Is psychology an art or work?

Is psychology an art or work?

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Some are born psychologists and they have passion towards it unlike some people who just work to earn money on it.

The people who just do the same as work, will they satisfy the people with the care which is the prime importance, and is the real burden of talking to the patients concealed?

This is an interesting question, which may or may not garner more than one useful answer. There will be a small element of opinion in the answer which must be very limited for an answer to be a good one for this site, and therefore I will try and formulate my answer with as little opinion as possible.

Your question on whether psychology is an art or work depends much on the differences within your definitions of each. I will base the difference on the first statement you made:

Some are born psychologists and they have passion towards it unlike some people who just work to earn money on it.

In other words, it is an art if you only need to have a passion for psychology, rather than it being work because you just need to be able to analyse effectively.

This then leads on to the question of whether you can analyse human psychology effectively if you don't have a passion for it or a high interest in it.

@sfxedit cited an interesting study (Gollwitzer & Bargh, 2018), which points out that:

some lay individuals can reliably judge established social psychological phenomena without any experience in social psychology.

with social psychological phenomena meaning

predicting how human beings in general feel, think, and behave in social contexts and situations

You can predict how human beings in general feel, think, and behave in social contexts and situations without actually empathising with the people in question. A problem with that if you work directly with clients is the fact that clients can detect whether the therapist is empathic or not (Xiao et al. 2015) so can those who are only providing therapy for the money going to be that effective?

That is open to opinion, so I will leave that for you to decide, however, the founder of Person Centered Therapy (Carl Rogers) believes that one of the core conditions for effective therapy is empathy. Plus, from my own personal experience as a client facing therapist, in order for a strong rapport to be built, you need to be able to empathise with your client's situation.

We believe that the most useful definition of empathy would emphasize the ability to detect accurately the emotional information being transmitted by another person. This entity has been termed empathic accuracy by others (see Ickes et al., 1990, for a brief review)
- Levenson & Ruef 1992

So my answer to your question depends on the kind of psychologist you are wanting to be. If you are a Research Psychologist who is not client facing, then all you need is to be able to analyse the data effectively. Whether the effectiveness will depend on your passion for the subject or not is open to opinion, as is whether the work of a non-client-facing Research Psychologist is work or just an art.

If you are a Clinical Psychologist, or other Clinical Therapist who is client facing, you need to be able to empathise. For this reason, and the fact that empathising in harrowing client situations can be emotionally draining, it is work in the definition and context put forward. There is however, an art involved in effectively dealing with the emotions internalised through empathy.

So in summary, Psychology and related fields can be seen as an art or hard work. The decision on that definition is yours.


Gollwitzer, A., & Bargh, J. A. (2018). Social psychological skill and its correlates. Social Psychology, 49(2), 88. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000332

Ickes, W., Stinson, L., Bissonnette, V., & Garcia, S. (1990). Naturalistic social cognition: Empathic accuracy in mixed-sex dyads. Journal of personality and social psychology, 59(4), 730. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.59.4.730

Levenson, R. W., & Ruef, A. M. (1992). Empathy: a physiological substrate. Journal of personality and social psychology, 63(2), 234. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.63.2.234

Xiao, B., Imel, Z. E., Georgiou, P. G., Atkins, D. C., & Narayanan, S. S. (2015). " Rate My Therapist": Automated Detection of Empathy in Drug and Alcohol Counseling via Speech and Language Processing. PloS one, 10(12), e0143055. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143055

This social psychology study found that some lay individuals can accurately infer social psychological phenomena without any background in psychology.

So yes, as in every field, some people maybe more "gifted" and thus better suited to being psychologists than others.

At the same time, psychologists too cannot ignore the fact that they too have to make a living. So yes, it is work too, even for the passionate or the naturally gifted. And most psychologist realistically understand that they cannot help everyone, even if they want to.



Psychology in the workplace can help you indicate the important skills, educational attainment, and work experience that you would need from your employees. By knowing these characteristics, you can compose the most suitable job descriptions and advertisements.

This also orients your interview process because you can already correctly assess the characteristics you need. The principles of psychology in the workplace help you understand how to choose particular characteristics from job candidates. At the same time, you are ensured that you are not being discriminatory.

