When people are asked “what is forensic psychology“, they usually think of criminal profilers seen on movies and TV shows, where this is based only, on a fraction of what happens in real life. In its most basic definition, forensic psychology is the application of the practice of psychology in the law and the legal system.
The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis” which means “Board” referring to the imperial court in ancient Rome. This relatively new specialized branch of psychology was only given official acknowledgment by the American Psychological Association in 2001.
The interpretation of forensic psychology in popular programs, books and films caused a renewed interest in the field, especially for the last few years.
However, People who practice forensic psychology are not strictly “forensic psychologists.” They could also be psychologists and clinical psychologists for children, but their experience or knowledge may be required to provide an assessment, testimonials and recommendations in legal cases. Some of their roles include determining the competence of an individual for trial, evaluation of mental health advocacy in cases of madness, and forensic expert evaluation of an individual’s personality. For example, a clinical psychologist may be asked to assess the mental health of a suspect or a child psychologist will be invited to assess children subject to abuse or preparing his testimony in court, in cases of criminal or child care.
Forensic psychologists work in prisons, police stations, law offices, rehabilitation centers or government agencies and deal directly with lawyers, defendants, victims, families and patients in their institutions. Responsibilities within correctional facilities include regular psychological assessments, individual sessions and group therapy, anger management or crises and other assessments ordered by the court. However, the work of a forensic psychology also includes working with the police to assess the law enforcement personnel and provide training in criminal profiling and other relevant courses. There are also those who prefer academic activities in universities to do more research on criminology, law and human behavior. The analysis of trends in crime, criminal profiling and effective mental health treatments are some of the topics covered in forensic psychology.
What really separates this from other areas such as clinical psychology is that forensic psychology is limited to specific rights of each individual case, such as providing advice on the mental capacity of a suspect to face charges. Learn the answers to “what is forensic psychology” means dealing with people who are evaluating and processing not by choice, unlike the usual clinical settings where customers volunteer to seek for aid.
They are also called upon to provide expert testimony, but must be sufficiently competent in the legal system in order to be called as a credible witness for the case. Most of their role is to prepare and deliver their testimony and translate it into law, which was more difficult, because lawyers know how to weaken or discredit psychological opinions.
Finally,there have been cases of indolent or feigning infirmity so psychologists should be able to recognize the actual symptoms and to evaluate the consistency of information between different sources. Much of the understanding of the answer to the question “what is forensic psychology” means being able to explain or rephrase expressions or psychological principles in a legal framework.