Advertising and Marketing Psychology Business Psychology Clinical Psychology Criminal Psychology Death and Dying Psychology P S Y C H O L O G Y I N A C T I O N

Family Psychology Media Psychology

Performance Psychology Rehabilitation Psychology

School Psychology Sports Psychology


By Laura D. Radley Anne S. Walters, PhD, ABPP, Consultant School Psychology


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Introduction: What Is Psychology? .............................. 6 Chapter 1: Becoming a School Psychologist . ............. 10 Chapter 2: History and Development of the Field ...... 26 Chapter 3: Common and Unusual Issues ................... 44 Chapter 4: HowPsychology Helps ............................. 60 Chapter 5: Takeaways for Everyday Life . .................. 76 Series Glossary of Key Terms ...................................... 90 Further Reading & Internet Resources ...................... 93 Index . ............................................................................. 94 Author’s Biography and Credits ................................. 96 KEY I CONS TO LOOK FOR : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

What Is Psychology? When we look up the meaning of the word psychology , we learn that it comes from two Greek words—“psyche,” which means “mind,” and “logia,” which means “the study of.” Hence, psychology is “the study of the mind.” (Merriam-Webster.com) Essentially, psychology aims to study and better understand emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, with the goal of benefiting society. Those who choose to study psychology generally have a strong urge to help others, though the definition of “others” can vary across concentric circles of influence, from the individual to the family and then on to broader systems such as a school, neighborhood, or society. That urge to help and understand people and their behavior is perhaps the most basic motivator that leads an individual to want to pursue the study of psychology. Some describe psychology as a “hub science” to depict the way that it links to the social sciences, the natural sciences, medicine, and the humanities. In university settings, however, psychology is considered a social science. Social sciences deal with the study of human behavior in its social and cultural aspects. They include fields such as anthropology, sociology, political science, history, education, and economics. These fields are certainly diverse, and yet one can see the commonality: these disciplines all teach us more about how the individual and society interact and influence each other. Another important distinction is the one between psychology and psychiatry. Simply put, psychologists pursue


School Psychology

graduate level degrees (master’s or doctorate) in psychology, whereas psychiatrists complete medical school prior to specializing in psychiatry. After medical school (and receiving an MD degree), there are three years of psychiatry training to become an adult psychiatrist. If they want to specialize further (such as in child and adolescent psychiatry or forensics), there is additional training in this specialty field for several years and then they must take a board examination to become certified in their specialty area. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, and psychologists cannot (although in some rural or underserved areas this is an option for psychologists). Psychiatrists are also uniquely suited to understand biological or medical contributions to mental illness. On the other hand, some day-to-day practices of psychiatrists do not look that different from those of psychologists. What does studying psychology entail? There are so many options! Within psychology, there are multiple fields of study. Some of them you will learn about in these volumes, but it would take far too many volumes to cover all of them. If you’re interested in exploring more about psychology beyond this series, you might consider developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and comparative psychology. Developmental psychology is the study of development throughout a person’s life, from infancy through old age. Some of the more famous developmental psychologists have been Jean Piaget, who identified stages for the development of cognition in children, and B. F. Skinner, who studied the process of learning and taught us about the concepts of operant and classical conditioning. Another field, cognitive psychology, studies human thought: one famous psychologist in this field is Noam Chomsky, who studied the development of language. Comparative psychologists study animal behavior, and in this area Konrad



Lorenz studied the process by which baby geese “imprint” on the first object they see after birth. If you Google Professor Lorenz, you may see pictures of goslings following him around the yard. Although there are many ways to cluster the various subfields of psychology, one common distinction is between clinical and nonclinical applications, sometimes also referred to as applied psychology vs. basic research . Clinical or applied psychology focuses on understanding and treating psychiatric disorders that challenge day-to-day functioning. Treatment is derived from an evidence base that assesses outcomes or the ways that a treatment is effective. Establishing an evidence base is an important aspect of the work of a psychologist. Some devote their careers to this work, which can overlap with nonclinical or research applications. Researchers use scientific methods to advance knowledge in the field in a variety of topics. These psychologists work in academic settings as well as industry and organizations. Why would you want to become a psychologist or even to study psychology? The field of psychology has countless applications to everyday life, and as such, it can be a jumping off point for many careers. The reader will learn about different psychology careers in these volumes. What’s more, as a major in college, psychology can be applied to a variety of careers outside of psychology, such as human resources, teaching, criminal justice, and many others. For those who have the option to take an elective psychology course in high school, it can be a wonderful opportunity to get a jump start on the weighty decision of what to major in and to see whether the subject matter interests you. In writing this introduction, I can give you a window into a personal choice. I am a child clinical psychologist and have devoted my career to helping children and their families. I work


