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Some psychologists in the scientific stream research the behaviour of people rather than animals. For example, they may study the effects of the element of surprise introduced into a group setting, or test babies (developmental psychology) to see if they are responding to different stimuli the way they should at each stage of development. These psychologists, who are scientists, are not necessarily oriented toward individual clients. Their focus is to study groups and formulate in philosophy rather than medicine. Clinical psychologists are primarily interested in the client. They take the theories that the research psychologists formulate and apply them on an individual level (Applied Psychology).theories about what is normal behaviour for that group.
Earlier, we talked about the division between science and philosophy that launched the great debate on whether or not psychology is a science or an art. The debate stemmed from the fact that psychology borrows from the sciences as well as from the great philosophical minds of all time.
We have finished talking about the scientific contributions to psychology and now we will turn our focus to clinicians, the people who deal with clients and listen to their emotional and cognitive needs. Clinical psychology has its roots in philosophy rather than medicine. Clinical psychologists are primarily interested in the client. They take the theories that the research psychologists formulate and apply them on an individual level (Applied Psychology).
If a psychologist diagnoses someone with depression, he/she just did not pull the diagnosis out of a hat. The counselor or psychologist uses scientific research as a basis for the diagnosis, but then takes the theories one step further. The counselor uses his/her knowledge of research to help the client ameliorate his/her situation.
Using the depression example, the clinician would know from the research that clinically depressed people (the most severe depression cases) don’t really want to do anything; they are totally unmotivated, apathetic, and lethargic. Therefore, getting them to start doing things helps alleviate the depression can be challenging. Knowing this, a clinician will sit down with the client and talk about different things that the client would like to do as part of therapy. For one client it might be swimming, for another it might be using the Internet, etc.
In summary, there are two main divisions of psychology: scientific and clinical. Under each division, there are hundreds of fields of studies. The particular division of psychology that I studied at the Masters’ level was clinical; the sub-division was counseling psychology.
My bachelor and masters degree in Psychology