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Over the years, a general increase in public awareness of the importance of psychological health has become apparent. Particularly in the last ten to fifteen years, an increased interest has been seen in the psychological aspects of how people react while they are coping with illness. As a result, the field of health psychology came into existence. But health psychologists do not limit their focus to issues pertaining to how patients react when coping with illness. Rather, health psychologists focus on a variety of issues. Health psychologists differ from other psychologists in the sense that health psychologists use the biopsychosocial model to focus on addressing how biology, psychological issues and social issues influence health. Whereas other psychologists may focus on things such as preventing psychological distress (clinical psychology), understanding mental processes (cognitive psychology), psychological changes over the lifetime (developmental psychology), or how behaviors are influenced by other people (social psychology), health psychologists instead focus on topics that influence physical health. For example, health psychologists focus on topics such as patients' strategies of coping, disease prevention, the mind-body connection, and even issues pertaining to why patients sometimes make self destructive choices. If interested in a career in health psychology, it is first necessary to go to a regionally accredited college to earn a bachelor's degree. Majoring in psychology is very helpful. However, if one does not major in psychology, it is useful to take elective courses such as abnormal psychology, social psychology, behavioral therapy, and community psychology in combination with an internship or related work experience. Also, upon completion of the bachelor's degree, it is necessary to apply and be accepted to a master's degree program or doctoral program in psychology. While pursuing health psychology in graduate school, numerous opportunities to gain knowledge will be present through various activities such as practicum, internship, supervised research experience, and activities involving networking with others who are already working in the health psychology profession. Completion of these activities is challenging. Thus, during the process of pursuing the graduate degree, it is necessary to show maturity, stability, stamina and excellent interpersonal skills. Health psychologists work in a variety of settings including medical centers, universities, public health care centers, private medical practices, medical schools, rehabilitation centers and pain management centers. After completion of the health psychology degree, salaries vary depending on the work setting. Generally, it is not uncommon to start working at $35,000 per year. However, after several years of experience, the salary could be as high as $60,000 per year or higher depending on the work environment.Health psychology involves focusing on various areas that are both health and psychologically related. Getting the academic training that is needed to pursue health psychology can be a challenging process. But with excellent academic skills, interest in research, good interpersonal skills and maturity, a career in health psychology may be a rewarding experience.
Helping Psychology is brought to you by Argosy University. Argosy University offers a wide selection of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of psychology concentrations at 19 locations across the nation.
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