Employee Training

Workplace psychology can also help you indicate the possible training needs of your staff. It can also guide you towards delivering on the required training in a manner that is interesting and engaging for your employees.

Note that training in the workplace usually has federal or state required training. This is critical if you have a workplace that would need safety precautions, for example. Your employees should be able to undergo these kinds of required training.

Evaluation of Performance

It is a standard in workplace psychology to conduct performance appraisals of employees. Performance evaluations were created to offer employees the feedback and critique on their performance. This feedback and critique must lead to more productivity on the part of your employee.

Theoretically, this helps facilitate clear communication lines among you and your employees and management. Performance evaluation can also help establish professional goals and identify training needs.


Salaries or compensation is a critical portion of employee satisfaction and of course, psychology at work. Incorporate psychology at work when you create a compensation strategy. This is especially important when you want to pay based on performance.

Productivity and Motivation

Studies have indicated that increased employee motivation usually results in more productivity. The reverse – that higher productivity leads to more employee motivation – is also true. Psychology at work underscores that techniques such as performance appraisals, contests, commission pay (if applicable), and sales quotas (if also applicable) may enhance motivation generally, resulting in higher productivity.

Eliminating Intimidation. No matter what the business environment may be, employees are always the most significant asset of a company. The present economic environment and the tight job markets have actually raised the stress of employees at work. Some employers are using this negative downturn to their advantage – through intimidation or uncertainty to trigger productivity. However, this is only good in the short run. Many academicians have actually warned against using intimidation to motivate staff.

Based on a number of reports, employees who are satisfied, happy, and find value at work usually do better than those who are overlooked or disgruntled over their work situations. Because of these reports, many company decision makers implement positive psychology tactics in the workplace. Although some of these tactics would need professionals, most of them can be accomplished by anyone, within any company set-up.

Creating Happy Employees for Better Productivity and Innovativeness. What drives positive psychology in the workplace is the belief that employees who are happier produce more, are increasingly innovative, and contribute towards a more pleasing work setting. Many psychology professional suggest wide-ranging staff trainings as well as retreats prior to implementing a positivity campaign. Initiating this positive campaign does not need to be overarching nor dramatic. Business leaders, who take it one day at a time by introducing small initiatives every week, customarily achieve solid results through the span of a year.

Learn from Shawn Achor how happiness boosts productivity at work.

Showing Gratitude. Obviously, employees can feel motivation based on many things. However, all employees need praise and recognition. By committing to showing gratitude in the workplace, you are able to focus on the encouraging things in your life and you can persuade your employees to do the same.

In an ideal world, your thankfulness should be introduced by yourself, your supervisors, or your managers. However, this must be done subtly. By forcing your employees to say things that they are grateful for or to say something positive about a peer, can appear insincere. A manager who habitually sends an email a day that recognizes a person’s contributions or company leaders who begin meetings by concentrating on exceptional contributions or positive developments, typically find that a positive feel follows almost naturally. The feeling of appreciation, as the experts state, normally is the first step towards true satisfaction.

If you have a business that takes a positive working atmosphere seriously, you should think of employing a “happiness trainer” for your retreats, seminars, or regular counseling. Note that the techniques of these trainers are different from the typical skills coaches. Happiness trainers use psychological research as well as ancient traditions to teach employees thankfulness, peace, kindness, and strength in facing adversity. These are all important in the current workplace. You should note, however, that hiring happiness trainers could be expensive, at least in the beginning. However, if the techniques they teach your business stay on permanently in your head and in your employees’ heads, your company can see the improvements flourish.

Embracing Creativity, Change, and Innovativeness. Many, if not all, businesses need some kind of employee innovation or creativity. Whenever employees are given the opportunity to offer their thoughts, new products and services crop up business processes become streamlined and communication lines get clearer. In addition, workers whose voices are heard are happier in general.

Even though it might seem ambiguous to encourage creativity, it all begins with simple communication. Mention to your employees that you want to hear their ideas. Of course, give them ample space and time to get their creative juices started. Psychology Today actually recommends that you give them around 30 minutes of time to brainstorm and explore their thoughts. Creativity should be valued no matter where, when, or how the ideas come about.

