If you are a fan of those courtroom dramas and police procedural programs on television, you may have noticed those “experts” asked to take the stand and talk about the mental and psychological health of the suspects. These experts are otherwise known as Forensic Psychologist.
What is A Forensic Psychologist?
Forensic psychology is, in essence, the combination of psychology and the legal and criminal justice system. The person who practices it, known as the Forensic Psychologist, applies principles and doctrines in psychology to help shed some light and understanding on the psychological findings of a particular case under investigation or under litigation. This would include assessing the motives and actions of offenders or victims, or both, and working on the treatment.
Their most obvious tasks involve serving as expert witnesses providing testimony and evidence in court after conducting one-on-one assessments with the subject. Those who are with the police force are heavily involved in criminal investigations and profiling. Forensic psychologist’ involvement in research projects and studies related to offender treatment and rehabilitation programs is also highly-valued. They also provide consultancy services and advice in parole boards, tribunals, hospitals, universities, and various agencies while helping in programs that have to do with the training and development of support forensic staff.
Where Does The Forensic Psychologist Work?
The legal and criminal justice system is the forensic psychologist’ oyster, so to speak. Depending on their area of specialization, they can be found working in family court, civil court, or criminal court. It is also normal to find forensic psychologist in the police force, where their expertise becomes helpful in profiling and investigations. There are also forensic psychologist in correctional facilities, prison, parole, and probation services. Those who provide consultancy services can set up their private practice, offering their services to victims of crime and the general public. Meanwhile, those who are connected with universities, hospitals and other institutions are most likely devoting their knowledge and skills in carrying out applied research and studies.
Who Does the Forensic Psychologist Work With?
The scope and nature of their job require forensic psychologist to work closely with offenders and criminals themselves. Whatever information and assessment derived shall then be used to help everyone involved in the judicial and penal systems, from the judges, the lawyers, and other legal professionals, to the members of parole and probation tribunals. They will also be working closely with members of the police force, aiding in their investigations. Forensic psychologist will also be working with the victims themselves and other witnesses involved in whatever case is under trial.
How to Become A Forensic Psychologist
Anyone who wants to be a forensic psychologist should obtain a doctorate in forensic psychology or, if unavailable, other fields of applied psychology. Since experience is required in order to obtain a license, they can apply for internships and supervised experience or do volunteer work. Some may even opt for more continuing education. In other cases, some even join the police force to get a more hands-on experience in dealing with offenders and criminals. After passing the appropriate examination conducted by licensing boards, they may apply for license to practice.
Forensic Psychologist Salary: Around $60K per year.