Personality Psychology is a psychology subspecialty that analyzes human nature. In other words, it addresses individual personality traits and types as well as how and why they develop. Personality Psychologists develop a broad understanding of developmental psychology, human motivation, the unconscious, the self and maturity.
What Does a Personality Psychologist Do?
There are many theories related to Personality Psychology. You’ve probably heard of Myers-Briggs Personality Types, but there are many other tests and standards, such as Trait Theory (that personality is an amalgamation of many different traits), Gordon Allport’s dispositional perspective (which looks at traits through cultural and internal influences) or Hans Eysenck’s three-trait model (breaking down personality types into three categories of extroversion, neuroticism and psychoticism).
A Personality Psychologist will spend much of their time analyzing clients using one or more of these types of personality tests. They may also diagnose and treat clients for personality disorders.
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Careers in Personality Psychology
In direct care, Personality Psychologists may be working with clients with different types of personality disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcissism or schizophrenia. In this capacity, a Personality Psychologist would be familiar with behavior therapy, applied behavior analysis and cognitive therapy.
However, Personality Psychologists are also often found more in a research role, analyzing group or individual behavior, developing theories of personality or even assisting businesses in marketing to certain groups.
Either way, your job prospects will be much higher with a doctorate degree and you can expect to earn anywhere from $70-$90,000 annually.
Obtaining a Personality Psychology Degree
Personality Psychology degree programs rely heavily on theoretical classes, particularly those focusing on how we think about the development of self, mind and social interaction. As a student, you will also be expected to know much about cognitive psychology, human behavior and applied behavior analysis.
For licensing, you will need a doctorate degree at the very least. Your state will most likely also require passage of a licensing exam and supervised field training experience.