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Most Important Areas One Should Be Familiar with in Psychology Term Paper


Psychology is a scientific subject that seeks to solve social, emotional, and mental problems in human beings. The most vital areas in psychology are the training/educational qualifications, theories, which influence the field, outstanding persons who contributed to the subject, the current ruling theories, and other motivating factors, which propel people to take up the career.

Nevertheless, gender bias is a phenomenon in the discipline of psychology that is still debatable. In terms of education, an individual has to undergo training for about ten years to qualify as a psychologist. Categorically, psychologists fall into three categories viz. psychiatrists, counselors, and clinicians.

The three aforementioned specialists focus on the same field in the medical industry, but the education background and treatment techniques differ slightly. Therefore, anybody who aspires to qualify as a psychologist has to research on the education qualification of the above three specialists. The following discussion expounds on the important areas in psychology.

Education and training of psychologists

What are the education qualifications of a psychologist? The training differs depending on the area of specialization. An individual can train as a clinical psychologist, counselor or a psychiatrist in relation to his or her qualifications (Gray, 2010, p. 70). For instance, a clinical psychologist undergoes four-year training at the university level in a clinical environment (Hall & Llewelyn, 2006, p.10).

The next level of training takes about five to six years until he/she attains a doctorate degree. Internship training follows the education training after, which he/she qualifies for a medical license (Cheshire & Pilgrim, 2004, p. 20).

On the other hand, a counseling psychologist undergoes training for four years at a bachelorette level, but he/she specializes in the physiotherapeutic services. Furthermore, a counseling psychologist obtains an educational degree, in addition to the psychological training, plus a two-year internship program in order to qualify as a counselor.

On the contrary, a psychiatrist has to qualify as a medical doctor and four-year internship program to enable him/her possesses a practicing license. More over, a psychiatrist can narrow down as a geriatric, child or adolescent specialist or concentrate on addiction cases (Gazzaniga, 2010, p.23).

After obtaining psychological skills, an individual can qualify as a researcher, instructor, in addition to the medical qualifications. Incase an individual remains at the degree level he/she can qualify as a technician to the psychiatrist, a case management officer, specialize in rehabilitation cases or carry out counseling services. Therefore, training is one of the major areas in the psychological training.

Major theories in psychology

To gain a deeper understanding of psychology as a subject, students have to spend most of their time familiarizing with leading theories in the field. Therefore, which are the psychological theories? Which theories are still currently contributing to the study of the human mind and behavior (psychology)?

The first theory is the behavioral theory, which states that the environment an individual lives in determines his/her behavior including the mental status and personal feelings and thoughts (Brain, 2002, p.70). According to theorists, one can train the human mind to adapt to specific conditions, but the mind is dynamic thus, personal behavior can change depending on the situation in hand (Skinner, 1974, p. 80).

Through rewarding or punishing an individual his/her, behavior will eventually follow the desired route. Critics of the theory are against of its inability to account for the human thoughts, feeling, which come into place without external forces (Benjafield, 1996, p. 75). Despite putting pressure on an individual to behave in a specific way, he/she may do so but become defiant in the future.

Similarly, the theory does not put into account on the ability of humans to learn devoid of punishment or rewards, which undoubtedly occurs. Some people are willing to learn, change and adapt to a new environment without reinforcing them. More over, people can acquire new habits incase new laws are put in place.

Subsequently, they will discard the habits, which they had learned earlier. Nevertheless, the supporters of the theory recognize it as an observational behavior, which is easy to learn and quantify through using other participants. Through observing an individual, the psychologists can easily determine their behavioral outcomes. Sadly, the theory is not popular in the psychological industry, as it was in the 20th century.

The second theory is the cognitive psychology, which focus on the sharpness, alertness and learning ability of the human mind (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 50). The theory uses scientific techniques to assess the mentality of human beings putting in consideration the memory, attentiveness and intelligence levels.

Thirdly, the development theory discusses the growth of the human mind in terms of thoughts, learning ability and body development. The development theory fall into five classical namely the psychological and sexual growth, cognitive development, moral growth, social development and methods of parenting. All the above divisions contribute to the maturation of the human mind.

Drifting away from the abnormality of the human behavior, the humanistic theory describes the wellness of human beings. The theory stresses on personal development of human beings. Self-authenticity, self-realization, and affirmation are some of the behaviors of the human mind.

According to the psychologists, the human mental ability is naturally at its best, but the deviation from nature creates social, emotional, and mental break down. Critics are against the lack of quantification methods, which shows either the deviation or actualization of the human mind. However, according to the supporters the theory emphasizes on the individuals responsibility especially in taking charge of their lives.

Furthermore, it combines both the external forces like environmental issues with the mind to ascertain individual’s behavior. Finally, the humanistic theory motivates individuals, especially children and adolescents, to fulfill their potential especially career wise. The personality theories describe the uniqueness of the human mind and behavior.

Each person’s feelings differ from each other, but eventually the thoughts mould the individuals’ personality. Most of the psychological theories aim at modeling people’s personalities. Lastly, the social theories monitor the social conduct of human beings. Family relationships, love relationships, leadership roles and public conduct among others are some of the branches the social theories enlightens. All of the above theories are rarely in use, but psychologists have coined new theories, which are currently in use.

