Healthpsychology deals with the psychological and physical well-being byapplying the bio-psycho-social model, which describes that illnessesand health result from the combination of psychological, biological,and social factors (Taylor, 2015). It is based on the belief thateveryone is entitled to proper psychological and medical care even astheir careers, daily habits, and family life problems contribute tothe decrease in psychological well-being and physical health. Healthpsychology was recognized as a distinct branch of psychology in thelate 1970s although some of its aspects were well known since thestart of the psychology movement. During this time, severalpsychologists such as Joseph Matarazzo and Stephen Weiss supported apetition to create a new health psychology category in the AmericanPsychology Association, which resulted in the creation of Division 38in 1978 (Taylor, 2015). Health psychology investigates the medicalaspects of psychology and applies psychological principles to healingmedical problems and physical illness. Health psychology also aims atimproving the lives of individuals suffering from terminal illnessesby assisting them to recover the thoughts and feelings related topsychological well-being. Health psychology aims at findingstrategies that can decrease and possibly eliminate pain as wellgaining more knowledge on particular pain-related illnesses andtreatments. Thus, it is unique from other fields of psychology due toits emphasis on behavior and behavioral change to reduce diseases andpromote healthy lifestyles (Taylor, 2015).
Thehealth psychologists can work in the research, public policy work,and clinical work. The health psychologists working in the researchfield conduct studies on various health-related issues, which helpthem in defining the health problems to develop proper preventativemeasures, health promotion techniques, and treatment options (Taylor,2015). The health psychologists working in the public policy worksector operate may operate within the government or in the privatesectors, and their role is making public policies on health relatedissues. Therefore, their job may include addressing disparities inhealth care, advising executive groups on health care improvementstrategies, and lobbying government agencies. Lastly, some healthpsychologists operate in the clinical work where they conductbehavioral evaluations, perform special tests, and participate inclinical interviews (Taylor, 2015). Additionally, they assistenhancing communication between doctors and patients especially incases where a patient does not comprehend the medical terms.Consequently, the health psychologists pay more attention to theimpact of illness on a person’s emotional happiness. They alsofocus on understanding how people respond, cope, and recover fromillness. Furthermore, it is their duty to educate people about theirhealth and well-being (Taylor, 2015).
Therefore,the health psychologists are mental health professionals who haveparticular skills in exploring the relationship between mental andphysical states. A health psychologist requires training in clinical,counseling, and research-focused aspects (Ogden, 2012). The studiesrequire comprehensive studies in psychological principles includingtherapeutic techniques, abnormal behavior, health psychology topic,and research. The coursework training includes studies in communityhealth, behavioral epidemiology, occupational health, and behavioralmedicine. Mostly, a health psychologist will have a PHD inpsychology, but mainly, they study a bachelor’s degree in generalpsychology and then attend in graduate school for more focus onhealth psychology. Consequently, they are trained to develop andevaluate interventions that can enhance health and well-being byunderstanding human behavior and the basic approaches that jeopardizetheir health (Ogden, 2012).
Thehealth psychologists have significant benefits in the primary caresettings by directly supporting the patients and helping theclinicians identify and manage mental health conditions that thataffect an individual’s physical well-being (Ogden, 2012). However,it is necessary to improve the current situation in the healthpsychology field to ensure that everyone in the society can enjoy itsbenefits fully. First, the health psychology and health careproviders should have a collaborative working situation. Thus, thehealth psychologists should be integrated into the clinical world sothat they can devote their energy and knowledge to problems ofclinical importance. Additionally, it is crucial to apply thepsychological methodologies when assessing patient outcomes to ensurethat the health care provider can measure the health outcome from thepatient’s perspective (Ogden, 2012). It will significantly help indealing with the increased several health issues that are costly anddifficult to treat such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, andobesity and the growing number of people across the countries withmultiple chronic illnesses and lasting disabilities due to old age.
Inconclusion, the area of health psychology is relatively new in thehealthcare sector, which is not well recognized by many people.However, it is a rapidly growing field as many people seek to gainmore control of their life through health-related resources andinformation. The sector is gaining more popularity because the healthpsychologists take a more effective approach to health and illnessesby exploring the psychological, physical, and behavioral factors thataffect health. Besides, health psychology is becoming common as it ischanging lives by offering expert support and guidance, which ishelping people experience health life. Therefore, incorporatinghealth psychology in medical practices can help people become morephysically fit, improve the quality of life for those people withterminal illnesses, reduce chronic pain, and prevent furthercomplications of any severe physical illness. However, the fullbenefits of health psychology can only be achieved if the skills ofthe health psychologists are incorporating in different settings ofthe medical fields such as the clinical works.
Ogden,J. (2012). HealthPsychology: A Textbook.Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.
Taylor,S. E. (2015). HealthPsychology (8thed.).New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.