual in his relational context, as a social being (who lives in society and who needs to relate to others). In addition, she also studies how the environment or social environment influences her behaviour.

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8. Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology is another branch of psychology, responsible for studying the processes that take place in the courts of justice from a psychological point of view. That is to say, a forensic psychologist has the function of collecting and analyzing evidence of a psychological nature so that it can be taken into account in judicial processes.

In addition, you can also assess a person who has been abused, raped, etc. And, it can also assess whether a person has a particular mental disorder that has led him or her to commit a particular criminal act.

9. Sexology

Sexology focuses on the study of sexual alterationsor behaviors and states that may be hindering affective, intimate and/or sexual relationships in a couple. This branch derives from clinical psychology, as it also focuses on abnormal or dysfunctional behaviors.

It can be applied in the field of sexual dysfunctions, but also in other types of couple problems. It is also ideal for couples who want to improve their sex lives, even if they don’t have any disorders.

10. Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology is another field, between neurology and psychologyIts object of study is the nervous system. Specifically, it studies the relationships between this and behavior, emotions, feelings, communication, etc.. This is a branch of neuroscience. In addition, it studies neuropsychological disorders or alterations, whether genetically based or acquired.

A neuropsychologist can work in hospitals (with the PIR, or with the Master General Sanitario). You can also work in centers where workshops are held or sensory stimulation therapies (e.g. for people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, patients who have suffered a stroke or head injury, intellectual disability, etc.).

Bibliographic references

  • Bermúdez, J. (2003). Personality psychology. Theory and research (vol. I and II). Madrid: UNED

  • Torres, A. (2018). The 12 branches (or fields) of Psychology. Psychology and mind.

  • Triglia, Adrian; Regader, Bertrand; García-Allen, Jonathan (2016). Psychologically speaking. Paidós.

  • Vidales, Ismael (2004). General psychology. Mexico: Limusa.