Interdisciplinary psychology is the study of psychology as it relates to other areas of the human experience. As the field of psychology grows, more scientists are beginning to realize that many diseases and human behaviors may be caused or affected by psychological processes. Psychologists are also discovering that medical problems and chemical imbalances may cause or exacerbating psychological issues. Most practitioners of interdisciplinary psychology seek to discover how the workings of the mind affect, and are affected by, biological processes.
Those who practice interdisciplinary psychology usually combine psychological practices with the study of cognitive science and biology. Psychology is the study of emotions, behavior, and what things affect the development of these characteristics. Cognitive science examines the development of the brain and how people learn, and focuses heavily on the biology of the brain. Biology looks at the inner workings of the entire body, from the larger organ systems to the tiny organelles within each cell in the body.
When conflated together, these three disciplines help professionals treat patients holistically, rather than looking at just one part of them. Interdisciplinary psychology understands that no one part of human health or the human experience can be fully isolated from the others. For instance, a young man being treated for depression may be depressed because of a recently discovered learning disability. The psychologist’s job here is not only to discover why the young man feels depressed, but also to help him fix it. Cognitive science could help this young man overcome his disability, which may improve his psyche.
Biology might be needed in the above situation if the young man’s depression comes from an acute food allergy or another physical deficiency. The psychologist discovers the young man’s discomfort and is able to recommend ways he might overcome it. Of course, overcoming a physical or mental disability may not heal the patient completely, but interdisciplinary psychology states that these things are interrelated. If the young man does not feel normal, healthy, or comfortable, he may not be able to overcome mental deficiencies, whether or not they are caused by the physical problems.
Medical practitioners may also be well-versed in interdisciplinary psychology to help their patients. Those who can’t function as they normally do tend to become frustrated, depressed, and sometimes listless. Psychology helps these patients avoid this downward spiral through encouraging words and creative exercises. If patients are psychologically healthy during their convalescence, they’re often more likely to heal faster and more completely.