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by Dr. Becky Spelman on 22/06/2019

What are Occupational Psychologists?

Occupational Psychologists have typically carried out undergraduate studies in Psychology or a cognate discipline, as well as having completed an accredited graduate programme in Occupational Psychology. In the UK, Occupational Psychology is a protected title, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Occupational Psychologists are often found doing research in institutional settings such as universities, as well as working for corporations and other big organisations—especially with human resources and management departments. At the organisational level, Occupational Psychologists can help employers to hire and motivate their workforces, and to implement ethical and effective management systems. They strive to understand behaviour in the work context, both at the individual and the group level, and help organisations to hire the employees with the best psychological profiles for particular jobs, or for the organisation as a whole. They can help management to build teams in which there is a good blend of personality types, to maximise both team effectiveness and employee well-being.

The importance of occupational psychologists in the workplace

There is a growing understanding among employers of the importance of creating a work environment that fosters a sense of well-being among the staff. When people feel rewarded and satisfied at work, they are more likely to perform well and to display higher levels of loyalty to their employer. Occupational Psychologists can also help workplaces to devise effective training programmes and to devise and implement reward systems that will help to build a highly motivated workforce.

When a workplace has problems with high levels of dissatisfaction among the workforce or is struggling to deal with issues such as workplace bullying, an Occupational Psychologist can help to isolate the issue, get to the bottom of it, and find practical solutions to the problems at hand; all of these issues are strongly associated not just with personal levels of unhappiness among employees, but also with less effective outcomes in the workplace in general. They often point to a systemic dysfunction in the workplace that urgently needs to be tackled.

Occupational Psychologists can also work on a one-to-one basis with clients who need support and help in the area of understanding how their own behaviours are impacting on their work, and on their work-life balance. They can also help them if they want to make a change in their career or to develop their career in a particular direction. In terms of helping people to make behavioural change, they can integrate elements of various psychotherapeutic techniques, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Whether they work in organisations or with individuals or teams, helping people to be the best they can is at the heart of the remit of an Occupational Psychologist. For most of our adult lives, we spend a large amount of our time at work, and the levels of happiness and satisfaction we experience at work have a huge impact on the quality of our lives, as well as on our performance in the workplace. It is not surprising, therefore, that this is an area seeing consistent growth.

Who can I speak to further about Occupational Psychology

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


Griffin, M.A, & Clarke, S. (2010). Stress and well-being at work. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Pinder, C. C.(2008). Work motivation in organizational behavior (2nd edition). New York: Psychology Press

Schonfeld, I.S., & Chang, C.-H. (2017). Occupational health psychology: Work, stress, and health. New York: Springer Publishing Company.


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