The word psychology is derived from psyche, a Greek word which means ‘soul’ or ‘mind’. It is a science that studies the human mind and behavior. Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain thought, behavior and emotion. Psychology is an integral part of mental health treatment, performance enhancement, self-help and many other areas affecting health and daily life. By establishing general principles and then researching individual cases, psychology works to understand and improve the welfare of society.
Much psychological knowledge is applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, but it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in many different spheres of human activity.
The majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of practical applications such as clinical work and counselling. School or educational psychologists work within the school system assisting children with emotional, social and academic issues.
Many, however, do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to behavior and the mental processes. Others disseminate their knowledge in academic settings training students.
A large number work in the field of Industrial/Organizational psychology and do psychological research to enhance work performance, select employees, improve product design and enhance usability.
Cognitive Psychology studies human thought processes and cognitions. They specifically study such things as memory, decision-making, problem-solving, attention abilities and assisting with language acquisition.
Psychology also plays an important part in sports, where it is essential to bring unity of purpose within the team. More often than not, team members come from all strata of society, each with a different background, history and culture, and these sportspeople need to be moulded into a tight entity with a winning attitude.
A very important branch of psychology is applied in hospital environments, where studies are carried out on how the various biological processes influence the mind and behaviour of patients. Often it works closely with neuroscience to look at brain injuries or abnormalities in the brain.