The Best Psychology Podcasts of 2020

Learning about the mind, behavior, therapy, and psychological studies can help your professional life, regardless of what kind of work you do. It can also help your personal life as it can improve your communication and your relationships. 

So we checked out the best podcasts in the psychology space to help you decide which ones are best suited to your interests.

On Human Behavior

Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do? Or do you question how colors, the weather, or other people affect your decisions? These are the types of things you’ll learn when you listen to podcasts on human behavior. You’ll discover how humans are influenced by their environment, their emotions, and their basic needs.

Hidden Brain

NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast covers a wide range of fascinating topics on human behavior, such as kindness, nostalgia, suffering, and even money. 

Each week, host Shankar Vedantam explains the science behind the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices, and direct our relationships. His storytelling strategies will capture your attention and leave a lasting imprint on your brain. It’s a great podcast for anyone who wants to better understand why we do the things we do.

Pop Psych 101

Hosted by therapist Ryan Engelstadt, Pop Psych 101 is a weekly mental health podcast. Each episode covers how mental illness is portrayed in books, movies, and television. The accuracy of these portrayals is discussed in great depth.

With candid discussions that vary from raw to humorous, Ryan normalizes mental health issues. It’s a great podcast for anyone who wants to understand human behavior without the often unrealistic portrayals of mental health that are depicted in media.

For Students

Even if your psychology professor is fascinating, and your textbook captivates your attention, listening to a podcast can aid your learning. You might get ideas for your next research paper, or you simply might gain knowledge for your own enrichment when you listen to an academic podcast for psychology students.

The Psych Files

The Psych Files actually ended production in early 2020. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen. There are 340 episodes of the show that are just as relevant now as they were when they aired.

Listen to host Michael Britt, Ph.D., explore a variety of psychology topics and apply them to everyday life. Upbeat and friendly, he’ll capture your attention and break down tough principles in easy to understand examples.

The episodes are just 20 to 30 minutes long, so you can fit them in while you’re commuting to class or working out at the gym. It’s a great show for anyone who wants to understand basic psychology.

On Psychology Phenomenon 

While a lot of psychology podcasts cover psychology experiments or how to use psychology to further your business, some podcasts focus on specific issues related to psychology and mental health. So whether you’re looking for a podcast on a rare mental illness, or you want to learn more about one specific issue, there’s likely a podcast out there that covers the topic.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

The Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin podcast

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly podcast that examines mental illness, trauma, addiction, and negative thinking.

The host, comedian Paul Gilmartin, interviews a variety of people about their personal experiences and struggles with mental health. While the show might be of interest to anyone, Paul makes it clear that many of his listeners are involved in creative arts — as he reports they can often relate to the information he shares.

Therapist Uncensored

Therapists Sue Marriott and Anne Kelley co-host Therapist Uncensored. This podcast involves unscripted conversations rooted in relational science. 

Most episodes involve interviews that address attachment and are aimed at helping you understand what makes you and those you love tick. Not only will you gain a better understanding of those around you, but this podcast can also help you improve your relationships.

On Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy has attracted a lot of attention. It’s based on the idea that changing your thoughts and behaviors can shift your emotional state. Research shows it’s an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Fortunately, there are some podcasts that can help you develop a better understanding of the link between how you think, feel, and behave.

Feeling Good

Feeling Good features David D. Burns, MD, the author of the popular book, Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy. This podcast describes how cognitive behavioral therapy to addresses unhealthy thinking patterns. 

This is a helpful podcast to anyone who wants to better understand their cognitive distortions, such as emotional reasoning or labeling. It can also be helpful to anyone who wants to better understand why individuals with depression and anxiety think the way they do. thinking patterns or who wants to understand why individuals with depression and anxiety think the way they do.

Each episode is about 30 minutes in length and it covers a specific problem or way of thinking. Some episodes involve answering listener's questions and others include things such as "live therapy" sessions.

On Therapy in General

While some podcasts address specific types of therapy, others are about therapy in general. Therapists may share their insights into therapy and some of their cases (while protecting confidentiality of course). You might learn what to expect if you see a therapist. Or if you are a therapist, you might enjoy listening to your colleagues’ experiences. 

Therapy Chat

Hosted by psychotherapist Laura Reagan, Therapy Chat talks about therapy, coaching, and healing. She interviews therapists about their experiences and their opinions as they cover topics related to mindfulness, self-compassion, and trauma.

Therapists discuss the different therapeutic techniques they use as well as the universal experience of being human. They discuss the joys and pains of life and how they practice self-care so they can continue the important work they do.

On Positive Psychology

While some aspects of psychology focus on dealing with mental illness, positive psychology focuses on feeling your best and performing at your peak. It focuses on happiness and wellness so you can reach your greatest potential. It may even prevent you from developing mental health problems.

