Forensic psychology is now considered as a course on its own and colleges are offering it to students as a specialty where students with interest in pursuing the field can attain their degree as they focus on courses related to the study such as social behaviors and others psychologist s in the forensic field can get employment in the criminal justice system as well as acting as an expert witnesses and advisors accorded the power to recommend on the client's competency and treatment during the trial. They can also make a collection of files retrieved from pieces of evidence used in the analysis of crime scenes which helps in narrowing the lists of suspects. Some chose the law enforcement field while some work in hospitals and some as a child and family psychologists. Most of the research conducted in psychology is focused on the study of behavioral change academically. Methods used in this study include quantitative statistical modalities and qualitative ethological used in the evaluation process and generation of explanatory hypothesis. However, different fields in psychology do their research purposely to improve the quality of their services such as clinical psychologists and psychometrics whose research work involves development of knowledge and experience while practicing and measurement of procedures and instrumental construction and development of the refined theory of approaches to measurement respectively.
Forensic psychology involves making use of psychological ability in the application of laws in the criminal justice field. It is considered as an upcoming field since it was officially declared as an area of specialization by the American Psychological Association in 2001(Holing, n.d). Apart from this, its discovery is referred back to Wilhelm Wundt's first psychology lab in Leipzig, German (Holing, n.d). Nowadays, forensic psychologists are trying to help their victims to prevent and minimize such actions apart from the common interest in understanding reasons why these behaviors occur.
The field has been experiencing very drastic growth in the past years as more students develop interests in the psychological branch. They are popularizing the field through books, popular movies, and television programs that depict their heroes as brilliant psychologists by taming down offenders and killers with the help of psychology (Holing, n.d). On that note, forensic psychologists play a crucial part in the system of criminal justice. Interested students in the application of psychological principles in the legal system may find this field very exciting as a career.
Forensic Psychology and Training Required
Forensic psychology involves combining both law and psychology. Schools are now confident with this course and offer it their students as a specialty. In cases of interest in forensic psychology, the main focus should be on courses focusing on units that are related to the psychological field. For example, social behavior, criminal psychology, criminal justice, and law (Holing, n.d). In cases where colleges offer forensic psychology as an option in degree, one should expect to tackle topics that are related to domestic violence, juvenile criminal justice, criminal risk, mental health behavior assessment, and criminal behavior.
The increase in the development of interest in this field is leading to a higher number of students registering to pursue a master's level. Experts are arguing that although these programs are appealing and famous, they still have disadvantages over doctoral-level training and clinical level (Holing, n.d). Forensic psychology at doctoral-level tackle topics like personality analysis, cognitive science, research methods, assessment, ethical and legal issues, and treatment of criminals or people who in contact with crime scenes.. Attaining a fully credited psychologist with a license also has its professional pros in the establishment of expertise and credibility, even the field does not require certification.
Forensic Psychologist's Place of Work
There are numerous job options within this field of study since it does not entirely involve reading the minds of criminals and giving solutions to crimes. Moreover, it entails a wide variety of concentrations and specialties that are connected to the needs of the individuals on various patients or cases. For instance, forensic psychologists may be employed to work in the criminal justice system purposely to help in the evaluation process of the victims, treat, and assess people who are involved in crimes or criminals (O'Donohue & Levensky n.d). They are also often called as expert witnesses and advisors who have the authority to recommend the client's competency, treatment during the trial, and final sentencing. They develop files from the pieces of evidence analyzed from the crime scenes used in narrowing down the list of suspects. Additionally, forensic psychologists can stand in as a consultant and as an administrator to legal populations (Holing, n.d). For example, forensic specialists in law enforcement areas are trained how to positively make use of their psychological principles in the practice of law in enforcement fields such as police stations to handle issues like suicide, threats, and trauma.
