When starting your new career training many find it challenging to figure out the differences between clinical psychology and developmental psychology. Make sure you know the difference between the two before you enrol in your psychology degree program.
For as complex as the field is, psychology is undermined more than it deserves, especially today when there is a growing need to understand people and their predicaments. With the fast paced lives that people live, they do not often have time for family, friends, or even the little pleasures of life. Physical health and diet are also on the receiving end of the brunt in many cases. The stress, work, and in some instances unprecedented trauma, eventually take a toll on the mind, and leaves the person emotionally unhealthy and unable to perform even basic functions. When the situations persist for longer than the average amount of time, it may cause serious repercussions in the form of mental disorders.
That is where Clinical Psychologists come in
Clinical Psychologists charge themselves with resolving mental, emotional, behavioural and cognitive disorders. They delve deep into the human mind and find out what the root cause of the problem is. This is especially difficult, since generalizations, however helpful, do not work in a field where every test subject is different, and every person responds differently to the same stimuli. Thus, psychologists work mostly with individuals than groups, exploring the psyche on a daily basis and helping people overcome their issues. Furthermore, they do not work only with adults, but children as well, concentrating on learning and cognitive disorders.
Are there sub-fields in Clinical Psychology?
Yes, there are. Normally, a psychologist specializes in one sub-field or the other. There are some who deal with children, other who treat prisoners, and yet others who work with drug addicts, victims of domestic and sexual abuse, family problems, couple counsellors, depression patients, and so on. You may choose your field of interest in the later years of your academic career.
What skills do you require to be a psychologist?
A psychologist has one of the toughest jobs in the industry since his/her average workday requires much more patience and understanding than that of a person belonging to any other profession. The greatest skill required of a psychologist is a mix of objectivity and empathy. Since the job puts him/her in contact with various people, many of whom have been wronged by life or fallen prey to unfortunate instances, a psychologist cannot afford to be severely emotionally affected by his/her patients’ problems. However, he/she also does not want to appear abrasive. Thus, one aspiring to become a psychologist needs to be empathic with, yet detached from one’s patients.
Tact and manipulation are also two key skills required of psychologists. He/she should know the different approaches to broaching sensitive subjects, all the while maintaining decorum and steadfastness. Thus, he/she should know what to do to get people to open up. A psychologist should also be a master at communicating, both listening and speaking. He or she should know his/her patient inside out, and the way to get through to then. It is only then that he/she can have the hope to help them emotionally, mentally and behaviorally.
What are the educational qualifications required?
The Bachelor’s degree is only the first step towards becoming an accomplished psychologist. While it does provide one with the basic tools necessary for the trade, a deeper understanding of subjects and concepts will only be attained during the course of a Master’s degree. That is why many students who already have an undergraduate degree opt for advanced studies. Furthermore, some students also go in for a Ph.D. in their field of interest. While it is not necessary to have a doctorate, it does increment one’s chances for employment.
Where can psychologists find work?
Contrary to what people say about psychology being a dry and soft field, there is a need for psychologists in almost every sphere of life. Even business corporates have their own in-house psychologists who help people deal with occupational stress. After you graduate, you may choose to continue with your research by joining an organization, or pursuing your Ph.D. The chances of earning in case of the latter are dim, but many universities often put their doctoral students in competitive work environments.
You may also choose to join a private or public practice, such as a doctor in a hospital, school, rehab centre, correctional facility or prison, addiction recovery centres, non-profit organizations, domestic and other abuse protection centres, welfare organizations and so on. After you have garnered sufficient experience, you can choose to turn towards the academic career, where you may find a stable job with time to focus on personal research if need be.
It used to be that psychologists were thoroughly trained in general psychology skills, but they did not always specialize. Many different patients of different ages with a wide variety of issues might all see the same psychologist. While they may have received adequate care, it is likely that none of them received the specialized care that they may have needed. That is not the case today. Psychology has evolved into many specialties, including school psychology, social psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychology. Regardless of the issues that an individual may be experiencing, there is a psychological specialty, or a combination of specialties, which will work for him or her. If you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology, developmental psychology is an exciting, growing field that will allow you to help others at one of many different times on their developmental path – from infants to the elderly.
What is developmental psychology?
Developmental psychology is a specialized field that focuses on the growth and development of humans (or sometimes related species) throughout the lifespan. It explores virtually every aspect of human development including physical, cognitive, intellectual, emotional and social growth. Developmental psychology focuses on the question of nature vs. nurture. Which of our behaviors and developmental milestones are influenced by our genetic background? Which aspects are influenced by the environment and circumstances in which we were raised? (Spoiler: Sometimes behavior is influenced by both!)
Why is developmental psychology important?
Developmental psychologists study how individuals learn and grow; this knowledge helps individuals who may not be developing on-track with expectations. Developmental psychologists can help us to reach our full potential. A developmental psychologist usually works with certain age groups or stages. For example, many developmental psychologists work with children to determine whether or not they are experiencing developmental delays. All people experience milestones in their development. For infants through preschoolers, there are dozens of milestones. These include learning to roll over, crawling, walking, and talking. If a child does not meet one or more milestone at the expected time, a developmental psychologist can determine whether or not this delay signifies a more serious problem that needs to be addressed. Then they can work with the family to get the child back on track and provide any additional assistance the family may need.
Developmental psychology also helps individuals to know what to expect at any given point in the lifespan. Although each individual is different, developmental psychologists are trained to recognize trends in behavior and to understand their potential significance. For example, developmental psychologists who work with the elderly can help them and their families to understand what to expect as they age and providing strategies for working through different stages and issues.
What education is required?
Typically, developmental psychologists start with a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Then students will continue on to a Master’s degree. Although this is not a prerequisite, it can make it easier to get into a doctoral program, while giving the student the added advantage of experience through field work and internships. This is typically a 2-year program. Finally, students pursue their doctoral degree, which can take from 4-6 years depending on specialization and the requirements of the specific program. Students typically choose one of two options: a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Either degree can be in developmental psychology.
A Doctor of Psychology Degree in Developmental Psychology is the degree that you would choose if your goal is to counsel patients and their families. This is a rewarding and valuable way to help individuals with developmental disorders. The Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology is typically the degree you would select if your chosen direction was in research and academia. Many PhDs in Developmental Psychology will work as professors while they are doing their research. Either degree will provide you with internships and supervised clinical practices based upon your specialization.
Where do developmental psychologists work?
Developmental psychologists work in many different environments, depending on personal preference, skill level, and focus of their work. They are employed in schools, children’s homes, hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, retirement homes, and substance abuse programs, as well as private practice. Researchers work in university and education settings, for government programs, and in dedicated research facilities. The job outlook for psychologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, is for 12% growth from 2012 to 2022. Future growth will be fueled by the fact that a large sector of the US population will become elderly, and the fact that computers and technology are adding new and undiscovered influences on our cognitive and physical development.Developmental psychology is a fascinating, vibrant and essential field of psychology. You will be on the front lines of important research with the reward of being able to help people at all stages of life to live happier, healthier lives.