Psychology Abbreviations


What is psychology?

Psychology is the area of science that studies the human mind and behavior and its interactions with the physical and social environment. The word comes from the Greek terms psycho (soul) and logía (study).

The purpose of psychology is to diagnose, understand, explain and guide the change in human behavior.

Even though it is a new area within science, recognized only after 1879, it encompasses many sub-areas of study. Among them, the main ones are:

  • Clinical psychology;
  • Behavioral Psychology;
  • Health Psychology;
  • Educational Psychology;
  • Forensic Psychology;
  • Cognitive Psychology;
  • Sports Psychology;
  • Social Psychology;
  • Organizational psychology;
  • Juridical Psychology.

Psychology studies how external influences (conviviality with other people, family members and the life experiences of each individual) and even internal influences (such as beliefs, values and worldview) affect the way human beings think, feel and act..

All these conclusions are based on tried and true scientific studies, made through the methods of observation, experimentation, description and even simulation.

The latter happens when the researcher or teacher simulates possible behaviors and actions, such as the focus on finding hypotheses to solve problems.

A psychologist can work in different areas within psychology, acting in a neutral and impartial way, with the aim of helping their patients in their development, through changes in harmful beliefs and behaviors.

Using various analysis techniques, the psychologist is also able to detect mental or behavioral diseases and disorders. It also helps the patient to interpret their feelings and guide them to understand their emotions.

Areas of psychology

The areas of psychology represent the various fields of work that the professional can exercise in psychological practice.

Social Psychology

Social psychology is the branch of psychology that achieved the greatest development in the first half of the 20th century. Its object of study is the social behavior of human beings in the context of groups and addresses phenomena such as social encounter, interdependence and social interaction.

Organizational and work psychology

Organizational psychology studies the behaviors that occur in the context of organizations and institutions. It also includes situations related to the management of human resources within companies.

It is also related to work psychology, which is more comprehensive. While organizational focuses on companies and institutional processes, work psychology focuses on the well-being and safety of individuals in their work environment, whether outside or inside an organization.

Child psychology

It is the area of evolutionary psychology that deals with the investigation and study of psychic manifestations in childhood. In addition to recording each of the evolutionary periods, various functions are investigated in particular, such as the evolution of speech, memory, feelings, values, among others.

Clinical psychology

It consists of monitoring and treating patients’ emotional issues, from private, individual or group sessions.

Health psychology

It consists of helping patients and other patients who are experiencing some type of physical or mental recovery to overcome the negative conditions imposed by their health situation. In addition, it also provides psychological assistance to the hospitalized person’s family members.

In this area, the psychologist usually works in direct partnership with doctors, nurses, social workers and other health professionals.

Educational psychology

The professional in this area usually works in schools, day care centers and other educational institutions. Its main objective is to help students, parents and guardians to solve problems that may be hindering the individual’s learning process.

In the school environment, the presence of the psychologist as a professional advisor is also common, that is, a vocational counselor who helps students on the best career to follow according to each one’s profile.

Sport psychology

Works directly with athletes and sports competitors, providing psychological support before and after competitions, for example.

The psychologist in this area has the purpose of helping the sportsman to be able to deal with his emotions and feelings so that they do not interfere with his performance in his activities.

Juridical Psychology

The psychologist who works in the legal area usually follows the adoption processes, violence against minors and all other situations that can psychologically affect the person and that are related to justice.

In legal psychology, psychological monitoring of prisoners is also common, so the presence of a psychologist in prisons and penitentiaries is advisable.

Traffic psychology

The psychologist works in psychological counseling for drivers, preventing emotional problems from affecting their performance in traffic.

Traffic psychology still has the purpose of developing initiatives for pedestrians and drivers with a history of infractions. The purpose is to understand what probable sentimental problems the analyzed individuals may have and which directly or indirectly influence the environment (specifically in traffic).

Forensic psychology

It is the area of psychology that is directly linked with justice and legal issues. In this case, psychologists are responsible for assessing the psychological profile of criminal individuals, helping children in suspected cases of abuse, and preparing people to testify in criminal trials.

Cognitive psychology

It is directly linked to the processes of how the individual thinks, learns and remembers. It is the area of psychology that is focused on the study of internal mental processes.

Psychologists working in the behavioral area study and work on aspects such as attention, motivation, learning, focus, memory, problem solving, among other phenomena associated with the individual’s way of understanding and learning.

Psychology symbol

The origin of the universal symbol of psychology is directly linked to the etymology of the word. It represents the penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet (PSY), which gave rise to the first part of the word psychology. Psycho in Greek means mind or soul.

