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What is the role of psychology in Health and Social Care?
This assignment will first look at the bigger picture of psychology, covering the definition, the role it plays, why it is needed in and how it relates to health and social care. It will then proceed to look into the smaller details, covering the branches of psychology relevant to health and social care in a depth that shows clear understanding.
(What is psychology?)
The official definition for the term ‘psychology’ is the scientific study of the way humans, specifically the mind, work and how the mind has the ability to influence the behaviour we display, or the influence of a particular person’s character on the way they behave. Psychology is split into various different areas, which all focus on a different behaviour that we show as humans. Two professions which link with psychology are a psychologist and a psychiatrist, which support similar causes but are very different. A psychologist would focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional as well as mental suffering in patients with behavioural intervention. You need a PHD still, but you’re not a medical doctor. A psychiatrist is a trained medical doctor. They can prescribe medications, and they spend much of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment. For example, forensic psychologists work with offenders, focusing on why they commit crimes. Sports psychologists have various roles, but the most common role for a sport psychologist is to teach mental skills for enhanced performance. (What Do Sports Psychologists Do? 2019). A psychiatrist works to help long term medical problems, such as severe depression and anxiety. In psychology, it has to be understood that no-one’s needs are the same because everybody is different. Factors that cause a person to handle life differently also need to be identified, and once these factors have been discovered, the person as well as ourselves can be helped to decrease hazards involving unhealthy behaviour. According to the World Health Organisation, health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ (Wyatt et al, 2017). Due to this definition, it becomes inevitable that psychology has a role in health and social care. This definition highlights the importance of emotional well-being, which is why psychological perspectives are important in Health and Social Care. Examples of how psychology fits into health and social care including helping people cope with the loss of loved ones or helping people sort out solutions to deal with anger issues or relationship problems.
Clinical psychology is the assimilation of scientific theory and knowledge to be able to understand, reduce the risk of and heal emotional distress so it doesn’t affect a person’s day-to-day life. They aim to reduce psychological distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being by helping those with mental and physical health problems including anxiety. Clinical psychologists mainly work within the National Health Service, with a variety of patients of all ages suffering with a range of issues. New mothers who are suffering with post natal depression after having their baby are often referred to a clinical psychologist, as well as a child with anger problems or depression.
Counselling psychology is a specialty within professional psychology that maintains a focus on facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span. (What is Counselling Psychology, 2019). It especially concerns emotional, educational and other factors. They work with clients to examine the mental health issues and explore the underlying problems that may have caused them. Counselling psychologists mainly work within the NHS or at GP surgeries. They work with individuals, couples or even groups to support someone with a problem that may be affecting their day-to-day life. Issues which they help with range from bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, to someone who is addicted to smoking.
Health psychology is the examination of mental and behavioural procedures in health care and ill health. They work with people showing various different behaviours, such as people who struggle to lose weight or who struggle to quit smoking, to work out why they show these behaviours and help them to stop these things. They also work with people to help reduce stress, improve daily nutrition and prevent illness. Other sectors they work in is hospice care, providing grief counselling for terminally ill patients, along with teaching coping skills and understanding the effects of illness. They also help with other problems that people suffer with. Health psychologists can work in a variety of different environments at any one time. These environments include hospitals or within the community.
Educational psychology is the scientific examination of the way that humans learn and how certain impairments such as mental health or learning disabilities, can delay the learning process. They aim to help children and young people who experience problems that hinder their learning. Educational psychologists work within places of education such as a primary school or a college after being employed by local authorities to help with a child or young person who has a problem learning because of something psychological, such as a learning disability.
Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology that is concerned with how the brain and the rest of the nervous system influence a person’s cognition and behaviours. (Neuropsychology Careers, 2019). Neuro psychologists work in small settings. They work with a variety of people, dealing with patients who have suffered severely with things such as severe brain injuries, strokes and any other disease, injury or disorder that can severely affect their physical abilities and how they go about their day-to-day lives.
(How these different branches of psychology relate to Health and Social Care)
Health and Social Care is the treatment of ill health and medical conditions in hospitals, health centres and in the community. (What is the Health and Social Care sector? 2019). All of the branches of psychology mentioned above go hand-in-hand with Health and Social Care as they work to support vulnerable people, such as Educational Psychology. They aim to promote emotional well being and provide treatments for those with mental health issues, such as Clinical Psychology. They also help those with physical injuries that affect their day-to-day living, such as Neuro Psychology. Without these branches of psychology, we would be unable to observe and understand the needs of different people. This would affect the quality of care given to a variety of people who suffer a range of problems.
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