Fields of Psychology – A general overview

Different fields of psychology represent the wide scope of this field. Let’s explore them.

“Psychology is the science of human behaviors & the things that happen in the mind to create it, it is the subject that fascinates almost everyone because we all have notions of what’s normal & what’s not?” (David Watson)

  • Science of perceptions!
  • Science of deportments!
  • And Science of sentiments and emotions

It is better known as PSYCHOLOGY.

Definition of Psychology:

Word Psychology is derived from the name of the Greek goddess of soul (Psykhe). It means the human soul or vital breath. Psychology is the study of the human mind and its behavior in different circumstances. It also deals with mental activities, deportments, and an association between two people.


Psychology is a vast subject and to understand the depth of its topics it is necessary to divide it into branches. Every branch is a complete field. Additionally, each field covers many topics related to the psychological issues of human beings and animals.

Psychology is not only a natural science deals with an inborn primordial aligned with nature but it is also a social science that includes the study of thoughts, emotions, feelings and social and environmental features that contribute to make humans nature.

Psychology is a multifaceted science and it is divided into two areas:

  • Research
  • Practice

Due to the constant changes in human behavior, the sub-fields of psychology are also growing timely. Every field of psychology represents a particular topic to deal with a specific problem or issue.

Fields of Psychology:

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are fourteen professional specialties recognized and six additional expertise in Psychology. These all are distributed in the following sub branches of psychology.

1. Branches of Psychology – Clinical Psychology:

Examination of all the aspects of human execution that includes emotional, biological, behavioral, psychological and intellectual factors can be studied in the clinical psychology field with the integration of science and theory. Thus, Clinical psychology is a vast field and it can be further classified into various branches:

a)     Clinical Neuropsychology

It is one of the branches of psychology in which we observe the relationship between the human brain and human behavior. Even, the doctors take help from clinical neuropsychology. Neuropsychology mainly deals with the issues and understandings of brain behavior and its impacts to solve human problems. So, it is one of the integral fields of psychology.

b)     Clinical Health Psychology

The combined study of biological functions, social interactions, behavior, cognition, emotions, and to observe interrelation between them is Clinical health psychology.  So, it provides research, clinical services, advisory services, consultation, and supervision to deal with psychological issues and their effects on health.

2. Fields of Psychology – Clinical Child Psychology:

Clinical child psychology, better known, as developmental psychology mainly focuses on childhood and inception. It is the understanding of changing psychological factors in childhood to adolescent. On large scale, it explains cultural or population changes over time. This sub field of clinical psychology deals with:

  • Social development
  • Emotional development
  • Intellectual-cognitive development
  • Neurobiological development
  • Language accession

“It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult”


It is important to understand that children learn more from how we behave in comparison to what we teach. Every child learns from the environment around them, people around them, and events happened in the early childhood. Child psychology deals with various kinds of interrelated psychological, social, emotional and biological issues experienced by children till the age of adolescent.

Developmental psychology can be divided further into sub-classes due to its broad area of problems related to children. Someone said,


In this field of psychology, a psychologist diagnoses and treats the children with learning and behavioral issues.


Parenting is both rewarding and challenging. Psychology helps parents to make their child happier and stress-free humans. Psychology helps parents to deal with their kids more efficiently. It helps them to prepare parents to support their kids in facing fears and difficult situations. Moreover, it develops a strong, beautiful and forever lasting bond between children and parents.


The list of problems is very long but mostly includes:

  • Stress and developmental changes in management
  • Biological passiveness
  • Problems due to society
  • Developmental problems
  • Mental disorders
  • Contusion or any kind of loss
  • Cognitive deficiencies etc.

3. Field of Psychology – Cognitive or comparative Psychology:

Cognitive or behavioral psychology emphasizes an experimental approach. The cognitive approach, human learning, and development are its basic principles. This field of psychology is based on the systematic approach of knowing different kinds of behavior in human beings and animals, in different circumstances. Behaviorism is composed of two components:

Classical conditioning:

When any neutral stimulus can be related to a conditional stimulus such as a specific kind of music used by ice-cream vans provokes the desire to have an ice-cream.

Operant Conditioning:

It reshapes the future based on passed punishment or reward, it splits into two types:


It is a negative consequence that is used for shaping up the behaviour


It can be positive and negative, negative further splits into active avoidance and escape.

Comparative psychology explains the most important factors of human and animal behavior like, how they learn, how they think and how they communicate among others. It makes us able to understand mental processes:

  • Language
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Decision making
  • Conceptual growth
  • Reasoning
  • Accuracy
  • Recovery


It helps to modify or change behavioral requirements, positive punishment, and positive reinforcement to change a specific kind of behavior, try to bring a change in environmental factors that cause bad behavior.

