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Mind matters

The multi-faceted nature of the subject has opened up a wide range of sub-fields

education Updated: Jul 17, 2012 18:17 IST
NK Chadha

Right from the days of the Vedas, our sages have been interested in understanding and controlling the mind. Today, the scientific discipline which aims at understanding the complexities of mental processes, experiences and behaviour of individuals in different contexts is termed as psychology.

The discipline, witnessing remarkable growth in quantitative terms, is not merely contributing to the development of theoretical knowledge about human behaviour, but also contributing to the solution of problems at different levels. The multi-faceted nature of the subject has opened up a wide range of sub-fields and, currently, psychologists are employed to help in diverse activities in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, industries, sports centres, training institutes, military, and government establishments. Many of them are doing private practice and are consultants.

The application of ancient religious Indian practices such as yoga and meditation has increased the popularity of the discipline outside academia and contributed to the understanding of Western psychological principles in the context of Indian culture.

In India, the subject has been introduced in the curriculum of senior secondary schools. Undergraduate intake has increased manifold, and postgraduate entry is by means of a competitive test and an interview.

Training for psychologists takes place in universities. Most universities offer general degrees such as MAs in psychology or applied psychology. Students do specialised training in their chosen areas, mainly clinical, organisational, counselling, cognitive, biological, health, sports, life span development, and social, educational and school psychology in the second year of MA and during PhD.

Research in psychology is conducted in many universities and research establishments. Postgraduate students, after completing their MA in India, can also apply for PhD programmes in different universities abroad .

The growing popularity of psychology and possibilities for psychologists that have arisen from it make psychology an interesting and exciting discipline. The period after the mid-1990s has seen a sharper growth in the recognition and fame of psychology in India. Psychologists today are presented with a wide variety of careers to choose from. With new policies of the government and awareness among of psychologists of the societal demands and their roles, the field has a promising and dazzling future.

Some of the best institutions for psychology

In India
* University of Delhi n Panjab University, Chandigarh
* Christ University, Bangalore
* Jadavpur University, Kolkata
* St Xavier's College, Mumbai
* Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
* Birla Institute of Science & Technology, Pilani
* Defence Institute of Psychological Research
* National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
* Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad

Globally
* Stanford University, US
* Harvard University, US
* University of Cambridge, UK
* University of Oxford, UK
* Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
* University of California, Berkeley, US
* Penn State University, US
* University of Western Australia
* University of Victoria, Canada


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The author is head, department of psychology, University of Delhi, and president, Indian Career Development Association, Delhi