Introducing Health and Wellness Activities. It has been proven that physical activities reduce stress. Businesses that incorporate exercise and fitness in their company benefits usually register higher employee satisfaction of their work-life balance. For a few businesses, this can be as straightforward as providing gym memberships at a discounted price or sponsoring wellness fairs in your office.

In order to feel the full benefits of wellness when it deals with everyday psychology, many companies are improving their situations by making sure health is available at their offices. This encourages employees to have short workouts even while working. There have been universities that have researched the advantages of having low-impact meditation or yoga in business settings. More often than not, participating in these activities do not even need a change of clothes.

Here is an example of exercises employees can do at work:

There was once a 2009 yoga and meditation test group in the workplace and the results were very positive. Actually, the averages show that mindfulness was raised by 9.7% and perceived stress went down by 11%, for the group that received the intervention. The participants also said that they feel asleep quicker, had fewer disturbances during sleep, and had less dysfunction during the day.

Note that this is in comparison with the group that had no intervention. There seems to be credence to these numbers, no matter what kind of intervention or exercise is sponsored by a company. There was also a 2012 CNBC report on wellness programs in the workplace that discovered that employees who participated regularly in healthful activities showed the following: 50% were increasingly more productive 40% stated they would stay in the company and 30% reported less sick days. The same could be good for your company, especially if it is part of a larger effort towards employee satisfaction (which is truly at the center of positive psychology).

Enabling Mentoring Programs. For the past decades, employees have been expected to stay in just one company throughout their careers. However, the workforce of today is increasingly more mobile. Hence, it is currently more important to have positive psychology in the workplace. An employee who feels that his or her company invested in his or her development and progress is typically more productive and would most probably stay with the company.

This is in diametric opposition to someone who only feels like a cog in the bigger scheme of things. Creating mentoring relationships for new employees is probably one of the best ways to begin this kind of camaraderie between the company and the employer right from the very start.

Management experts have been increasingly seeing that mentoring is not merely one on one, but it is a part of social networking, wherein mentees receive valuable information through the interaction with many experienced persons. A mentoring relationship shows that an employee can be relaxed and receive honest critique and feedback. Overall, the mentoring setting is where employees can receive social and psychological support, especially in the face of stressful situations.

Some of the Top Entry-Level Psychology Positions Include:

Research Assistant

A Research Assistant is a great position for those students who plan to further their studies in the field of psychology (or a related field). Many graduate programs in psychology see those with research experience as a significant plus. Because graduate psychology programs are strongly based in research, having significant experience in this area makes you a more attractive candidate for graduate programs. By working in the field of research, you will also gain the important skills of research planning, implementation, data analysis, and report writing.

Human Resources

Human resources personnel are often responsible for dealing with hiring. However, there is much more to human resources than finding the right people. It’s also about keeping the right employees and about implementing policies that make the work environment more conducive to productivity.

This is no small feat, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. Many human resources professionals face an uphill battle when it comes to finding the right employees and keeping them motivated. While there is no easy fix to some of the challenges faced by corporate bosses, those who have an understanding of psychology, particularly organizational psychology, may have a leg-up when it comes time to solve human resources challenges. In this respect, the psychology-trained human resources professional may be a little like the salesperson who understands psychology. The best human resources managers know that to keep good employees they must regularly sell those employees on the benefits of the job at hand. Human resources professionals enjoy a comfortable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals make $29.77 an hour or $62,920 a year. The demand for the job is expected to grow at 5 percent until the year 2028.

Psychiatric Technician

Another excellent entry-level position is a psychiatric technician. These technicians work in medical or mental health facilities as a part of a team. They are responsible for providing therapeutic care to patients, including observing behavior, administering treatment or medications, listening to patient concerns, and aiding in the process of entering a facility or being discharged. This is a position that fits well regardless of whether you plan to pursue graduate training.

Sports Psychologist

Excelling in sports requires more than an ability to run a mile in less than a minute or to score the winning free-throw. It requires a certain amount of mental toughness, an ability to push through towards a goal, even when going gets difficult.

However, some athletes, though talented physically, have mental and emotional blocks that prevent them from excelling. For them, there is the sports psychologist. This professional works with athletes to help them create coping skills and to developing decision-making capabilities. In turn, these skills help the athlete get back on track.

