Practical psychology is a psychology aimed at practice and aimed at working with the population: engaged in educational work, which provides the population with psychological services and psychological goods: books, consultations and trainings.
From this point of view, practical psychology is education, enlightenment, the sphere of services plus business.
Psychologists working in the field of practical psychology are practical psychologists.
Psychology, especially practical psychology, is always in shades. Once it was more pedagogical, once a philosophy of life, once - more consultation or more psychotherapy, sometimes psychology comes to us in esoteric clothes, sometimes it’s an open business: "buy - sell!", Sometimes it’s just entertainment for bored people .
Practical psychology is sometimes confused with everyday or popular psychology, but this is not entirely true: practical psychology does not necessarily pursue popularity and is often constructed quite scientifically. Practical psychology is focused primarily on the requirements of the practical plan, and not on entertainment. Books on practical psychology contain more useful than entertaining material, and therefore are in demand only by those readers who read them not for the sake of "reading", but in connection with some matter and for some cause. In addition, popular psychology is written for everyone, not just for educated people, and its content is usually more lightweight, less load-bearing than the content of books on practical psychology. Popular psychology can be simply read, practical psychology needs to be mastered.
Practical psychology differs from applied psychology. What unites them is that both practical and applied psychology is directed not at theory, but at practice, but it is difficult to confuse them. The fact is that applied psychology is oriented towards psychologists, and practical - to non-specialists, but to broad circles of the population. They have a completely different language: applied psychology is purely scientific, and practical - the normal language of everyday communication. Applied psychology deals with the education of professionals, practical - aimed at the education of people for whom it is not professional knowledge. Practical psychology is based not only on the scientific basis, but also on the working metaphors that have proved themselves in practice, even if they do not have a scientific basis. Applied psychology tries to be stricter and do not allow such liberties.
With science in practical psychology, relations are not simple, if only because the field of practical psychology unites very different approaches and very different specialists, both respecting science and people far from science. Practical psychology, working in the behavioral paradigm, relies more on a scientific basis. Psychologists working in the phenomenological paradigm rely more on generalization and analysis of practical experience, the consequence of which in some cases they are ahead of science (science is really not very pivoting and often lags far behind), in other cases - go from science to completely arbitrary speculation.
There is a tendency to reduce practical psychology to psychotherapeutic practice, but this is in fact, and fundamentally wrong.
Yes, many people who turn to psychologists have psychological inquiries that are largely psychotherapeutic in nature: "How to cope with mental pain?", "What if I do not want anything?" - and so on. Accordingly, an essential part of practical psychology is inextricably linked with psychotherapeutic work, but it does not boil down to it at all. Psychodiagnostics, psychocorrection, psychological education, psychological training, developmental psychology - all these huge areas of practical psychology are not psychotherapy.
Practical psychology is not only a help to people, but also business, and its development is determined not only by the goals and values of specialists, but also by the requirements of the market. The future of practical psychology is for a psychology that can make money. But the best psychologists will earn money, thinking about the long-lasting consequences of their work, thinking about their contribution to the preservation of common sense by people, respect for science and trust in reason.