Forensic Psychology is a professional career that is a specialty focus of the broader Psychology field. Forensic Psychologists are responsible for the evaluation and assessment of adults and children involved in legal cases, including mental health testing, chemical dependency evaluations, collateral contact interviews, and the administration and interpretation of personality tests. This may include determinations of psychological stability and/or diagnosis of mental illness as it relates to court proceedings, including the determination of an individual's ability to stand trial. A Forensic Psychologist may also be involved in assisting with jury selection and may assist with court case strategy. They also provide expert opinions, testimony, and briefs regarding the psychology of defendants. Forensic Psychologists provide services that are both clinical and forensic-related, and may provide treatment recommendations for those undergoing evaluation. Some Forensic Psychologists work with police or sheriffs' departments, providing mental health evaluations or advocacy in the field as needed. Others work primarily in the courthouse, providing professional, expert testimony to relevant court cases. Other responsibilities may include interviewing individuals related to court cases, gathering information about the mental health or psychological history of individuals, special projects or assignments such as department committees, legal consultations, community outreach, professional education, special research projects, and oversight and training of graduate students or interns. Forensic Psychologists work primarily independently or with the oversight of a superior Forensic Psychologist. A Forensic Psychologist usually has an advanced degree in psychology, either at a Master or Doctorate level. Specialized education is also required, frequently in the Criminal Justice field.
Forensic Psychologist Tasks
- Provide services that are both clinical and forensic related.
- Provide expert opinion, testimony and briefs on the psychology of defendants.
- Assist in jury selection and case strategy.
- Provide treatment recommendations.