Rehabilitation Specialist

Those who plan to earn their master’s or doctoral degree, as well as those who will use their bachelor’s degree as a terminal degree can fill the position of a rehabilitation specialist. These specialists work in substance abuse and other rehabilitation facilities and work directly with patients to provide care. They make observations, provide care, administer medications as needed, and provide support services as prescribed by a doctor. They are an important part of the rehabilitation process.

Salaries vary for rehabilitation specialists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the lowest percentile, they make $11.45 per hour. In the highest percentile, they earn $30.67 per hour. The median hourly wage for these workers is around $17.00 per hour. Almost 110,000 people work in this career field in the United States.

Human Services Caseworker

Throughout the country, there are thousands of positions available as caseworkers and managers in various human services facilities and agencies. Human services caseworkers manage cases, services, and patients to ensure that they receive the assistance and services needed. This can include regular meetings with patients, appointment scheduling, meeting with other members of a team of caregivers and management, and scheduling of services. These caseworkers are a very important part of a mental health care team.

Marketing and Advertising

Here’s a truth that many advertising and marketing geniuses know instinctively: People buy based on emotion and then find facts to justify their emotional purchases. That, according to Copyblogger, is one of the truisms of selling. Sales and marketing professionals who understand this peculiar aspect of human nature know how to use principles of psychology to make sales and acquire long-term customers.

That’s why students of psychology have an advantage over other sales and marketing professionals. They know why people buy. This puts them in a position to create sales and marketing campaigns that appeal to people’s emotions and to their need to back up their emotional purchases with logic.

Career Counselor

The final career on this list is a career counselor. These are highly skilled professionals who help individuals make choices about their optimal career. They help guide students towards programs of study and career options. They may also work with those already in the field who are looking to change their career. They use a large number of resources to help those in need to find a career that suits their needs.

According to Very Well Mind, career counselors have the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings. Often they’re found in high school or college career services offices. These counselors meet with students to help them choose a major. Later in the student’s academic career, the counselor will be there to provide advice on finding a job. Job counselors can also make suggestions about how to make the transition from being a student to being a working professional.

A few career counselors may work with special needs adults, helping them to find suitable employment. They may also connect these job seekers with job training programs or work with them to develop interviewing skills.

Still other job and career counselors may find themselves in state or private employment agencies, helping people to write resumes after a job loss or to file for unemployment. These counselors also know about training programs for people who wish to change careers.


Students in psychology degree programs write a lot over the course of their studies. Their studies require them to think deeply about human nature and then to write articulately about what they’ve learned. In this respect, the study of psychology becomes an excellent way to prepare for a career in writing.

This is true regardless of the type of writing the person pursues. Here’s an example. Writing for magazines or TV news shows requires an understanding of research and factual reporting. A psychology major’s training taught hm or her how to look at facts, to make connections between the facts and to communicate those findings in writing and orally. Given the fact that the average reporter does all of these activities each day, it’s no wonder that some psychology majors consider a career in journalism.

As for the person who wants to be a fiction writer, the study of psychology is helpful there, too. After all, psychology students spend years thinking deeply about what motivates people to do what they do. Knowing about what makes people tick allows a writer to create realistic, yet compelling characters, which is the stuff that best-selling books are made of.

However, these jobs only represent a small glimpse into the world of writing jobs. These days, there are technical writers, public relations specialists, screen and play writers, bloggers and white paper authors. According to Payscale, writers earn between $31,000 and $83,000 a year. $50,000 per year is the average.

Educational Psychologists and Curriculum Designer

Some branches of psychology, like cognitive psychology, study how people’s brains work and how they learn. For the psychology major who loves teaching and learning, a degree in psychology, with an emphasis in educational psychology, could lead to a career in education. This degree track is particularly useful for those who want to go into the field of instructional design, educational technology or curriculum development.

These branches of education support the creation of educational materials. This knowledge allows the educational psychologist to work with special needs kids if they wish or to create training materials for adult learners in a corporate setting. Additionally, a degree in educational psychology coupled with studies in video game development allows the psychology major to create educational video games and other fun learning tools.

People who develop training and curricula can expect to earn around $61,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, almost 29,000 people work as educational designers or curriculum developers.

