Health psychology, also known as medical psychology or interpersonal psychology, is an interesting branch of psychology that studies how mental, social, and biological factors affect health and well being. Health psychologists try to promote good health through prevention and maintaining good mental health.
They also seek methods to improve the self-image of individuals and improve people’s coping skills in dealing with stress. Health psychology is important in the field of medicine because it focuses more on how behaviour influences health,
Health psychology is well-positioned to help individuals to change the behaviours that contribute to their health and wellbeing. Psychologists who work on this branch of medicine usually conduct applied research on how to prevent unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and look for new ways to encourage healthy actions such as exercising.
Importance of Health Psychology
In this article, you will read about the main components of health psychology.
First, we will look at the definition of health psychology. Health psychologist focuses on how biology, psychology, behaviour, and social factors influence health and illness. Human health and illness are influenced by a wide variety of factors, we have contagious and hereditary illnesses which are common, many behavioural and psychological factors can impact overall physical wellbeing and various medical conditions.
The main components of health psychology are biological and behavioural.
Biological factors include
- Social aspects of an individual’s health
Psychological factors include social support and social skills, which are influenced by genes, while the biological factors include diet, physical activity, and the immune system. Behaviour changes are caused by environmental circumstances and include
- Coping skills
Health Psychology Programs
There are many health psychology programs all over the world. Many psychologists conduct research and give training in this broad field. At present, there are many institutions offering graduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in health psychology.
Many psychologists now work in the academic community and many open private practices in which they offer diagnosis, counselling, and therapies for a wide range of psychological conditions. There are also institutions that conduct training in
- Public health
Health Psychology Degree
There are many schools that offer health psychology programs. Some of the best schools are the University of Michigan located in the Ann Arbor campus, New York University (NYU) in New York, University of Chicago, and Duke University located in North Carolina.
There are other institutions that offer health programs, but most of them focus on specific courses and areas such as
- Family and child therapy
- Developmental psychology, or geriatric care
Some programs also offer
- Fellowship training
- Research training
- Practicum opportunities for professionals already working in the field
Most health programs are also designed to help students prepare for senior positions and advancement within their current employer.
Psychology jobs often include a combination of study in the field, including
- Clinical practice
The clinical practice involves
- The study of health psychology from a scientific perspective
- Using methods such as interviewing, research design, and research methodologies to identify patterns of risk and identify those at risk for particular illnesses.
Professionals who specialize in this area can provide guidance and assistance to
- Medical professionals on many different levels
By working closely with the patient and the primary care provider, health psychology professionals are able to make a positive impact on the overall health of patients and families.
A good health psychology professional will be an asset in groups as well as solitary. Because everyone is unique and people have varied experiences under various circumstances, there are likely to be instances where a health psychologist might explore a particular issue in depth.
If a parent is concerned that their child may be aggressive or prone to injury, they can seek help from a clinical psychologist. A doctor’s office or school nurse might be able to suggest another resource or consider a behavioural health professional to help them monitor and evaluate a child’s behaviour.
In addition to working in a clinical or clinic setting, health psychology specialists can also find work in private sector settings such as hospitals, schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Some individuals choose to focus their career in one specific specialty area, while others enjoy working in a variety of areas. The field has a wide range of potential placements, allowing graduates to find work in a variety of environments.
Whether a health psychologist is working in public health, education, or health care, they study and examine a number of factors that influence health. They evaluate and determine how these factors interact with one another to create patterns of individual behaviors and family experiences.
By understanding how the mind and body work together to create our experience of life, health psychologists are helping people to make informed decisions about their health care and ensure that they live a long and productive life.
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