Education and Training
The qualification to be a forensic psychologist requires one to earn a doctorate degree in forensic psychology. It apply to those working both in research and applied forensic psychology. One is required to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology or any related field area from a recognized learning institution to enable eligibility or doctoral program. The doctoral training program may take a maximum of four years of graduate coursework. An internship is also required before one graduates. The licensing laws are different in various states according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but majority of states require licensing for psychologists. The requirements for licensing are internship completion, accredited doctoral degree, obtaining required score in the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and a professional experience for a minimum of two years. The completion of all the aforementioned requirements enabled one to be a licensed forensic psychologist.
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Description of the profession
Forensic psychology play an important role preventing and punishing crime. Forensic is usually defined as the investigation of crime using scientific methods. Therefore, the profession is known as the combination psychology and law. The focus of psychology is on the criminals. The forensic psychology professionals usually have the responsibility of figuring out the type of person who committed a crime, why certain categories of people commit crimes and the method of preventing people from committing crimes. The psychologists were not values as expert witness in criminal justice system before 1940 and the preference was on medical doctors. The psychologists were accepted as expert witnesses in the courtroom after the 1962 court case of United States v. Jenkins. The forensic psychologists help in sentencing criminals to protect other citizen or suppress their possibility of committing a crime again.
Forensic psychologist may work government agencies, schools, law firms, courthouse, police departments, rehabilitation centers private sectors and prisons. Forensic psychiatrists determines whether or not a criminal suspect has a mental disorder. For instance, they assist in treating incarcerated persons with addiction issues and substance abuse. The work also involves important legal cases which involves minors. Here the psychologist have the responsibility of helping children in cases of abuse to communicate and process their experience accurately and truthfully. During the process, they prepare the minors to testify in child or court custody disputes. Public service personnel and forensic psychology usually apply research in various forms since it is an important component. Public service and forensic psychologists usually determine the similar trait in among criminals through criminal behavior study. The professionals also conduct the crimes scenes study to evaluate any useful evidence which helps in narrowing list of suspects and developing of criminal profile. The psychologists also explains in the courtroom the possible motives of crimes or their opinion whether or not the defendant is innocent based on knowledge of behavioral history. Their opinion can influence sentencing of a criminal.
Forensic psychologist uses Specific treatment for treatment for specific forensic groups such as sex defendants, substance abusers; defendants found innocent or incompetent for standing trials for insanity reasons. The forensic psychologists also provide both group and individual therapy for mentally ill inmates in prisons and jails. The effectiveness of the intervention has various considerable controversies. The 1970s conclusion states that no work is to be replaced and that at least one form of treatment can be effective especially those that involve cognitive behavior approach. The current focus that is promising involves early intervention and prevention especially on individuals at the adolescent stage. The approach is thought to have potential long-term effects on criminality at adulthood since it tries to affect young peoples’ lives before the establishment of the criminal pattern through interventions with the community, the schools, families, and youths. Professional issues
Forensic psychologist is limited to practice within confines of incarceration and courtrooms as well as other legal settings. Forensic psychologists may sometimes testify for prosecution the same way as defense attorney. Forensic psychologist do not take side like other psychologists. The forensic psychologists’ ethical standards is somehow different from those of the clinical psychologists since they are not the client’s advocate and they do not maintain confidentiality of what the client says. Therefore, it is difficult to evaluate the client because sometimes the client is not interested providing the information considering due to the consideration that he or she has no control over the usage of the information. Also, the interview techniques require the understanding of violent behavior, criminal and criminal mind unlike the clinical psychologist.
Forensic psychology involve the meager of psychology and the law hence adequate training on both areas is necessary. It is important to gain adequate experience during the forensic psychology training. The knowledge on research is essential for forensic psychologist. Crime a major issue in the society especially in the densely populated areas. Therefore, forensic psychologists are needed to assist in preventing crime, identifying criminals and providing correctional services. The forensic psychologists should abide by the ethics in the profession.
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