Different Branches of Psychology are as follows:
Psychology studies and explains the behaviour of entire living organisms. The term behaviour includes the cognitive, Conative and affective, conscious, subconscious or unconscious, implicit or explicit. It also includes the behaviour of people from infancy to old age, the normal as well as abnormal.
It is very difficult to understand all these aspects of behaviour in one sphere. Hence, in order to make it convenient to study, understand and access the behaviour at different fields of life, psychology is divided into different branches. These branches are broadly divided into two categories viz., pure and applied.
1. Pure Branches:
Pure branches provide the theoretical frame work of the subject. These branches deal with formulation of principles, theories and suggest different methods for the assessment of behaviour. The pure branches also suggest certain techniques for the modification of problematic behaviour.
The important pure branches are:
a. General psychology:
This branch deals with the fundamental rules, principles and theories of psychology in relation to the study of behaviour of normal adult human beings. It explains various psychological processes like sensations, perceptions, emotions, learning, intelligence, personality, etc.
b. Physiological psychology:
This branch describes the biological basis of behaviour. There is a close relationship between body and mind; the functions of each other are mutually influenced. The functioning of the brain, nervous system, endocrine glands and their relation to cognitive, Conative and affective behaviour is explained in this branch of psychology.
c. Developmental psychology:
Human life passes through various stages of development from conception to old age. This branch explains the growth and development of various processes in relation to behaviour.
d. Child psychology:
Childhood extends from 2 to 12 years. This is a crucial period in the life. Future life depends upon development during childhood. Growth and development will be rapid during this stage. Child psychology deals with these aspects.
e. Animal psychology:
This branch deals with behaviour of animals. Many psychological experiments are conducted to know the functioning of mind in animals. Animals like rats, dogs, chimpanzees, pigeons, guinea pigs, cats are some of the animals used for experimentation.
Findings of these experiments are many times generalized to human behaviour also.
f. Abnormal psychology:
Today the life is complex. The individual is facing a lot of competition and experiencing frustrations and conflicts. Constant pressures in life are leading to psychological abnormalities. Abnormal psychology deals with various kinds of mental disorders, their symptoms and causes.
g. Social psychology:
Human being is a social animal. Naturally the behaviour of an individual is influenced by society and in turn influences the society. Social psychology deals with interrelationships of people among themselves, likes and dislikes of people, attitudes and interests, the prejudices and social distances people have, group behaviour, group cohesiveness, group conflicts, etc.
Some of the psychological experiences are beyond the reach of 5 sense organs. That is why they are called extra sensory perceptions (ESP) or sixth sense. Some of the phenomena studied in ESP are as follows:
This is referred to as television, which is seeing the distant things mentally. We perceive at times some situations or things without the help of our eyes. In total – seeing things which happen beyond our visual field through mind is called clairvoyance.
Transformations of emotions from one person to another person who is in a far of place. For example, a person who is in death bed remembering his close relative may be experienced by the concerned person who is far away from him.
Moving the objects without direct contact through power of mind is called Psychokinesis. For example, in Mahabharata, Shakuni could move dice with his power of mind.
Knowing the future happenings well in advance. At times people will gain the knowledge of future called precognition. For example, some accident or disaster that may take place after sometime will be known before time.
This is otherwise called rebirth. There are some instances reported where people remember their previous life details.
vi. Contacting souls:
There are some reports that the souls of dead people are contacted through people called Mediums. These Mediums use a plate called Planchette or Ouija board and establish contact with souls.
2. Applied Branches:
Applied branches deal with the application of psychological principles and techniques for approaching the problems in different fields of life.
a. Educational psychology:
This is the most important field where psychological principles are applied. In the field of education ‘learner’ is the focal point. Other aspects like management, teachers, teaching and learning aids are all meant for learners.
Learners differ in their abilities, hence they need different approaches of teaching, learning material, etc. This branch addresses to the problems and improvement in teaching and learning processes.
b. Clinical psychology:
This branch deals with the therapeutic aspect of mental disorders. There are many types of mental illness requiring varied types of therapies like chemotherapy, psychotherapy, recreational and occupational therapies, behaviour therapy, etc.
c. Industrial psychology:
Human beings are different from machines. They will have many problems in their work place like adjustment, safety, security, health, financial and such other problems. Both the management and workers need to cooperate in dealing with such problems. Industrial psychology seeks application of psychological principles, theories and techniques for the study of all these problems and the industrial environment.
d. Counselling psychology:
Mental disorders may not be completely and easily cured just by drugs and other physical therapies.
In addition to other therapies, these patients need counselling also. Counselling is a process in which an interaction takes place between a trained counselor and a client. This branch also helps people to overcome adjustment problems.
In addition to the above, there are many other applied branches like military psychology, legal psychology/criminal psychology, political psychology, etc.
In this way, psychology has broadened its scope today and gaining more and more importance. It may be expected that in days to come, there cannot be any field of life without the application of psychological principles.
Particularly in the field of medicine, for doctors and nurses the knowledge of psychology is very useful and also essential.