Delving into the human mind

Posted by Part Time Jobs Online | Sunday, October 05, 2008

It is a field of study that has fascinated scholars for a long time. Why does a person behave in the manner that he does? What goes on in his mind and why? One could say Sigmund Freud gave it all a new twist with his theory on the workings of the unconscious mind. Ever since psychology has been a favourite subject for students who want to delve deep into the workings of the human mind. The subject has assumed great importance in today's competitive world where psychological disorders like stress and depression are a common phenomenon. The field is a fascinating one because every individual is unique and has a unique way of thinking.

Do you have it in you?

When it comes to handling human behaviour, interpersonal skills play a more important role than academic qualifications. Dr.Amarnath Mallick, Consultant Psychiatrist, Kothari Medical Centre, Kolkata says, "Careers in this field are all about communicating effectively and winning your patient's trust. Hence, excellent communication skills are a psychologist's trump card." It is also important to be patient, understanding and empathic. Moreover, you should be convincing, fluent with words and have the ability to build a rapport within the first few minutes to ensure that things work out effectively. "More than anything else, it's important to have an interest and inclination to work with people of all ages," suggests Malini Shah, Senior Counsellor, Avishkar Centre.

As Dr.Mullick says, psychologists gather information through controlled laboratory experiments, personality, performance, aptitude and intelligence tests; observation, interviews and questionnaires, clinical studies and surveys.

What do you study in Human Mind?

Many schools offer psychology at the plus two level, and a student eager to take the subject up as a profession will find it very rewarding. Says career counsellor, Jayanti Ghose, "The basis would be a Masters degree with a specialisation. One is referred to as psychologist only after gaining mastery over the subject of specialisation through postgraduate study. An Mphil and/or Ph.D., would be preferable for long-term career and growth prospects."

Today there are several specialisations that you can choose from . These include clinical psychology, industrial/organisational psychology, social psychology and counselling psychology. Apart from degree courses, several universities across the country offer diploma courses as well. Some universities like Mumbai University also offer distance learning courses.

A plethora of options

Clinical psychology is perhaps the most common area of practice. According to Dr.Mallick, "Clinical psychology is a disgnostic tool to understand human emotions." Clinical psychologists predomonantly work with people facing difficulties due to stress, anxiety, depression, and phobias. Experts in this field understand and analyse the thought process of the person before helping them perceive situations with a positive outlook. Hence the basic job profile would include assessing and analysing behaviour patterns, choosing and planning an apt method of treatment, research, maintaining reports and counselling.

Industrial or organisational psychologists are employed by firms to help their employees cope with work-related stress. "Apart from working with employee-related issues, industrial psychologists are often a part of recruitment, training, mentoring and work with the HR team," explains Kajari Mukherjee, HR faculty, IIM-C.

Professionals also work on strategies and techniques that help improve productivity and maintain a healthy work environment. These psychologists analyse the personality of candidates to ensure that are able to coordinate with the work culture. Sports psychology and cognitive psychology are two emerging fields that have immense potential. Sports psychologists work with sports participants and athletes to help them prepare psychologically for competition and to deal with the psychological demands of both competition and training.

Cognitive psychology, on the other hand, is concerned with all the mental processes including memory, language, resoning, problem solving, and thinking and this is a strong area for research.

What is the Scope?

The pay packet for a fresher usually ranges from Rs.6,000 to Rs.10,000 per month. Eventually with qualititative experience, the salary gets heavier. Private practice yields better results as compared to an employment with a firm.

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