Group Home Life Assistant

Developmentally disabled teens and adults often live in group-home settings that allow them to learn life skills. These homes are staffed by people who have been trained in psychology. These professionals teach those in their care how to cook and clean, how to take part in community events, and how to develop job skills.

The group home life assistant may also administer medications and take their clients on outings to do errands. The purpose of this job is to teach self-reliance and life skills to the people who live in the group home.

An article in Chron reports that entry-level group home workers make almost $22,000 a year. The highest-paid among them earn almost $30,000 a year. Salaries for these positions depend on where in the United States the worker finds a job. People who work these jobs in Connecticut, Alaska, Vermont and Rhode Island make the most money.

School Counselor’s Assistant

School counselors provide an emotional and academic rudder to students from elementary school to high school. These professionals work with students to develop educational goals after high school or to deal with personal issues.

While many school counselors have master’s degrees, those who wish to have careers in the field can get their feet wet by becoming school counseling assistants. Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in educational psychology or a related field can help land a job.

These professionals help keep student files organized. They also set up appointments with families, students and teachers. Counseling assistants might also assist students who wish to transfer from one class to another. Finally, people who work these jobs may also jot down notes during meetings between families and the school.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate sales are a very specific branch of sales in that they require the salesperson to convince people to pay large sums of money for an item that they won’t pay off for about 30 years. This is no small feat.

Doing the job well not only requires an in-depth understanding of real estate law but also psychology. Knowing what people look for when buying a home is extremely useful. Once again, it’s good to be reminded that people purchase items for emotional reasons and then find facts to back up their emotional purchase.

Here’s what this means. Of course, everyone needs a place to live. However, if the process of buying a home were only about securing shelter from a storm, it is unlikely that there would be many luxury homebuyers. Buying a home is really about security and prestige and creating memories with family and friends. The real estate agent who also has training in psychology knows how to tap into these feelings to get people to buy a home, possibly even an expensive one even if it may not seem logical to do so.

Salaries for real estate agents vary, with those making the least brining home about $66,687 per year, while those who make the most earn almost $91,000 per year, according to Zip Recruiter. Real estate agents in New York make the most, while Realtors in North Carolina earn the least.

College Admissions Counselor

Deciding which college to attend and which major to select count as some of the biggest decisions soon-to-be high school grads will face. Often, it’s the college admissions counselor who guides these students as they make their way through the college application process.

Understanding how incoming students feel, what their fears and concerns are, and more importantly, what their goals are can help the counselor provide better guidance for students. Training in psychology can help in this regard. It’s possible to get a job as an admissions counselor with a bachelor’s degree, making it a viable and often lucrative entry-level job for the psychology major.

According to, entry-level college admissions counselors make almost $32,000 a year. They can earn up to $60,000 per year, though the average is around $42,742 per annum.

Art Therapy

Art therapy careers combine training in studio art with coursework in psychology. In the job setting, the art therapist uses his or her training to teach people how to use art materials to grapple with often complex issues, like PTSD, cancer, or job loss. Art therapists guide their clients through the art-making process. They then help their clients interpret their own art and to find meaning and strength from their art creation.

Entry-level art therapists work in a number of different work environments. Some feel called to work in correctional facilities, while others choose to work in hospitals. Still others set up shop in educational institutions or nursing homes.

Naturally, some of these practitioners also set up their own art therapy practice. They see clients in a private office setting.

It’s also important to note that most art therapists are practicing artists themselves. They have found therapeutic benefit in creating art and continue to create art for personal and public display.

Aside from having skills in art and psychology, the most effective art therapists possess compassion, creativity, and relationship-building skills, according to The Balance Careers.

Career prospects for art therapists look promising. Most earn between $30,000 and $80,000 a year. Mid-career art therapists earn about $45,000 a year.

Parole Officers

Parole officers help ex-convicts acclimate back into life after incarceration. Many of the people that the parole officer works with have experienced a number of challenges and even traumas in life, which caused them to make poor choices. The parole officer can help these people turn their lives around and make better choices in the future.

On any given day, a parole officer may try to find housing for a newly-paroled prisoner. The parole officer may also work on related paperwork or help those in his or her charge find employment. Finally, the parole officer is expected to monitor ex-convicts after they’re released. Some ex-convicts may suffer from issues surrounding addiction and substance abuse. The parole officer checks in with the people he or she is working with to ensure that they’re attending meetings that address these addictions.