What does a psychologist do?

A psychologist can work in different areas, such as:

  • schools;
  • companies;
  • hospitals;
  • in sports areas, among others.

A psychology professional evaluates their patients impartially with the aim of helping them with their frustrations, fears, anxieties and traumas, or also with cognitive development and self-knowledge.

It works through active listening, perceiving the way that your patient sees the world and what happens around them. From this, the professional observes, understands and discovers the patient’s distortions, identifying their created beliefs, feelings and behaviors.

The psychologist’s focus is to identify these distortions, make patients perceive them and from that, he understands their harmful attitudes.

Based on this observation and listening, the professional works on self-knowledge and self-perception, making the patient see new possibilities of beliefs and behaviors, having a responsible and positive perspective in relation to his life.

All this work of the psychologist is based on scientifically tested and proven studies, based on analyses, observations and experiments.

Main theoretical approaches to psychology

The approaches of psychology are theoretical bases used by psychologists when developing their work.

There are several different psychological schools and approaches. Below are some of the most popular and important ones in modern psychology:

Structuralism (Wilhelm Wunt)

This is considered by many to be the first approach to thinking in modern psychology. Structuralism was created by Wilhelm Wundt, considered the father of modern psychology. However, the term structuralism was only assigned years later by Edward Titchener.

The main objective of Structuralism was to use the technique of fragmenting and analyzing the mind into the smallest possible parts, in an attempt to understand mental processes, through introspection.

The introspection method consisted of presenting different objects to the patient and asking him to describe his feelings and thoughts about each one.

These thoughts and feelings were reduced to more basic and less complex elements that served for the professional to understand and evaluate his patient in general.

This school of thought had a number of flaws, most notably in the application of introspection as a fully valid scientific method. Thus, Structuralism ceased to be applied from the mid-twentieth century.


Also known as Psychology of Form, this approach began to develop in the early years of the 20th century, through psychologists Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler and Max Werteimer.

Gestalt Psychology aims to understand the parts of the mental process from the analysis and interpretation of the total set. That is, it represented a direct opposition to Atomism, an ancient Greek philosophical doctrine that aimed to understand the whole through the parts.

This new psychological approach is based on the so-called Basic Laws of Gestalt, which continue to be used in contemporary psychology.

Behaviorism (Behavioral Psychology)

This approach, also known as Behavioralism, presents a technique opposite to Structuralism and Functionalism. Alongside psychoanalysis and Gestalt, Behaviorism is considered one of the main approaches in contemporary psychology.

The focus of behavioral psychology is the behavior of the individual under analysis. This method is mainly based on the observation of objective behaviors of the analyzed object, that is, its reactions to the events of its daily life.

The introspective and philosophical aspects of the person (conscience and feelings, for example) are discarded, focusing only on behavior.


One of the best-known approaches in psychology, mainly because of the psychologist who developed this clinical method: Sigmund Freud.

Psychoanalysis focuses on the analysis of the human unconscious as a means to understand the person’s mental processes. Thus, this study, which became known as “theory of the soul”, focuses on the relationship between the unconscious and the feelings and behaviors of a given individual.

Origin and history of psychology

The study of human nature has been carried out since antiquity by thinkers, philosophers and theologians, however, these studies were confused with Philosophy. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were the forerunners of the investigation of the “human soul”.

Psychology with a naturalistic orientation reached its peak in the 19th century and intended to ensure experimental observations. This orientation was allied with sensory physiology (J. Müller, H. Helmholtz) and the invention of psychophysical measurement methods (EH Weber, G. Th. Fechner).

At the end of the 19th century, researchers at the time began to focus their studies on investigations of “conscious experience” (analysis of sensations), through research carried out in the newly created psychological laboratories.

German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was the founder of the first experimental psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany (1879).

Experimental psychology emerged in Germany with Wundt and in France with Ribot, which expanded through the investigation of thought, will, conditioned reflexes (Pavlov), the introduction of factor analysis (Ch. Spearman) and finally, the measurement of intelligence. (A. Binet).

From these experimental investigations, there was a separation between Philosophy and a new discipline that was called Modern Psychology.