The Positive Psychology Podcast

The Positive Psychology Podcast

The Positive Psychology Podcast with Kristen Truempy explores things like the appreciation of beauty, gratitude, positive emotions, relationships, and love.

Whether you want to learn about happiness or humility, this podcast will help you become your best self. Most episodes are between 30 and 60 minutes in length and each one is filled with strategies, insights, and tidbits for living the good life.

On Famous Psychologists

There are many psychologists who have left a lasting impression on the field of psychology. Learning about these people, from Freud and his dream theory to Albert Ellis and his REBT treatments, can help you better understand psychology. And there are several podcasts who discuss famous psychologists — both past and present.

Shrink Rap Radio

On Shrink Rap Radio, host David Van Nuys, Ph.D., interviews mental health and psychology experts on a variety of topics, such as the brain, body, mind, spirit, intuition, leadership, research, and psychotherapy. He also covers famous psychologists in history as well. These weekly episodes offer a little something for everyone from some famous psychologists from around the world.

On Mindfulness and Meditation 

While many people are interested in meditation, a lot of people aren’t sure how to get started or what to do. Fortunately, there are podcasts that can walk you through meditations so you can learn how to meditate free of charge.

The Daily Meditation Podcast

The Daily Meditation Podcast

The Daily Meditation Podcast offers short meditations (usually fewer than 10 minutes long) that you can enjoy any time. Meditation teacher Mary Meckley walks you through meditations that can help you sleep better, manage your emotions, and reduce your stress. 

Each episode is a different guided meditation, so no prior experience with meditation is required. The show descriptions can help you discover which episodes might be best suited for you.

On the Psychology of Decision-Making 

How do you decide where to go on vacation, what to wear, or what job to take? There are a lot of factors that influence these decisions, but most of us spend very little time thinking about decision-making skills. Fortunately, psychology offers explanations behind the choices we do.

Choiceology

Choiceology podcast

In Choiceology, Wharton professor Katy Milkman shares stories of people who made poor choices — from historical blunders to everyday errors. She explores the psychological traps that led to expensive mistakes. 

With guests like Angela Duckworth and Laurie Santos, you’ll hear from some of the most influential people in the field of psychology. Whether you hope to improve your relationship choices, or you want to make better financial decisions, this podcast might help.

On Personality Types

Personality is often misunderstood. And while there are many books, articles, and online tests about personality, not all of them are based on science. Fortunately, there are some podcasts that share the latest research on personality.

Personality Hacker

Hosts Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge will teach you about your personality on Personalty Hacker. You’ll discover how to use the knowledge of your personality to develop great relationships, have a fulfilling career, and increase your happiness. 

They also answer common questions about personality, such as whether it changes over time or how to use your natural gifts to your advantage. 

On the Brain and How It Functions

The more we learn about the brain, the more we realize we still have a lot more learning to do. From neural connections to brain disorders, the brain is a fascinating organ. There are several podcasts out there that break down the science behind how the brain functions and fortunately, some of them make the information entertaining, educational, and inspirational.

The Psychology Podcast

The Psychology Podcast

The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., offers insights into your brain. He covers topics ranging from creativity to intelligence, and he offers it in an entertaining manner. 

He interviews a variety of authors, experts, and doctors who can give you a better understanding of yourself, other people, and human potential.

Brain Science

Brain Science is hosted by Dr. Ginger Campbell, an emergency room physician with a passion for neuroscience. Since 2006, she’s been exploring recent discoveries in neuroscience and explaining how our brains make us who we are. 

She interviews a variety of experts who share the science behind topics like how to prevent cognitive decline and how to become more creative. If you want to understand the biological processes going on in your head, this podcast is for you.

For Career Psychologists 

While many podcasts are geared toward anyone interested in psychology, some podcasts get into heavy-duty research. And while anyone might be interested in this as well, the following may be geared more toward those with a career in the mental health or psychology fields.

Speaking of Psychology

The American Psychological Association produces Speaking of Psychology, a podcast that focuses on the latest research in the psychology industry. While it explores a lot of topics that may be of interest to the layperson — addiction, parenting, and anxiety — it also discusses clinical studies that individuals in the psychology field will likely want to know about.

The Private Practice Startup

The Private Practice Startup podcast

Hosted by psychotherapists Kate Campbell and Katie Lemieux, the Private Practice Startup is geared toward any mental health professional in private practice. Both hosts have six-figure private practices, and they interview other thriving professionals from around the globe. They talk about topics from how to brand yourself to how to grow your dream practice.

Practice of the Practice

Psychotherapist Joe Sanok hosts Practice of the Practice, a podcast focused on helping therapists learn how to run their own business. He covers everything from how to add clinicians to the practice to how to manage the financial end of the business. 

He also covers the psychology of marketing. He interviews a variety of guests, ranging from licensed mental health professionals to marketing experts and self-help authors. This podcast is likely to help any therapist who is thinking about going into private practice and wants a little extra knowledge about how to build and maintain a thriving business.

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