Getting psyched is a good thing
Psychology is open to students from all streams, although some colleges give preference to those from humanities or sciences backgrounds, and some extra weightage for having studied psychology (LSR treats students from all backgrounds at par).delhi Updated: Jun 09, 2009 23:34 IST
The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best. —Paul Velery
Critics sometimes dismiss psychology as "common sense".
After all, each one of us spends our entire life interacting with others, and relies on our experience and intuition to understand others. But "common sense" can be confusing. Consider these contradictory statements: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder/out of sight, out of mind"; "birds of a feather flock together/opposites attract". Psychology, with its adoption of the scientific approach, helps to yield conclusive evidence to such complexities.
What is psychology?
The word psychology is derived from the Greek word psyche, meaning 'soul' or 'mind'. Psychology soon lost its soul (pun intended!) and is today recognized as the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes.
Psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Psychology till date grapples with the issue of whether it should be given the status of science or arts. These two different traditions take psychology to two different trajectories, one working on the model of natural sciences and the other social sciences.
What it takes?
Psychology is open to students from all streams, although some colleges give preference to those from humanities or sciences backgrounds, and some extra weightage for having studied psychology (LSR treats students from all backgrounds at par). Skills of critical thinking, introspection, empathy, self-insight, coping with stress, and awareness about psychosocial realities will help you understand and appreciate psychology better.
Girls have a better chance of studying psychology in Delhi University. Out of 8 colleges that offer psychology, 7 are only for girls, viz. LSR, JMC, IP, KNC, DRC, Mata Sundari and Keshav Mahavidyalaya; Zakir Husain is the only co-ed college. Applied psychology fares a little better. Out of 5 colleges, Gargi, Vivekananda and SPM are only for girls, while Aurbindo (E) and Bhim Rao Ambedkar are co-ed. Guys don't lose heart. Perhaps Oscar Wilde was right when he said, "The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women merely adored."
The course embraces major subfields like General Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Social Psychology, Systems & Theories in Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Research Methodology, Statistics, and Practicum (Experiments, Psychological Testing, and Research Projects).
Public interest in the subject is at an all-time high, and you could be employed in settings as diverse as schools, NGOs, corporate, hospitals, sports and defence, working as clinical psychologists, counselors, trainers, HR professionals, consultants, social workers, academicians, researchers, civil services, lawyers, etc.
Psychology as a discipline is becoming more responsive to the needs of our society. Applications of psychology include performance enhancement, self-help, anger management, and many other areas affecting daily life like road rage, bullying, conflict to name just a few.
To do justice to psychology, there must be a shift from information to knowledge, and not confined to obtaining a degree. In today's world, there is a need for sensitive, thinking individuals, those who go beyond and look at an issue from different standpoints. This is what we aim for in psychology.
(Kanika Khandelwal is Reader, LSR)