Psychology Abbreviations

List of Acronyms Related to Psychology

ASPP Adler School of Professional Psychology
ANTEROPOSTERIOR Adlerian Psychology
AP Adlerian Psychology
ATOP Alberta Teachers of Psychology
AABP American Academy of Behavioral Psychology
AACN American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology
AAFP American Academy of Forensic Psychology
AASP American Academy of School Psychology
ABBP American Board of Behavioral Psychology
ABCN American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology
ABPN American Board of Professional Neuropsychology
ABPP American Board of Professional Psychology
ABSP American Board of School Psychology
ABSP American Board of Sport Psychology
AIIP American Indians into Psychology
APLS American Psychology-Law Society
ASPP American School of Professional Psychology
ANTEROPOSTERIOR Analytical Psychology
AP Analytical Psychology
APRU Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit
AHAP Archives of the History of American Psychology
ABEP Arkansas Board of Examiners in Psychology
ASPA Arkansas School Psychology Association
AASP Asian Association of Social Psychology
ACEP Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology
AHP Association for Humanistic Psychology
ARPER Association for Rational Psychology
ARP Association for Rational Psychology
ATP Association for Transpersonal Psychology
AWP Association for Women in Psychology
AHPP Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners
ANST Association of Neuropsychology Students in Training
APPIC Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers
BAP Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
CBP California Board of Psychology
CPSE California Psychology Supplemental Examination
CSPP California School of Professional Psychology
CCP Center for Computational Psychology
CCP Center for Crisis Psychology
CDP Center for Deployment Psychology
CNLD Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development
COPP Center for Organizational and Personnel Psychology
CPSC Center for Psychology and Social Change
CPSE Center for Psychology in Schools and Education
CAPC Centre for Applied Psychology and Criminology
CHPS Centre for Health, Psychology and Society
CAPP Centre of Applied Positive Psychology
CPA Children’s Psychology Associates
CPD Clinical Psychology Division
CPN Cognition, Psychophysiology and Neuropsychology
CPN Community Psychology Net
CCP Comprehensive Clinical Psychology
CPN Constructivist Psychology Network
CCPJ Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal
CPE Counseling and Psychology in Education
CEPSE Counseling Educational Psychology and Special Education
CEPAHE Counseling, Educational Psychology, Adult and Higher Education
CSEP Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology
CCP Cultural Clinical Psychology
DSPP Dallas Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
LFCP Department of Leadership, Foundations and Counseling Psychology
DPSY Department of Psychology
DCN Developmental Cognitive Neuropsychology
DPSY Developmental Psychology
DADPS Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology
DCP Division of Clinical Psychology
DCOP Division of Counseling Psychology
DFP Division of Forensic Psychology
DHP Division of Health Psychology
DOP Division of Occupational Psychology
DSEP Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology
DPSY Doctor of Psychology
PSYD Doctor of Psychology
DPCL Doctor of Psychology Clinical
ELCP Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology
EPSY Educational Psychology
EPS Educational Psychology
EPC Educational Psychology Counseling
EPR Educational Psychology Review
EPS Educational Psychology Service
EACP European Association of Counselling Psychology
EAPP European Association of Personality Psychology
EAPL European Association of Psychology and Law
ECDP European Conference on Developmental Psychology
EHPS European Health Psychology Society
EJPE European Journal of Psychology of Education
EMPGS European Mathematical Psychology Group
EMPG European Mathematical Psychology Group
ESCAP European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychology
ESCOP European Society for Cognitive Psychology
ESPP European Society for Philosophy and Psychology
ESIPP European Summer Institute in Political Psychology
ETPA European Transpersonal Psychology Association
EP Evolutionary Psychology
EPPP Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
EPL Exercise Psychology Laboratory
EPS Experimental Psychology Society
FSCP Fellow of the Society for Coaching Psychology
FIPP Fodormik’s Integrated Paradigm for Psychology
FIPP Forest Institute of Professional Psychology
FCRP Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology
GSPP Georgia School of Professional Psychology
GRASP Graduate Association of Students in Psychology
GIPP Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology
GRADMSCP Graduate Member of the Society for Coaching Psychology
GPSA Graduate Psychology Student Association
GSPP Graduate School of Professional Psychology
GPSA Greek Psychology Students Association
HSPP Health Service Provider in Psychology
ISPB Indiana State Psychology Board
IP Individual Psychology
INPP Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology
IPRAS Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences
ITP Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
IAFP International Academy of Family Psychology
IAAP International Association for Analytical Psychology
IAPR International Association for the Psychology of Religion
IAAP International Association of Applied Psychology
IAIP International Association of Individual Psychology
IAIP International Association of Investigative Psychology
ICPP International College of Professional Psychology
ICOPE International Conference on Psychology Education
IJP International Journal of Parapsychology
IPRF International Parapsychology Research Foundation