The ruling theories in psychology

In the contemporary world, most psychologists use theoretical approach as a treatment technique. Therefore, which are the ruling theories today? The three common theories include psychodynamic, cognitive and humanistic theories. According Sigmund Freud, the study of human beings in an unconscious state may reveal not only their personal problems, but also alert individuals on what they are planning next.

The cognitive theories study the human mind in relation to their feelings, thoughts and behavior. Lastly, the humanistic perspective, which is similar with the one mentioned previously, connects self-affirmation as a means of realizing human potential (Carver & Scheier, 2004 p. 30).

The above three principal theories are common in psychology especially when studying clinical psychology. Moreover, they are the ruling theories because they combine school of thoughts from nearly all psychologists. All the psychological theories are beneficial to students, more so to those who aspire to major in psychological medicine.

The pioneers of modern psychology

Although psychology is still a young branch of science historically, there are preeminent people behind the development of the discipline. Who are the greatest people recognized in the psychological industry? B. F. Skinner is one of the recognizable persons in the psychology because of his invention of the behaviorism theory and establishment of the psychotherapeutic techniques, which are still in use in the treatment of psychological problems in the current world.

The second person is Sigmund Freud who suggested the study of the unconscious mind as a way of initiating personal development. By studying a person who is unconscious, the psychologist can establish his/her past experiences and determine their plans. Through him, clinical psychology came into existence. Thirdly, Albert Bandura invented the cognitive theory, which stresses on social development of individuals.

His book social learning theory is still vital in the psychological training. While Jean Piaget contributed to psychology through studying the behavior and development of children, which most psychologist still rely on to treat children with social, emotional and mental problems.

The fifth ace mind behind psychological development is William James who established principles in the field. Similarly, Carl Rogers described the development of the human mind in order to fulfill its potential while Erik Erikson description of the psychosocial development initiated the research on different stages of human development that is child, adolescent, adult and old age.

Ivan Pavlov, through experimental procedures, established the quantification of human behaviorism. Finally, Lewin Kurt is the pioneer of the modern psychological techniques. He established the study of human behavior both scientifically and experimentally, which has a considerable impact in the current study of social behavior.

The overlooked person’s in psychology

Although the world is still trying to fight gender bias in society, the problem became a thorn in the flesh since ancient times. Many women who have contributed to scientific subject like psychology remain unnoticed (Minton, 2001, p.615). Basing from the above list of the major influences in psychology, there are no women mentioned.

Sincerely, which are the overlooked voices in the field of psychology? The first woman is Leta Stetter Hollingworth who received her doctorate degree in psychology at thirty but besides teaching and assisting in the treatment of psychological problems in adolescents, defects in infants and abnormalities in women nobody has ever recognized her efforts (Benjamin, 1975, p.500).

Her society was full of bias especially to the girl child, which motivated to study both the female and male gender comparing their psychological development. She wrote three psychological textbooks, which were decisive in the training of psychology for about twenty years. Furthermore, she researched on the contribution of the environment to character development of children.

The second woman is Hellen Bradford Thompson Woolley who studied the roles of women and men in the society. With her credentials in neurology and physiology, she conducted research on the motor nerves, muscles, the hearing, smelling and testing senses in relation to the environmental influences.

Besides her contribution to psychology especially in children’s psychology, she remains unrecognized. Mary Whiton Calkins is the next significant figure in psychology. Besides working as untrained assistant in the psychology laboratory, she studied psychology up to the doctorate level where she wrote articles on the human mind and behavioral changes in animals. In addition, she was the first female to lead the APA organization.

Therefore, all the three women did a tremendous job in developing psychology as a subject motivating other women in the contemporary world to follow into their footsteps (Scarborough & Furumoto, 1987, p. 40). Unfortunately, the society has done little to recognize their efforts because of their gender identity.


In summary, the discipline of psychology is a new subject that focuses on the study of social, emotional and mental development of human beings. Education qualifications and subsequent training are some of the factors that determine whether an individual will be a clinician, a counselor or a psychiatrist. There are many theories, which have led to the development of the psychological subject but only a few of them still hold.

Psychologists rely on the psychodynamic, cognitive, and humanistic theories to assess, diagnose and treat their patients. Developed by leading personalities the theories still hold in the current society. Gender bias is one of the problems in the development of psychology as a subject. All the women who pioneered in the development of psychology are unknown mainly because of their gender identification. However, the most significant areas in psychology include education, training, theories and outstanding personalities among others.


Benjafield, G. (1996). A History of Psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Benjamin, L. (1975). The pioneering work of Leta Stetter Hollingworth in the psychology of women. Nebraska History, 56, 493-505.

Brain, C. (2002). Advanced psychology: applications, issues and perspectives. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.

Carver, C., & Scheier, M. (2004). Perspectives on Personality. Boston: Pearson

Cheshire, K., & Pilgrim, D. (2004). A short introduction to clinical psychology. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Gazzaniga, M. (2010). Psychological Science. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Gray, P. (2010). Foundations for the study of psychology, Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

Hall, J., & Llewelyn, S. (2006). What is Clinical Psychology? UK: Oxford University Press

Hergenhahn, B. (2005). An introduction to the history of psychology. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth

Minton, H. (2000). Psychology and gender at the turn of the century. American Psychologist, 55, 613-615.

Scarborough, E., & Furumoto, L. (1987). Untold lives: The first generation of American women psychologists. New York: Columbia University Press.

Skinner, F. (1974). About Behaviorism. New York: Random House.

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