Ask a random student about their career ambitions, as to what they want to be in future, and, in India, the most common answers you will get are an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer or a businessman. And, when I say doctor, the specialisation which students majorly aspire for is either dentistry, surgery or orthopaedics. Seldom do we hear someone say they want to become a psychology expert or a psychiatrist.
Talking about the Indian professional ecosystem, psychology is one of the most underrated professions, as people incorrectly relate this profession to being a doctor of psychiatric patients. Very few people think about the weak mental health facilities available in India. If we talk about the need for psychiatrists in India, we will see that we need twice the number we have. This shows the ignorance of people in India towards sound mental health, which is as important as good physical health.
Let’s put the shortage of mental experts aside and have a look at what are the career options you have if you opt to pursue a major in psychology.
Clinical psychologists are those who either set-up their own personal clinic or work under a medical organisation and test and treat patients with normal mental disorders such as stress or any other mental imbalance, such as chronic psychiatric disorder. An individual can be a specialist in any segment of people, such as children or senior citizens, or one can also be a general psychiatrist.
A person who is involved in health psychology diagnoses and treats patients with disorders which are related to the overall health of a person and not just their mental health. Health psychologists play a major role in helping people quit smoking or drinking, lose weight, manage overly stressed lives and maintain good overall health. Apart from practising privately, individuals belonging to this field are mainly employed in rehabilitation centres.
The psychologists who have their expertise in the industrial or organisational field act as mental influencers for people working in companies. They may either be a leading official of the human resource department or may contribute to training the employees. Such psychology experts are needed in IT companies, corporate firms, government agencies, factories and industries.
As the name suggests, a psychiatrist involved in this stream monitors and works on psychological behaviour of sportsmen and athletes. They may be involved in physical and mental training of sports practitioners, thereby, taking care of their mental health and finding ways to boost their performance.
If you go on to pursue psychology in education specialisation, you will be working with educational institutes and students to help boost their learning skills. It deals with scrutinising the behaviour of learners and building strategies to help them enhance their performance. Many colleges and schools require such professionals for the development of their students.
Forensic psychologists work in synergy with the police force and justice department. Their main role is to monitor and examine the behaviour of a criminal. They might act as a prime expert witness to help verify the guiltiness or innocence of an accused. Through several tests and processes, a forensic psychologist determines if an accused is mentally disturbed or normal, and can play a major role in the investigation of crimes.
Marriage And Family Therapist
A psychologist can acquire expertise in marriage and family therapy after participating in an internship for a certain duration. This type of therapy can be linked to a medical agency or to an independent psychiatrist who deals with problems people are facing in their marriage or problems of an entire family circle.
Teaching And Research
If you acquire a PhD in psychology, you can work in teaching or the research department. If you have the zeal to teach and passion for spreading your knowledge, educational institutes require such psychology experts for teaching the subject to undergraduate or postgraduate students. If you opt to work in the research department, you can either get employed in a government research organisation or a private research agency.