Portal:Psychology

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International Psychoanalytic Congress, 1911
Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem




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Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behaviors. Psychology has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases, and by many accounts it ultimately aims to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.

Psychologists explore concepts such as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychologists of diverse orientations also consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science", with psychological findings linking to research and perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, and the humanities, such as philosophy. (Full article...)


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Psychotherapy is therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client, patient, family, couple, or group. Simply, psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider. During psychotherapy, one hopes to learn about their condition and moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors, how to take control of one's life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills. The problems addressed are psychological in nature and can vary in terms of their causes, influences, triggers, and potential resolutions. Accurate assessment of these and other variables depends on the practitioner's capability and can change or evolve as the practitioner acquires experience, knowledge, and insight.

Psychotherapy includes interactive processes between a person or group and a qualified mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed counselor, or other trained practitioner). Its purpose is the exploration of thoughts, feelings and behavior for the purpose of problem solving or achieving higher levels of functioning. Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual's sense of his/her own well-being. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family). (Full article...)

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Monk by the sea, painting
The Monk by the Sea, by Caspar David Friedrich (circa 1808 - 1810). An artistic representation of loneliness and associated emotions
image credit: public domain

Quotes

  • "Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality." — Jean Piaget

Selected biography

Albert Ellis (September 27, 1913 – July 24, 2007) was an American psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). He held M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University and American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He also founded and was the President of the New York City-based Albert Ellis Institute for decades. He is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third). (Full article...)

Did you know...

  • ...that the effects of head trauma on memory can be seen by the post-operative results of HM, a patient who has been unable to form any new long-term memories since a surgical procedure performed in the 1950s?

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