OPINION: What students need to know to become Psychologists in future

CBC Opinion
Victor Ochieng'

Psychologists study mental processes and human behaviour. They observe, interpret and record intra and inter-personal relations. They are social scientists who concentrate on behaviour, specific feelings and beliefs which influence people. These scientists study patterns and apply different theories to understand, explain and predict human behaviour.

Psychologists are healers and counselors who work with individuals and groups. Seeing a society that is well makes a psychologist wear a mile-wide smile.

Psychologists also work in a variety of other settings including organizations, schools, hospitals and hospices. They work as consultants, researchers, counselors and project coordinators. Some of the notable psychologists who have influenced this wide old world with good ideas include Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, Ivan Pavlov, William James, Albert Bandura, Jean Piaget and Alfred Adler.

There are different branches of Psychology that students can explore in the near future.

First, there is Counseling Psychology, which focuses on talking to people on how to deal with everyday problems that occur at home, in workplaces or the community.

With increased rates of distress (acute stress), depression and suicides, Psychologists are in high demand for Counselling Psychology uses broad-based practices to help people improve their welfare and well-being. They prevent and alleviate distress and maladjustments. They resolve crises leading to peak performance. Counseling Psychologists focus on different domains such as cognitive, affective and normative. They address challenges people face as well as systematic challenges such as prejudice and discrimination manifesting in groups, workplaces, organizations, institutions and communities.

Secondly, there is Clinical Psychology which deals in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders and problems.

Thirdly, there is Development Psychology, which delves deep into studying psychological and social development that takes place throughout life.

Consequently, there is Social Psychology, which examines people’s interactions and dynamics of social environment. These Psychologists work in organizational consultation units, marketing research, system design or other applied psychological fields.

Moreover, we have Forensic Psychology, which entails the use of psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice systems to help judges, lawyers and other legal professionals to understand psychological aspects and findings of particular cases.

Furthermore, there is a growing scope, especially for other branches such as Organizational and Occupational Psychology, Health Psychology and Social Psychology.

After high school, students who have scored a C+ (plus) and above in KCSE can enroll for undergraduate degree course in any public or private university where the Commission for University Education (CUE) has accredited the course.

Then, there are universities and colleges which offer diplomas in Psychology. The Essential Career Guide by Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) is clear like crystal on cluster requirements.

The four key subjects include Languages (English or Kiswahili), Mathematics or the best Science more so Biology. Then, any humanity, technical or relevant art subject as stipulated in the five groups. Students should hone soft skills such as emotional intelligence, altruism and empathy by joining active and productive Peer Counselling clubs in their schools.

By Victor Ochieng’


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