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by Dr. Becky Spelman on 22/06/2019

What is Educational Psychology?

Educational Psychologists are typically graduates in a relevant field, such as psychology, and have studied at higher level—generally acquiring a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. In order to work in the UK, educational psychologists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). While many work in the education system, or do research in institutions such as universities, others work in clinical practice, and see both public and private patients, often when a child’s teachers and/or parents are concerned that the child may have special educational needs of one sort or another.

Educational psychologists can diagnose learning disabilities, including issues such as dyslexia and attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can also help people with and without learning disabilities to maximise their learning potential by tailoring their approach to their specific needs. While educational psychologists typically diagnose and work with children, sometimes these conditions are also diagnosed in adults, and Educational Psychologists can have a very important role to play in adult education and in developing techniques to manage a learning disability and mitigate the impact it has on the individual’s life.

Applications of Educational Psychology

Educational Psychologists often work together with professionals in cognate disciplines, such as social work, psychiatry, childcare, education, and speech therapy, to help address the issues raised by their clients—typically children in the education system—and to address issues with implications at both individual and societal level, such as early school leavers and how to maximise educational outcomes in general. They often work with applications of behaviour analysis; for example, exploring how reward systems can work in the classroom,or with individuals to motivate children and help them to learn, or exploring how problem-solving techniques are mastered and utilised in the context of learning. For example, they can work with gifted children, who may need a particular approach to learning to maximise their potential and avoid their becoming disruptive or demotivated, and with classrooms of children from very diverse cultural, linguistic, and social backgrounds, who may pose some challenges in terms of finding an appropriate approach to teaching them.

Educational Psychologists help students who are struggling to find approaches to learning that work for them. Currently, a range of technological approaches can assist students with a variety of educational needs, and Educational Psychologists can work with their teachers to help them find the most useful approach, which might include using an iPad rather than books or engaging in distance learning, for example. As technology is developing at such a rapid pace, this is an exciting and ever-changing area of research and practice.

Educational Psychologists can also help teachers and students to develop a positive relationship in which both parties can work together to achieve the best possible learning outcome.

Who can I speak to further about Educational Psychology?

If you would like to talk to someone about EducationalPsychology, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: +4402038820684 or by email at:


Love, P. (2009). Educational psychologists: the early search for an identity. Educational Psychology in Practice, 25(1), 3-8.

Smeyers, Paul; Depaepe, Marc. The Lure of Psychology for Education and Educational Research. “The Journal of Educational Philosophy”, (2012) 46, 315-331.

Woolfolk, A.E.; Winne, P.H. & Perry, N.E. (2006). Educational Psychology (3rd Canadian ed.). Toronto, Canada: Pearson.