Date of publication: 2017-09-01 10:26
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After completing undergraduate work in psychology, I went on to earn my doctorate, focusing on children, both in school and in the community. When I graduated, there was no such thing as a health psychologist. I started as an assistant professor in a doctoral program in school psychology at the University of Tennessee. But soon I went on to direct a children’s program at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. As a psychologist in a medical setting, I could help children with health problems as well as their families and physicians.
When I started as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I hadn’t decided on my major. To help finance my education, I took a part-time job in a child development research program sponsored by the psychology department. There, I observed inner-city children in settings designed to enhance their learning. I saw firsthand the contributions psychology can make, and I knew I wanted to be a psychologist.
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Health psychologists specialize in how biological, psychological and social factors affect health and illness. They study how patients handle illness, why some people don’t follow medical advice and the most effective ways to control pain or change poor health habits. They also develop health care strategies that foster emotional and physical well-being.
Rehabilitation psychologists work with stroke and accident victims, people with mental disabilities and those with developmental disabilities caused by such conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. They help clients adapt to their situation and improve their lives, and they frequently work with other health care professionals. They deal with issues of personal adjustment, interpersonal relations, the work world and pain management.
Psychology is an extraordinarily diverse field with hundreds of career paths. Some specialties, like caring for people with mental and emotional disorders, are familiar to most of us. Others, like helping with the design of advanced computer systems or studying how we remember things, are less well known.
I told my father that I was interested in psychology, particularly clinical psychology. He’s Chinese from the old country and couldn’t understand what a psychologist does and how one could make a living at it. But I persisted and went to the University of Oregon to major in psychology and then to the University of California, Los Angeles for graduate work. Since then, my three brothers have gone into psychology. The oldest brother even married a psychologist!
Stakeholder Support For HIV/AIDS: Development and Validation of a Stakeholder Support Scale For Large Corporations Investing In HIV/AIDS in LDC's (Case Study: Brazil)
Many psychologists work in more than one setting. For instance, college professors often consult for industry or see clients on a part-time basis. Although it is possible to identify a host of different work settings, for the purpose of this booklet, we’ll consider some of the most prominent examples.
APA student affiliates are encouraged to apply for affiliation in one or more APA divisions. The divisions bring together psychologists of similar or specialized professional interests.
Psychology graduates generally report being pleased that what they studied in school has helped prepare them for both life and work. As a woman who opened her own business shortly after earning a baccalaureate in psychology stated, “After all, psychology is the business of life.” Although the majority of those with bachelor’s degrees in psychology work in areas other than psychology, they continue to be excited by the changes taking place in the field that relate to what they are now doing.
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