In the modern society, a psychologist is an expert needed in all
fields, especially in the preschool and school system, health care, social welfare, in providing psychological assistance to all victims of war, military, and in the economy.
Psychologists investigate the behavior of individuals and groups and apply the acquired knowledge to solve various problems of the people. In addition, various psychologists have different jobs. Some psychologists investigate the human behavior: laboratory experiments and field investigations as they try to figure out how people perceive, think, learn and feel. Others are psychologists who apply knowledge of human behavior to solve practical problems in people’s lives. The third group is consisted of professors who teach psychology in high schools and on universities. Depending on the field of application, applied psychologists are divided into a number of different divisions. Here we briefly describe only three most important.
School psychologists specialize in the advancement of education. They interview and test students with intention to assess their psychological problems and sources of difficulty in their learning. In cooperation with parents and teachers psychologists plan ways to help individual students. They are engaged in improving teaching methods and assessment, examining the psychological atmosphere in the classroom, professional information and counseling students.
Industrial psychologists are dealing with the organization of the human labor. They strive to facilitate and contribute to its productivity. In order to do that they deal with different tasks: improving methods of selecting and training people for various jobs, develop methods of assessing work performance, investigate the causes of fatigue, accidents, absenteeism, and fluctuation of workers, analyzing jobs and propose measures to improve working conditions, explore methods of leadership and relationships in working groups, propose measures to increase work motivation, etc. As a rule, psychologists do not deal directly with individuals rather than the measures and programs relating to large groups of people.
Clinical psychologists work with individuals, especially those who have difficulty in adjusting. They participate in the process of diagnosing mental disrupt, suggest ways of its removal, and monitor the effects of treatment. They are involved in treating certain disorders, such as emotional and behavioral disorders. They also deal with marital counseling, problems of delinquents, drug counseling, etc.
There are other subgroups of psychologists as for ex. child psychologists, involved in development of children and youth, penology and forensic psychologists specializing in forensic audit and penalties, psychologists-specialists in market research and economic propaganda, military psychologists …
It is obvious that the functions of psychologists vary widely, yet there are some important common features of their professional work. No matter where they work, psychologists typically base their judgments on carefully collected empirical data. Therefore they systematically observe behavior of people in different circumstances and record their reactions, carry out fundamental interviews, prepare questionnaires and conduct survey tests, implement tests used for examining human abilities and personality characteristics. The data collected by these methods is processed afterwards through complex procedures of statistical analysis. On this basis, they make judgments about individuals and groups, suggest therapeutic procedures and other measures to solve human problems.
Psychology college graduates can work in a number of different places: in all types of pre-schools, counseling centers for occupational choice in companies staffing services, psychiatric and neurological clinics, clinics for alcoholism and other addictions, various counseling centers, prisons, the military institutions, and some psychologists have a private practice.
The type of job and place of employment determines psychologist’s working conditions. Most of them work in relatively comfortable offices. Only in exceptional cases may be exposed to adverse circumstances (ex. industrial psychologists who analyze jobs in factories). Working time is generally in one shift. Only psychologists in schools and pre-schools and some health institutions sometimes work in shifts. In professional point of view psychologists work very independently, without significant interference by superiors. However, as this is generally a job that deals with people (patients, customers), it requires strict compliance with the agreed terms and conditions. A psychologist, in addition to his routine duties, often has to write complex, intellectually demanding reports and elaborates. That is the reason why on-time deliveries, deadlines and pressures are often present in the work of psychologists.
It is desirable that a psychologist should be emotionally steady and mature person and should be able to communicate effectively with people. He should possess interpersonal skills as sensitivity to the problems of others, patience in communicating with people and the ability to influence people which are important characteristics of clinical and counseling psychologists. Intellectual maturity, verbal ability and ease of written expression are the most important tasks of psychologists, especially those who are engaged in scientific researches.