What is Health Psychology?
A guide for the public
Living with health problems or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle can often be very difficult. Health
Psychologists are trained to help people deal with the challenges they might face as a result of ill health or when trying to lead a healthier way of life.
This leaflet is for people who would like to know more about what Health Psychology is, what Health
Psychologists do, and where they may work.
What is a Health Psychologist?
Health Psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with how people cope and manage illness and health behaviour. Health Psychologists are interested in experiences of health and illness that are likely to affect everybody at some time in their life.
They use their knowledge of psychology to promote general well-being and understand physical illness and are specially trained to help people deal with the mental and emotional aspects of health and illness.
They also use their expertise to try to improve health care systems and promote healthier lifestyles. For example, they may advise other health professionals such as doctors about ways in which they might communicate with their patients most effectively or ways in which they can encourage their patients to improve their health.
Who do Health Psychologists work with?
Everyone! Health affects everybody, so Health Psychologists work with people of all backgrounds and ages – adults, adolescents, and children.
Health Psychologists work with patients, carers, families, healthy community members and health care professionals. Some of their work is with specific populations, such as older adults, pregnant teenagers or people with a particular condition, such as back pain or irritable bowel syndrome.
Health Psychologists may work with people on a one-to-one basis, in a group, or as a family
Where do Health