If you are considering a career in psychology but are not sure which specific area you want to pursue, then maybe you should travel the path of general psychology. This broad branch of psychology will allow you to study the mind and its many behaviors through a purely scientific approach. It will be your goal to establish principles and conduct specific research in an attempt to better understand individuals and groups of people. Ultimately, your work will be aimed towards improving society by increasing your understanding and delivering more effective treatments. Of course, as you work to better understand the many layers of human behavior, you will also be responsible for working to gain an understanding of the neurobiological and physiological processes that are thought to be an underlying cause for our daily behaviors and functions.
In your capacity as a general psychologist, you will find yourself studying concepts such as attention, emotion, perception, cognition, brain function, phenomenology, personality, behavior, the unconscious mind, and interpersonal relationships. Keep in mind, your work as a general psychologist will require you to work in many different aspects, such as philosophy, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Regardless of which of these areas you find yourself focusing your work within, it will be important that you are comfortable using empirical methods, deductive methods, and possibly even inductive methods. By incorporating more than one type of methodical assessment, you will likely be more successful as you attempt to identify the causal and correlational relationships that exist between psychology related variables.
In the most common form, general psychology is used to assess and treat mental health problems that patients have. Furthermore, general psychologists work in a therapeutic role and often practice in a counseling setting, a clinical setting, or a school setting. If you prefer to work within the research aspect of general psychology, you could examine topics such as behavior or mental processes. If you choose to pursue this career path, you would have the option of teaching in an academic setting or working in the psychology department of a college or university. It would also be completely feasible for you to seek employment within the area of elderly individuals, within human development, industrial organizations, organizational settings, within many different aspects of the media, as a forensic analyst, in healthcare, within sports avenues, or within areas related to the law.
As you work within this branch of psychology, you will likely find that you will draw information from outside resources, such as types of reasoning or other types of psychology. In addition, you will also find it necessary to conduct research as a means of further understanding particular aspects of the world of psychology. Often times, you may decide that clinical, or workplace, research will suit your needs, while at other times you may feel that furthering your level of education may be a better approach. It is very important that you understand that many states will govern how you handle your practice of general psychology and the research you may conduct relative to this field.
In most all cases of general psychology research, you will be working along the standards of the scientific method. This will allow you to uncover categories, hypotheses from data, and to use quantitative (like case studies or phenomenology) and qualitative (such as interviews and observations) research methods. Although the required educational level will vary some from one state to another, no matter which state you reside in you will be expected to obtain licensure and to complete the requirements to maintain your license.