Within the discipline of psychology, there are many fields. Each field specializes in a specific branch of psychology such as cognitive, developmental, sports, forensic, abnormal, and social psychology, to name a few. After exploring the differences between branches as outlined in Dr. Kuther’s work, which describes 13 fields of psychology, I found the fields of counseling psychology and school psychology spoke to me the most. My career in the military, along with my interest in human behavior and desire to help individuals with their problems by drawing from my own experiences, were instrumental in me choosing these two fields of psychology.
Kuther states a major element in the purpose of counseling psychology is to “help people adjust to life changes and transitions, such as divorce, remarriage, career changes, to and from college, and provide vocational assessment and career guidance”. This purpose is particularly interesting to me in a number of ways. First, with my military experience, I feel I could help individuals who are transitioning from high school into the military in knowing what to expect. Second, issues such as suicide, sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress and being away from loved ones are very relevant for military members and I have a strong interest in helping those individuals who may be suffering from any of these issues. Also, I feel the counseling psychologist’s work is very important because the counselor has such an impact on helping others transform their lives.
School psychology is also a personal interest. This specialty is rooted in both psychology and education. School psychologists have extensive knowledge of theories and research findings and in the areas of learning, effective instruction, and family and parenting processes. They also help children with academic performance, social anxiety, problems with authority, parents or teachers and problems they may be experiencing at home. This is interesting to me as I have observed that children need attention and guidance to help them in their social interactions. I believe this interaction is needed from parents as well as teachers as without it, a child will not learn the importance of socialization. Unfortunately, with technological advances, children spend way too much time in front of screens – television, phones, computers, tablets, etc., which decreases face-to-face socialization.
Counseling psychology and school psychology both seem important as well as engaging. Both fields incorporate theory and practice in their work to improve individuals’ lives. What I find interesting also is that both fields require the individual to continually improve their personal understanding and learning in order to make valuable contributions to their professional practice. In this way, the school psychologist or the counselor serve as a professional as well as a learner in improving their own understanding and helping others improve their lives. Overall, I do believe a career in psychology suits me. After reviewing the many career options available in the field of psychology, I am not sure what I will be doing within this field, but I do feel I have an intrinsic motivation to learn more about psychology and the many available career options and am confident I will find a field which aligns with my personal interests as well as with my previous experiences.
- Kuther, T.L. (2006). The psychology major’s handbook, (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.