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Psychology in the Military

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 17 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
Military Psychology Psychologist Career

Skilled psychologists are an integral part of the British military. A number of roles are available for psychologists in the military as the mental wellbeing, performance and technical development of the servicemen and women is imperative for their own happiness and the success of the military itself.

Stress in the Military and Psychology

In what is clearly a highly pressurised environment, the military has need for a number of psychologists to help understand, control and advise on the stress faced by servicemen and women. Although there are tight checks on the health and wellbeing of people in advance of them joining the military the fact that they may see active combat and other very difficult situations means that their mental health and ability to cope with stress must be monitored. Consequently, there is a great need for skilled psychologists in the military to talk to service personnel on a regular basis, and to deal with them on a one to one basis as necessary.

In addition to the understanding required of servicemen and women on a day to day basis, psychologists in the military are also in demand for dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a very challenging role that demands the most dedicated psychologists and one which is only suited to experienced psychologists who have worked with military personnel for many years, given that it is a very specific type of psychology.

Psychology of Performance

There are also roles in the military for psychologists dedicated to improving the performance of service personnel. This may be down to negative behaviour, self-doubt or any other type of emotion that can impact negatively on performance. Although this certainly sounds similar to performance psychology in the ‘civilian world’, such as sports or business psychology, the very particular world of the military means that it is very hard to ‘cross over’ from commercial psychology.

Engineering Psychology

Another type of psychology that is specific to the military is that of engineering psychology. This is when the study of military equipment is undertaken to ensure that it is being used most effectively, and that the equipment itself is perfectly in tune with human behaviour in conflict situations. It is clearly evident that this is a highly specialised profession, and one which is the result of many years of military experience.

Skills and Characters

All of these roles for psychologists in the military require the most dedicated people. It is a career that cannot be taken lightly. All roles require a psychology degree, although additional training is provided and further professional training is encouraged. It is impossible to offer a general salary guide for these roles as it greatly depends on the initial experience of the applicant, although starting salaries tend to be around £21,000. There is excellent job security, although the working conditions can be difficult for families not used to life in the military.

Although a very different career choice to working as a psychology in other areas, working in the military is a varied, challenging and ultimately rewarding choice.

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currently half way through my psychology bsc, trying to find information on the possibility of continuing studies and training with raf/navy specialising in clinical but can't seem to find anything on their recruitment websites.
jake - 17-Aug-19 @ 3:00 PM
I have just read the article and am concerned that it does not provide a correct view of psychology jobs in the MOD. The MOD employs psychologists as civil servants, either as clinical, occupational and/or human factors psychologists. DSTL employ psychologists from a wide variety of non-clinical backgrounds, primarily in research roles. Occupational psychologists work in all the Services and in areas covering the spectrum of occupational psychology competencies - examples are selection and assessment, career development, wellbeing, employee relations and motivations, human factors, behaviours, accident investigation and performance. The jobs are advertised on the civil service jobs website.
JH - 2-Mar-18 @ 12:44 PM
Email me if any courses are available in the army to study a degree in Phsycology specifically for the British army, as Im interested please....
N/A - 18-Dec-17 @ 7:18 AM
I am interested in psychology and would like to find more about gaining a degree and working in the armed services to help in my preferred occupation.
Ty - 20-Apr-16 @ 7:43 PM
Dear Maggie Lonsdale, My name is Abigail Paul. I'm currently undertaking a psychology conversion degree course with the aim of specializing in occupational psychology and working for the Army. I assume this would fall under Psychology of Performance in the army. Thank you for writing this article - I found it extremely helpful. Can I ask for some advice on how to apply for these roles or how I would get into the army as an Psychology of Performance? These role are not advertised on the main army website. Best wishes, Abie
Abie - 26-Jan-15 @ 10:27 AM
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