Child and family psychologists assist family or couples by giving them therapy sessions needed in the evaluation of patients. The court may always refer their clients to psychologists in cases of child counseling, management of anger, adjustment of the divorce process, and parental communication skills (O'Donohue & Levensky, n.d). A clinical psychologist provides guidance and counselling services to patients affected with the system of criminal justice. In contrast, a school psychologist in a school environment evaluates the behavior of children to detect cases of abuse, giving testimony in a court of law and child custody disputes.
Work Review, Types of Research Engaged in and Research Application Areas
Research in psychology involves the study of behavioral change in academic settings. It is conducted according to the quality standards of the scientific methods comprising both quantitative statistical modalities and qualitative ethological in the evaluation and generation of explanatory hypotheses considering psychological phenomena (O'Donohue & Levensky n.d). For example, academic psychologists focus most on the theory of psychology and research, unlike the rest of the psychologists who work on applied psychology to impact knowledge for practical and immediate benefits (Holing, n.d). Clinical psychology aims their research on the development of knowledge and experience while practicing as they continue to build it up as they treat patients with psychological issues. Psychometrics research involves the measurement procedures and instrument construction and developing a refined theory of approaches to measurement.
The American Psychological Association (2013) argues that forensic psychology can be used to detect lies and deceit. Its application in criminal investigations can help in investigating the validity of a suspect's claims and judge whether their arguments are true or false. For example, forensic psychology can be used to organize the content of a statement that the suspect has recorded with the police. Therefore, it can be used to stabilize the victim's emotions for determining whether they are lying based on fear or guilt. The American Psychological Association (2013) further states that forensic psychology can be used in moral reasoning when there is a need to prosecute the offender based on their levels of cognitive development and the extent of information processing.
Additionally, Canter (2012) emphasizes that the knowledge of forensic psychology helps the police to resolve violent crimes when investigating the best psychological interventions to apply in a given case scenario. For example, forensic psychology can be used to gather evidence from victims and witnesses; hence, helping the police to determine the truth of the matter, depending on the allegations of individual parties. According to O'Donohue and Levensky (n.d), forensic psychologists are usually called to speak to when a crime occurs to talk to the criminal and give a recommendation whether they are fit to stand the charges in court. They also believe that forensic evaluation of minors has challenges that are so unique, and provision of guidelines while conducting child custody cases and regulation of results for recommendation are necessary. There are also challenges in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders in forensic psychology, according to O'Donohue and Levensky (n. d), since the disease may be used to predict future events and become relevant in sentencing.
In conclusion, crimes are committed by people, and that is an inescapable truism. Therefore, forensic psychologists should boldly acknowledge the perspectives of the researchers in the informative related discipline as other fields also recognize the uniqueness of psychologists and what they can offer while tackling illegal behaviors and their perpetrators. A cautionary end note is appropriate because the study of crime should not be considered as the province of any one discipline, and forensic psychology must be protected from becoming isolated from the full range of multidisciplinary contexts. Forensic psychologists should be very aware of advances in their field, while the primary challenge is to be aware of other highly considered and mutually informative disciplines such as law, psychiatry, criminology, and sociology.
American Psychological Association, (2013). Specialty guidelines for forensic psychology.American Psychological Association, Vol. 68, No. 1, 7-19. American Psychologist. Retrieved March 11, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/forensic-psychology.pdf
Canter, D. (2012). Forensic Psychology for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Retrieved March 11, 2020, from http://index-of.es/Varios-2/Forensic%20Psychology%20For%20Dummies.pdf
Holing, C. (n.d). Forensic Psychology. https://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/hewstonepsychology/pdf/chapter21.pdf
O'Donohue, W. & Levensky, E. (n. d). Handbook of Forensic Psychology. https://www.academia.edu/24835450/Handbook_of_Forensic_Psychology
O'Donohue, W. & Levinsky, E. (n. d). Handbook of Forensic Psychology. https://www.academia.edu/24835450/Handbook_of_Forensic_Psychology
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