It’s a challenging job at times. That’s why training in psychology is so useful. The law enforcement professional who understand criminal behavior and thought is better equipped to help those in his or her charge. While working as a parole officer may not be the first job that comes to mind for a psychology major, it can certainly be one of the most logical applications for the degree all things considered.

According to Payscale, entry-level parole officers make $33,000 a year. Those in the highest income brackets bring home about $78,000 per year. On average, a parole officer can expect to earn about $43,000 per year.

Final Words About Entry-Level Psychology Jobs

The workings of the human mind have fascinated people for thousands of years. As the course of human history has unfolded, people have wondered why humans do the things they do. Why did early humans paint on cave walls? Why did famous historic figures start wars or make treaties for them? Why did one person go into a life of crime, while another person with a similar background go on to become a great humanitarian?

The study of psychology has sought to address these questions, and those who study psychology have placed themselves in an enviable position. Once they hit the job market, they are in a better position to understand customer behavior, to get along with their colleagues and to track down even the cleverest of criminals.

Additionally, entry-level jobs for psychology graduates cover a broad range of career fields from law enforcement to art therapy to sales. In other words, it’s a very flexible degree that provides a foundation for a number of different kinds of careers as this list shows. This is particularly true if the degree holder takes on a double major. Training in psychology, coupled with training in subjects, like art or game development, law enforcement or sales, creates a well-rounded employee who’s ready to tackle even the most complex jobs.

Finally, it’s important to note that the jobs on this list are only a fraction of the jobs that a psychology degree trains people for, and these jobs are entry-level at that. People who go on to get advanced degrees can parlay their psychology education to move into careers in forensic psychology, art direction, school counseling, group home management, and sports marketing to name but a few.

HR and I-O Similarities

The primary focus of an I-O psychologist is to help improve an organization's performance through helping them recruit, hire and retain the right people, improve the skills of current employees or improve team work and morale. The HR manager is also concerned with the process of recruitment, hiring and retention. Both occupations require strong interpersonal and communication skills. Since HR managers are employees, their ability to function as members of the management team is important to the organization. When an I-O psychologist is an employee, teamwork may also be a consideration.

Similarities Between Psychologists and Social Workers

Psychologists and social workers sometimes work together in patient care. They provide guidance and resources to their clients, establishing care plans that help clients reach their goals. Professionals in the fields of psychology and social work also pursue similar educational paths.

General Patient Care

Psychologists and social workers deal with the behaviors, mental health and well-being of their clients. Professionals in both fields work with individuals, families and communities, and use their education and experience to develop unique treatment plans to address the concerns of their clients. Many of the same skills, particularly soft skills, are necessary for psychology and social work, including strong communication and interpersonal skills and advanced problem-solving skills.

Educational Requirements

Those who are seeking careers in psychology or social work generally earn a bachelor’s degree as a foundation for an advanced degree. Those who pursue an advanced degree in social work may choose to get a bachelor’s in the related discipline of psychology. By the same token, students who pursue an advanced degree in psychology may choose to first obtain a bachelor’s in social work.

For the most part, psychologists and social workers both should earn master’s degrees. After completing an advanced degree, professionals in both fields must complete internships or clinical work. Those in psychology will complete a 1-2-year full-time internship supervised by an experienced professional in the field. Social workers must complete 2-3 years of supervised clinical work. The goal of supervised clinical work and internships is to provide new psychologists and social workers with the necessary real-world experience to obtain state licensure.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Selecting the best BA in psychology program requires extra consideration, as this field offers multiple professional opportunities. Prospective students should identify specific goals to develop a career pathway. Additionally, tuition varies and many universities offer in-person, hybrid, or online format options.

Learn More About a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology has created a page that debunks commonly misrepresented information regarding the value of a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Candidates can also read about admission requirements, average costs, and basic expectations of a psychology program. This page also focuses on core concepts, concentrations, careers, and advanced degree options.

Explore Psychology Careers also offers a resource delineating several psychology careers and potential specializations. Each profile contains information about target populations and work environments. Aspiring psychologist students also learn about credentials needed to qualify for advanced positions, salary trends, and professional organizations that provide information about current efforts in the field.

