What is psychology and its main approaches

What is psychology and its main approaches

The psychology

The Psychology is the discipline that studies the mind and behavior. Psychology has many different areas and includes different fields of study, such as human development, health, social behavior, cognitive processes, sports, work, etc.


  • 1 Origins of Psychology
  • 2 Biological approach of psychology
  • 3 Behavioral approach
  • 4 Psychodynamic approach
  • 5 Cognitive approach
  • 6 Humanistic approach

Origins of Psychology

Psychology is an ancient science, its origins date back to ancient Greece, between 400 and 500 BC. Its beginnings were through the philosophical, with great thinkers like Socrates or Plato, which in turn influenced Aristotle. However, most of the advances have occurred during the last 150 years or so.

The philosophers used it at that time to talk about many topics such as memory, free will, attraction, etc.

But it was not until Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology laboratory in 1879, that this discipline was not considered as such. Over time, psychologists have studied various aspects of human behavior, such as personality, brain functions and sociocultural influences.

As psychology has progressed, it has been addressed the question of why we do what we do from different angles, including: the biological, the psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic, among others. Let's look at each of these five main approaches that guide modern psychological research.

Biological approach of psychology

The biological approach of psychology studies personality based on how the nervous system, hormones and genetic makeup affect our behavior. Biological psychologists explore the connection between mental states and the brain, nerves and hormones to explore how thoughts, moods and actions are formed.

For the biological approach, which are the sum of its parts. All his studies are based on the physical body. The biological approach tries to understand the healthy brain, but also examines the mind and body to find ways in which disorders such as schizophrenia, develop from genetic roots.

Behavioral approach

The behavioral psychologists They believe that external environmental stimuli influence their behavior and that we can be trained to act in a certain way. Behaviorists like B.F. Skinner do not believe in free will. They ensure that you learn through a system of reinforcement and punishment.

Psychodynamic approach

The psychodynamic approach was developed by Sigmund Freud, who believed that many of our acts are driven by the unconscious. Psychologists in this school of thought believe that unconscious impulses and early childhood experiences are at the root of their behaviors and conflict arises when social restrictions interfere with these impulses.

Cognitive approach

In contrast to the behaviorists, the cognitive psychologists they believe that their behavior is determined by their expectations and emotions. A cognitive psychologist like Jean Piaget could argue that we remember things based on what we already know. We also solve problems based on our memories of past experiences.

Humanistic approach

The humanist psychology Try to help individual people reach their full potential. He maintains that people are fundamentally good.

Together with Abraham Maslow, one of the precursors of humanist psychology was Carl Rogers. It is especially known for non-directive or the Therapy focused on the client. The therapist in this type of advice tries to create an environment that does not judge by being open and honest, accepting and empathetic. The term "empathy" It refers to the ability to recognize and feel the emotions of others, put themselves in the shoes of the other.

The goal of a customer-centered approach is to help customers find their own answers to their questions. In fact, it is called non-directive or client-centered therapy, precisely for this reason, because it is the client rather than the therapist who is supposed to arrive at their own solutions.