Comparatives psychology has become a multidisciplinary field that deals with the behavior of animals to find out the human psyche. It based upon a simple assumption that all living organisms behave in the same manner in the same situations.

Experiment on animals is an old but highly effective practice to gain knowledge for the betterment of mankind. In psychology, this method is also appreciated by the biological approach and behaviorism (nomothetic approach).

4. Fields of Psychology – Educational Psychology:

The main purpose of this field of psychology is to know, how people learn and absorb new information. It not only deals with school learning, childhood learning and adolescence but it also provides knowledge about the cognitive, social and emotional behaviors’ and their impact on learning skills. Educational psychology incorporates behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology. It can be further elaborated as school psychology.


It applies the rules of educational and clinical psychology to improve the learning process and educational system.

Educational psychology deals with the following topics:

  • Instructional behavior: It helps to design learning aid and material.
  • Educational technology: Implementation of various kinds of technology to help students learn.
  • Organizational training: Help people to learn in an organizational setup.
  • Gifted learning: Support students who are gifted learners.
  • Designing of curriculum: It helps to create a curriculum that augments learning.
  • Special education: Kind of education that helps children or people with some kind of disabilities.


A psychologist work in the field of education psychology takes on divergent perspectives to deal with the problem:


This perspective narrates the effect of belief, emotions, encouragement and memorizing in the process of learning.


This perspective emphasizes the ability to gain knowledge and skills during the development process.


This perspective relies on operant conditioning and suggests that the process of learning directly relates to the conditioning.


This perception explains the ability of children to construct their knowledge.

5. Forensic Psychology

The rapidly growing field of psychology that deals with law and criminal investigations by applying psychological theories is called forensic psychology. The forensic psychologists solve legal issues by applying psychological principals and the psychologist performs the following duties:

  • Adding court testimony
    • Evaluation of court orders
    • Doing psychological assessment
    • Provides mental health needs such as inpatient rounds, screening, and therapy
    • Advice court advocates, prison staff and inmate attorney
    • Also, help the police department
    • They arrange rehabilitation programs in jail/prison, crime prevention discussions, and seminars and also address issues such as the selection of the jury and court dynamics. A forensic psychologist also selects ideal candidates for the police force.

Forensic Psychology can be further classified into a sub branches:


The forensic psychologists associated with this field assist the law enforcement agencies, police force, and public agencies to perform their duties and complete their missions with efficacy, health, safety and under the supervision of ethics and law.

6. Branches of Psychology – Industrial-Organizational Psychology

When psychological principals are implemented to investigate different workplace issues like productivity, it is called Industrial-organizational psychology. It does not only improve the productivity, quality, and efficiency but also augment the health of employees. I/O psychology also known as applied research because of its ability to solve real-life problems. Applied research includes the following areas:

  • Research for motivational strategies to encourage workers to get their best.
  • Finding a treatment approach that works more effectively to reduce anxiety.
  • Analysis of the most inspiring and motivating prompts to encourage and appreciate people to volunteer their time, services and money for charities.
  • Scrutinizing of the effects of background music in an environment to contribute to working fertility.


  • I/O psychology helps to provide satisfaction and productivity among workers.
  • It resolves broad problems associated with company progress, morale and retention of employees and collective efficiency.
  • I/O Psychiatrist guide the owners to deal with all the organizational issues, business crises


A specialty in professional fields of psychology that helps to understand behavioral changes in old people and helps their families and caretakers to deal with their problems and maintain their health conditions is called Geropsychology. In later life, there are many disorders related to mental health arising that cause extreme depression and stress. There are so many reasons for the hyper stressed conditions such as

on others, loss/death of loved ones, health issues, change of residence and care giving insistence.

Moreover, Geropsychology provides the research-based signs to resolve the risks for mental disorders and provides support to rescue old age people from stress, anxiety, and other psychological disorders regarding aging.


It helps old people and their families to deal with:

  • Grief and catastrophe
  • Any sort of conflicts regarding family, marriage, children, or role changing
  • Grappling and controlling chronic issues
  • Issues related to health such as pain, loss of appetite and insomnia
  • Dementia
  • Lifestyle changes
  • End of life care
  • Decision making
  • Abilities of everyday living
  • Cognition
  • In addition, Mood swings

Geropsychology works on following three principles:


The gathering of complete information regarding environment, behavior, functional performance and risk assessment.