The Argument Against Psychology as Science

Berezow's explanation for why he opines the discipline of psychology to not be "scientifically rigorous" is 5-fold:

  1. Terminology fails to be "clearly defined"
  2. Issues with quantification
  3. Experimental conditions are not highly controlled
  4. Problems with reproducibility
  5. Predictability not present
  6. Testability questionable

He's willing to concede the entire field of psychology is not "wishy-washy by saying, "Some psychology research is far more scientifically rigorous. And the field often yields interesting and important insights." But in the final "analysis," Berezow concludes, "But to claim psychology is 'science' is inaccurate. Actually, it's worse than that. It's an attempt to redefine science."

The Psychology of Art

Vygotsky opened up an original field in the science of psychology, based on the sociohistorical theory of the nature of man's consciousness.

This work, written more than forty years ago and now translated into English for the first time, approaches the study of art from a psychological basis. However, Vygotsky's view is free of the old subjective-empirical outlook. His method, while objective and analytical, found its basis in the reasoning that to analyze the structure of artistic creation one must re-create the total concept motivated Vygotsky to evolve the means by which artistic accomplishments could be examined and the elements of their validity “revealed.”

The Psychology of Art discusses the literary genre in its classical forms – the fable, the epic, the short story, and Shakespearean tragedy. The heightened levels of perception and feeling that are created by great literature and drama are discussed by Vygotsky with clarity and conviction.

Many of the appraisals in this work resulted from Vygotsky's reaction to the fallacious “solutions” proposed by the one-sided, traditional views of the literary critics of his time. An entire chapter, “Art as Technique,” investigates and expresses his contradistinctive views of the formalistic view of the nature of art. For Vygotsky, form did not and could not exist independently as a valid dimension – form appeared only in relation to the medium or the material it incarnated.

Vygotsky's presentation of his thesis in The Psychology of Art is a logical procession of his basic thoughts. In the first chapter, “The Psychological Problem of Art,” he clarifies the major pitfall of criticism up to his day, where he points out: “The fundamental error of experimental aesthetics consists in starting from the wrong end, that of aesthetic pleasure and aesthetic appraisal, all the while intentionally ignoring the fact that both pleasure and appraisal may be arbitrary, secondary, or even irrelevant features of aesthetic behavior.” From here he goes on to investigate the psychological premises of art.

In viewing a work of art as “a combination of aesthetic symbols aimed at arousing emotions in people,” Vygotsky proceeds to analyze these symbols and re-create the basic, “impersonal” components that make up the psychology of the work – without specific references to author-creator or reader-subject – examining only the elements of form and material that are combined in the work. For example, in his chapter on Hamlet Vygotsky examines the structure from “subjective” and “objective” viewpoints, presents the problems of “identification” of the hero, and discusses the play in its various levels of consciousness.

Essentially a work of synthesis, The Psychology of Art laid the foundations for a new science of art, and as such is a major contribution to its study.

What Does an Art Therapist Do?

Art therapists do not place limitations on their patients. They understand that the creative process can be a very complex one and that the process itself is probably the most important part of successful treatment. By giving their patients the tools to create and the guidance to express themselves through art, therapists in this field are able to help their patients come to a greater understanding of their issues.

Observation, assessment and evaluation are all important parts of the art therapist’s job. Pursuing an art therapy degree won’t necessarily turn you into a Picasso or Michaelangelo, but it will give you a deep understanding of the creative process and, more importantly, how to help patients unlock creativity to deal with the problems they experience.

Social Work, Counseling, or Psychology: How to Pick Your Path

Learn about each unique degree path, compare career prospects, specialization opportunities, and earning potential, and decide which one these mental and public health careers is the right choice for you.

If you want to help people improve their mental health and wellness, you’ve probably considered a career in social work, counseling, and psychology. Each profession involves teaching people healthy coping skills and positive life management strategies to deal with emotional and psychological challenges. And while these careers share a number of important characteristics, there are distinctions that set each profession apart from one another. Whether you want to help people get to the root of their problems, or you want to teach individuals useful life skills, this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn what makes each of these professions unique and gather the tools and resources you need to pick your path toward a rewarding career helping others.