How can psychology help you

Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour.

Psychologists work in many different areas of society and are concerned with practical problems. Below are only a few examples:

  • Helping people to overcome depression, stress, trauma or phobias
  • Easing the effects of parental divorce on children
  • Speeding up recovery from brain injury
  • Helping to stop or prevent bullying at school or in the workplace
  • Ensuring that school pupils and students are being taught in the most effective way
  • Making sure that people are happy at work and perform to the best of their abilities
  • Helping the police, courts and prison service to perform more effectively
  • Helping athletes and sports people to perform better

For more information about the discipline, check out our ten things you might not know about psychology section.

Many of the challenges we face in the modern world are rooted in human behaviour, so psychological knowledge can help us find solutions.

People with all sorts of problems seek the help and support of psychologists. For example:

Adult mental health problems

Every day counselling psychologists and clinical psychologists help a wide range of people of all ages with all sorts of problems.

Some people have particular emotional or mental health problems, such as depression or schizophrenia. Others have difficulties with their thinking, which is also known as ‘cognitive’ problems. These can take many forms, such as problems with memory or perception after a head injury, a learning disability or dementia.

There are many more areas of life where a psychologist can help. These could include helping people manage and live with health conditions such as HIV, cancer or chronic pain, assisting people who have difficulties in maintaining relationships or providing advice about how to care for a child who has been abused.

Whatever the problem, the psychologist will consider what scientific research says about its probable cause and what will be likely to help.

Sometimes the psychologist will be the one who then provides the help. Examples of this include seeing the person for a number of sessions to provide psychological therapy or giving advice on how to manage memory problems.

Sometimes the psychologist will recommend other people who can help, perhaps advising them on the best way forward for the client.

If you feel that a psychologist may be able to help you, discuss this with your GP.

Clinical and Counselling psychologists work across a range of settings, including the NHS, and are accessible to the public through that service.

It is also possible to see psychologists privately, though in this case you will have to pay a fee. Consult our Directory of Chartered Psychologists to help you find a suitable professional.

A child having problems at school

If you are worried about a child who has problems with academic work or behaviour in school, it may be that consulting an educational psychologist will help the situation.

Some education authorities will have an educational psychology department. Talk to the school or to the department directly about making an appointment. If you make an appointment in this way, there will be no charge for seeing the psychologist.

It is also possible to seek help from a psychologist privately. Visit our Directory of Chartered Psychologists to help you find a suitable professional.

Children and young people's mental health 

We support MindEd – a programme that will provide electronic learning materials covering the breadth of children and young people’s mental health for both the healthcare and non-healthcare workforces. The MindEd website provides free online education to help adults to identify and understand children and young people with mental health issues. Find out more.