Psychotherapy of person and family, health performance and intervention regarding care issues. Thus, making it an important step.


Involvement of professionals, paraprofessionals, families, communities, and legal systems to promote training, program development, and evaluations.

8. Social Psychology

Complete understanding of social behaviors including leadership, social interconnections, group behavior, social influence, and non-verbal attitude lies in this field of psychology. It deals with the differentiation and interaction of a person with society. Know more about verbal abuse here.


Aim of psychology is to deal with the issues like:

  • Conformity
  • Social attitude
  • Inarticulate behavior
  • Prejudice
  • Aggression
  • Social influences

Social psychology creates a progressive social environment that leads to a strong, mature and leading society and nation.

9. Fields of Psychology – Sports Psychology:

There is a larger and wrong perception of sports psychology that deals only with professional sports and athletics. Definitely this field of psychology deals with professionals. But it also deals with a broad range of scientific and clinical subjects that deal with exercise and sports.

The influence of psychology on sports, exercise, physical activities, and athletic performance can be studied in sports psychology. Moreover, sports psychology embraces a range of topics. From achievements to psychological considerations, from motivation to persistence, and from injury to rehabilitation it has vast ground to play in.

In addition to it from judging talent, well-being and exercise conformance, self-perceptions to achieve excellent sports skills and techniques to regulate self-performance and youth sport, sports psychology has a larger horizon to perform. Sports psychology deals with the following basic areas:

• How did psychology help to improve motivation and player’s performance?

• In addition, how athletics /sports help in the well-being of the body as well as the mind?


  • Sports psychology deals with positive impacts of sports in school, college and university level students.
  • Ways to enhance athletic skills and performance with psychotherapy.
  • In addition, Mental training of sportsmen to face the fears, bear the pressure in tough situations, dealing with the negative psychological impact of an injury.


A psychologist associated with the field of sports has to work in three ways:

  • Teach in school, colleges, and universities to strengthen the will power, build sportsmen spirit, and face the fear factors. Sports psychologist also does research related to this field psychology.
  • Moreover, a sports psychologist applies psychological tricks and techniques to build better stamina to deal with the pressure in the ground, enhance athletic performance and support to build mind strategies, imagery and goal settings.
  • Clinical sports psychologist combines psychotherapy and mental training from sports psychology to help the athlete to deal with depression, mental conditions during and after injury, mental health issues and eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, and compulsive exercise.

10. Fields of Psychology – Personality Psychology

The study of different kinds of behaviors (feelings, emotions, behaviors, and thinking patterns) that makes every individual a unique kind of organism is covered under this branch of psychology.

Personality defines a person, as Maxwell Maltz said;” the self-image is the key to human personality and behavior. “The scientific study of personality defines the individual’s distinctive personality that makes him/her, the person of his/her kind and it influences everything from his/her own life to the relationships, to the environment around him/her.

Personality psychology finds the different shades of an individual’s personality and the qualities present in him/her different from another individual. Moreover, Its main task is to observe, diagnose, assess, and treat the personality disorders in a person that can interfere in a person’s everyday life.


Personality psychology has a broad path to cover; it deals with almost every aspect of human personality that makes a person who he/she is. It addresses all the shades of personality in every way:

  • Does it explain how a personality develops?
  • Explains and address personality disorders.
  • Diagnose and then suggests psychotherapies, medications, and skill pieces of training to make a treatment plan for the person suffering from personality disorders.
  • In addition, treats all kinds of personality disorders

A personality psychologist not only takes interest in observing normal personality features. But they also research to recognize the potential factors that disturb personality. In addition, the root causes of personal, social and professional disturbance are also monitored.


How cultural factors influence human behavior? It can be determined through this field of psychology.

Indeed, most of the feelings, behaviors, and aspects of human psychology are universal but cultural difference generates amazing differences in some kinds of emotions, thoughts, and feelings of human beings. For example, some cultures support individualism but others may stress moreover cooperation among individuals or collectivism.

So, Cross-cultural psychology is an emerging field of psychology that studies and research inter-cultural differences and their influence over people of that region.


Cross-cultural psychology observes both kinds of human behaviors (universal & individual), to understand the effects of culture over personal behavior of an individual, family life, social values, education, and other fields of life. Cross-cultural psychology has following two approaches:

Emic-approach to observe the differences between two or more cultures.

Etic-approach to study the similarities between various cultures.