IPPA International Positive Psychology Association
IPSO International Psychology Students Organization
ISPA International School Psychology Association
ITOP Iowa Teachers of Psychology
JSPP Japanese Society for Parapsychology
JTP Journal for Transpersonal Psychology
JAP Journal of Applied Psychology
JASP Journal of Applied Social Psychology
JBP Journal of Black Psychology
JCSP Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
JCPP Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology
JCCP Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
JCCP Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology
JEP Journal of Educational Psychology
JEP Journal of Experimental Psychology
JESP Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
JFP Journal of Family Psychology
JHP Journal of Health Psychology
JHP Journal of Humanistic Psychology
JOOP Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
JPSP Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
JOPPPAH Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health
JP Journal of Psychology
JPFM Journal of Psychology and Financial Markets
JPJ Journal of Psychology and Judaism
JPBS Journal of Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences
JSEC Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology
JSEP Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
JSP Journal of Sport Psychology
JFP Juvenile Forensic Psychology
KAPS Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools
KPU Koestler Parapsychology Unit
LSSP Licenced Specialist in School Psychology
MSPP Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
MAPP Master of Applied Positive Psychology
MACP Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
MAOP Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology
MPSY Master of Psychology
MSCP Master of Science in Clinical Psychology
MSCP Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
MPO Master of the Psychology of Organization
MSCP Member of the Society for Coaching Psychology
MAPP Michigan Association for Professional Psychology
MATEP Midwest Association of Teachers of Educational Psychology
MPL Military Psychology and Leadership
MPSA Minority Psychology Student Association
MAPS Mississippi Association for Psychology in the Schools
NAN National Academy of Neuropsychology
NAOP National Academy of Psychology
NAPPP National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers
NSPCB National School Psychology Certification Board
NNA Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program
NYAAP New York Association for Analytical Psychology
NZJP New Zealand Journal of Psychology
NLPB Newfoundland and Labrador Psychology Board
NASAP North American Society of Adlerian Psychology
OHP Occupational Health Psychology
OOHP Organizational and Occupational Health Psychology
OCP Organizational Consulting Psychology
OPSY Organizational Psychology
PF Parapsychology Foundation
PCP Personal Construct Psychology
PCPA Personal Construct Psychology Association
PSP Personality and Social Psychology
PSPB Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
PNS Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society
PSPP Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
PPP Philosophy Politics and Psychology
PPLS Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
PPC Positive Psychology Center
PPND Positive Psychology News Daily
PNPP Preparing the New Psychology Professoriate
PSPG Professional Sports Psychology Group
PDEP Psychoanalytic Developmental Ego Psychology
PSY Psychology
PHD Psychology and Human Development
PASJ Psychology and Social Justice Conference
PSYD Psychology Degree
PEBL Psychology Experiment Building Language
PITS Psychology in the Schools
PIRL Psychology Internet Resource List
PMRC Psychology Museum and Resource Center
PCC Psychology of Cultural Change
PME Psychology of Mathematics Education
POV Psychology of Vision
POW Psychology of Winning
PWQ Psychology of Women Quarterly
POWS Psychology of Women Section
PSA Psychology Students’ Association
PURC Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference
PURCHASE Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference
PHS Psychology/Human Services
RRSP Representative Research in Social Psychology
SOPP School of Professional Psychology
SOP School of Psychology
SPECIALIST School of Psychology and Counseling
SPC School of Psychology and Counseling
SPEN School Psychology E-Newsletter
SPR School Psychology Review
SDEP Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
SAPU Social and Applied Psychology Unit
SPN Social Psychology Network
SPOE Social Psychology of Education
SPOPE Social Psychology of the Psychological Experiment
SPQ Social Psychology Quarterly
SSCP Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology
SCP Society for Coaching Psychology
SCIP Society for Computers In Psychology
SCP Society for Consumer Psychology
SIOP Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Inc.
SPSP Society for Personality and Social Psychology
SCCAP Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
SGTP Society of General and Theoretical Psychology
SAPER Sociology Anthropology Psychology
SAP Sociology Anthropology Psychology
SGCP Special Group in Coaching Psychology
SASP Student Affiliates in School Psychology
SIPP Summer Institute in Political Psychology
SSCP Swiss Society for Coaching Psychology
SSP Swiss Society of Psychology
SSSP Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology
TOPSS Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools
TP Transpersonal Psychology
UPSA Undergraduate Psychology Students’ Association
WSJP Washington Society for Jungian Psychology
WVAMP West Virginia Association of Masters in Psychology
WSPP Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology
WOPP Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology
WSPA Wyoming School Psychology Association