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What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion.

It's about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues in society today.

As a science psychology functions as both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice, one dedicated to the study of human behaviour - and the thoughts, feelings, and motivations behind it - through observation, measurement, and testing, in order to form conclusions that are based on sound scientific methodology.

Who are the British Psychological Society?

The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK.

It is made up of members from all walks of life whose primary interest is in the development and application of psychology for the greater public good.

The Society comprises several divisions, each dedicated to a specific specialty, and is responsible for the promotion of excellence and ethical practice in the science, education, and practical applications of psychology.

 People seek the help and support of psychologists for all sorts of problems, and psychologists employ their knowledge and expertise to help in many areas of society, such as:

  • coping with bereavement
  • dealing with trauma
  • helping us prevent and overcome depression, stress, and anxiety
  • speeding up recovery from brain injury
  • helping to stop or prevent bullying and improve performance both at school and in the workplace
  • assisting the police, courts, and prison services in the operation of their duties
  • analysing and improving athletic performance

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

If you'd like to know more about specific areas of psychology and how they might benefit you, click here to take a look at our Find a Psychologist section.

Here you'll find more information about specific types of psychologists, the issues they deal with, and how to locate and contact one near you.

It is also possible to see a psychologist on a private basis, though in this case you will be required to pay a fee.

Click here to consult our Directory of Chartered Psychologists to help you find a suitable professional.

There are several other organisations which also offer help and support to people with mental health problems, including:

If you're interested in becoming a member or subscriber, please click here.

If you're considering a career in psychology, but don't know where to start, click here to consult our Become a Psychologist page, which should provide you with all the information you need about studying, qualifications, and career options.

For a wider-ranging look at some of the various topics and issues covered by psychology as a discipline, click here to peruse our A-Z of Psychology page.

This page, produced with the general public in mind, is designed to give you an overview of some of the more common psychological terms and definitions, as well as providing links to help you dig a little deeper and find out even more about your chosen subject.

You may also wish to take a look at one of our many publications.

Currently we publish:

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