It covers the following topics majorly:

  • Child development
  • Personality
  • Language accessions
  • Family and social relationships
  • Co-ordination among individuals and society

Another topic which cross-cultural psychology covers is Ethnocentrism. It is a tendency to observe and judge other cultures by keeping own culture as a standard. Thus, it can have serious consequences on the relationship between people. So, it is essential to have a complete study about this aspect.

Cross-cultural Psychologist:

A psychologist who studies cross-cultural psychology learns about:

  • How the development of a person influences the child-rearing practices in various cultures.
  • How the culture of an area or region impacts the social and individual personality of a person.
  • Creation of multicultural curriculum and lessons to explain the cultural differences to the students.
  • Impact of different cultures on student learning, motivation, and achievements.


It is a kind of sub field of psychology but it has the largest individual impact in the study of the human psyche. Moreover, it covers almost every kind of mental distress and psychological symptoms that an individual can face. It is a psychological specialty that helps a psychiatrist to deal with the personal and inter-personal happenings across the life tenure.

The center of attention for counseling psychology is social, related to health, developmental, organizational, vocational, and educational aspects of the individuals’ life. So, you can yourself observe the impact that this field of psychology can create for the people.


Counseling psychology can deal with all the following fields:

  • It can be implemented in educational, vocational, teaching and research areas of every institution of life.
  • It effectively supports professionals in hospitals, mental health clinics, social work centers.
  • The counseling psychologists also help to individuals, families, and fields, and provide psychotherapy services for businessmen, government officers, military and other agencies.

There is a difference between clinical and counseling psychology, although both perform psychotherapy. Clinical psychology deals with patients who suffer from severe mental illnesses and provides clinical treatments along with medication and psychological tact. While the counseling psychology mostly works with healthy or less severely ill people and it also shows a more general approach during psychotherapy sessions then clinical psychology that concerns more with the clinical psychotherapist approach.

13. Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychology provides aid by utilizing scientific methods to answer the following questions:

  • What conditions and components influence human behavior and thoughts?
  • How do experiences in life and different behaviors shape and reshape an individual’s character?
  • What are the factors affecting a person’s personality development?

This field of psychology helps to understand the human mind and behaviors. Moreover, it helps professionals to treat mental illness and psychological disorders by exploring new perspectives. Experimental psychology works in the following steps:


To understand the cause and effect relationship professionals perform experiments.

Case Study:

A Case study on a group or individual helps to collect every single piece of information about the subject. Additionally, all the information related to the subject’s history, family, social circle, education, and the workplace is collected.

Inter-relation Research:

Professionals try to find correlation variables of the subject to observe behavioral changes and mental conditions. So, covering this research under this field is actually important.

Representational Observation:

Observing the subject in its natural environment to better understand the root cause of a problem. So, it is an integral part of this field of psychology.

Experimental Psychologist:

These psychologist works in schools, universities and other professional institutions to teach experimental methods. They also work with different organizations to find ways for a safer and progressive workplace and workers.


Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with abnormal behaviors and psychopathology but only in a clinical context. It mostly deals with personality disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).

Owen Gingerich says:

“The human brain is by far the most complex physical object known to us in this entire cosmos.”

So, if any behavior of a person is creating problems in his life or for people around him, it is abnormal behavior and it needs some kind of mental health assistance.

Problems to deal with:

Abnormal psychology helps to understand some uncommon and aberrant changes that appear in a person in typical circumstances. Additionally, abnormal psychology answers the questions regarding supernatural traditions, behaviors, and events. So, that things beyond the normal understanding could be measured and understood.

A psychologist working in this field of psychology deals with:

  • Drug use disorder
  • Bipolar or mood disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder and Neurodevelopment disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders such as Dementia, Delirium, and Organic Brain Syndrome (OBS)


Psychology in a continuously growing subject with always emerging sub-fields. There is no specification of more important and less important branches of psychology. But every minor and major aspect of life needs psychology and its various fields to understand “how, who and why”?


Psychology fascinatingly explains every single aspect of human nature. Moreover, it helps an individual to get a better understanding of own behavior, personality, thinking, and development.


Psychology polishes the skills and abilities of an individual and supports a person to become a better friend, good communicator and a progressive leader.

Psychologists are not mind readers but they have almost every kind of solution to help mankind. They provide a better environment to people for their survival. It is a kind of blessing which makes professionals able to understand people and their selves. Not only understanding but psychology answers every possible question related to human behavior, emotions and life.

Let us know what do you think about this article. Do you need more information about any of the specific branches of psychology? Use the comments section to share your opinion about these different fields.

Log Kya Kahein Gay: Log Kya Kahein Gay provides a platform to discuss ideas and opinions about the culture and social ethics of our society.
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