School Psychology

in an academic medical center, which means that although I do clinical work, I also teach and supervise psychology students at many phases of their career. In addition, I write for various venues and conduct applied research into the outcomes of the treatment we provide. I am also an administrator, and as such I attend to aspects of psychology as a “business”: hiring and training those who do the work in our setting and tracking our budget, to name a few examples. One of the best things about this career is that every day is different, and yet the common experience is of helping others. In producing this series, we hope that we can provide a window into the varied choices you can make with a degree in psychology. From professor to therapist, working with toddlers or the elderly, teaching business psychology or conducting family therapy, there is likely at least one application of the subject of psychology that will appeal to you. I hope the exploration is rewarding!

Anne S. Walters, PhD, ABPP Clinical Director Children’s Partial Hospital Program Clinical Professor Alpert Medical School of Brown University



Psychologists work with people of various ages and walks of life.


Certification: The act of providing a qualifying individual or company with official documents showing that they have met certain standards or have the knowledge and/or skills needed to do a particular job. FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that governs how student records can be disclosed and to whom. It also stipulates how student records can be amended, and under what circumstances. Internship: A work-training position designed to help students learn skills related to their studies or fulfill minimum work-hour requirements in order to receive a diploma or license. License: An official document conferred by a state to show that a person has passed state requirements for doing a certain job and/or performing certain services. Soft Skills: Personal attributes that help an individual interact well with other people.


Becoming a School Psychologist

In The Psychology Major’s Handbook , author Tara L. Kuther states that “psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior.” However, psychologists, unlike other scientists, don’t spend much time working in a lab. Rather, they work with people of various ages and walks of life, helping them understand the root causes of their thought patterns and behavior, diagnosing mental health conditions that would need medical treatment, and offering therapy and counseling to help individuals improve their thought patterns and develop good habits. What Does a School Psychologist Do? There are many specialized fields in psychology, and psychologists from several of these fields often work at educational institutions. Education psychologists study the process of education and how people learn. They develop materials and training methods to help children learn, as well as provide training to educators to


Developmental psychologists study the development of children and teenagers.


School Psychology

help familiarize them new learning methods. Some educational psychologists specialize in academic learning, while others focus on how to make a learning environment a welcoming, safe space for children and teachers alike. Education psychologists also monitor programs and learning methods they have developed, adjusting them as needed to ensure that they are as effective as possible. Developmental psychologists study the physical, mental, and emotional development of children and teenagers. They assess children to ensure that they are meeting developmental milestones on time, and design programs for children who need professional intervention. Head Start, which has served more than 37 million children from low-income families as of 2019, is an example of the sort of program that would be designed and evaluated by developmental psychologists. Counseling psychologists provide counseling to people who need professional help to transition from one life stage to another. In an educational setting, they work at high schools, colleges, and universities to help young people identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to choose the best possible career path. Nonetheless, school psychology is a profession in its own right and should not be confused with other psychological specialties. While educational psychologists focus primarily on research, school psychologists work directly with children, regularly interacting with them by providing testing, consultations, and intervention as needed. Furthermore, school psychologists differ from counseling psychologists in that they provide holistic assistance to students to help them improve mentally and emotionally. School psychologists may talk with students about decisions related to choosing a career, college, or university, but their help goes further in helping students mature

Chapter 1: Becoming a School Psychologist


Psychologists help students improve their mental and emotional health.

into well-rounded, mentally and emotionally healthy adults. They also should not be confused with developmental psychologists, who focus more on physical development than on mental and emotional health. Becoming a school psychologist isn’t easy. You’ll need not only the right educational qualifications but also certain character traits in order to succeed in your chosen field. If you’re not sure whether school psychology is the right field for you, start by assessing your gifts, talents, and soft skills to see whether you have, or are willing to develop, the character traits and abilities you’ll need as a school psychologist.


School Psychology

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