Forensic Psychology



Forensicpsychology is a field in psychology that has become exceedinglycrucial and famous currently, due to its applications both in thecivil and criminal cases. Forensic psychologists have the chief taskof testifying objectively in court in the assessment of victims andcriminals (Goldstein,2006). Forensic psychology describes the interaction amid law andpsychology. An individual that has the knowledge of forensicpsychology may work in civil court, family court and criminal court.Therefore, a forensic psychologist can have the following careersworking as an expert witness, in law enforcement, jury consultant,victim advocacy, and can work with juvenile offenders. Thisassignment will discuss careers in forensic psychology and trainingin the field.

ForensicPsychology Careers

Careerin the Family Court

Aforensic psychologist can work in the family court in providingconsultancy and evaluation of family court matters, which can overlapwith matters of the criminal court. In the family court, a forensicpsychologists work in the following fields

  • Evaluation of domestic violence

  • Investigation of child abuse cases that can lead to criminal charges

  • Evaluation of juvenile waiver

  • Counseling and assessment of individuals that violate restraining orders

  • Evaluation of credibility of children witnesses

  • Evaluating juveniles that are accused of criminal conducts

  • Evaluating juvenile pre-sentencing

  • Evaluation of juvenile probations

  • Counseling of juveniles that are on probation

Careerin the Civil Court

Inthe civil courts, forensic psychologists are usually involved asexperts in assessing emotional factors associated with personalinjury lawsuits. Forensic psychologists usually assess the specificemotional elements, which may result from traumatic injuries such asdepression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety or chronic pain (Weiner &ampOtto,2013). In case a there is a head injury, a forensic psychologist caninvolve neuropsychological assessments in evaluating memorydysfunction, or other cognitive impairment that may tend to coincidewith the physical injury (Davies&amp Beech, 2012). On the other hand, forensic psychologists may beinvolved in evaluating the long run emotional effects of events likethe impact of a kid losing her/his mother, or the effect ofvictimization associated with a criminal act.

Besides,in the section of employment law, a forensic psychologist may beengaged upon the request of either the defense or the plaintiff. Inthis case, the forensic psychologist is engaged in assessing thepsychological factors associated with harassment in the workplace,psychological disability associated with employee’s compensation,and discrimination issues. in situations of acknowledged oridentified discrimination or harassment procedures, forensicpsychologists can also be engaged in remediating problems through theprovision of re-education programs for offending managers orsupervisors. On the other hand, the forensic psychologists may beinvolved in providing professional evaluation services for surrogatecourt. They can also offer counseling and evaluation servicesassociated with elder law (Weiner,2006). Forensic psychologists can be engaged in completing competencyevaluations following or before the execution of wills, indetermining guardianship for an incapacitated person, or the power ofattorney. Furthermore, forensic psychologists are engaged in thecompletion of post-mortem assessments in determining the cause ofdeath in instances, where there is an unusual death.

Careerin the Criminal Court

Inthe criminal court, forensic psychologists are usually involved inproviding professional psychological evaluations for both adults andjuveniles. Forensic psychologists also offer psychotherapy andcounseling for adults and juveniles that are accused of criminalconducts, and post-conviction counseling for persons on probation(Fulero &ampWrightsman,2009). Furthermore, forensic psychologists also offer psychotherapyand counseling for crime victims, especially vicious crimes. Injuvenile criminal proceedings, forensic psychologists are utilizedextensively in assessing alleged juvenile offenders. Forensicpsychologists are an essential part of assessing juveniles as part ofwaiver hearings since the juveniles need to be evaluated in order todetermine the presence of psychological problems associated withtheir crimes and the prediction for treatment, when eitherchallenging or requesting a waiver motion. Besides, within thejuvenile system, forensic psychologists are involved in theassessment of juvenile offender because it is critical when imposinga sentence on a juvenile. In most cases, juveniles engage in criminalconducts due to having psychological problems. Therefore, as part ofprobation, forensic psychologists are usually involved inpsychologically treating juvenile offenders (Towl &ampCrighton,2010).

Onthe other hand, in the case of adult criminal court, differentsituations emerge, when the services of a forensic psychologist arerequired in a criminal court. In cases concerning child abuse, aforensic psychologist is involved in the psychological assessment ofthe defendant. In case a young kid is primarily the witness in acertain criminal case, forensic psychologists are involved intestifying on the reliability of the kid as witness. In addition, theforensic psychologists are usually engaged in determining the mentalcapacity of an individual at the time of committing a crime.

ForensicPsychology Training

Aforensic psychologist can engage in the career after having asuccessful training and acquiring a bachelor’s degree. However, inorder to acquire certification, an individual must have training inpsychology and acquire a PhD or a master’s degree. Certification iscritical for all practicing forensic psychologists and an individualwilling to become a forensic psychologist must undergo a trainingthat will lead to the completion of a certification examination. Inbecoming a forensic psychologist, it is critical for an individual tohave training in law a forensic psychologist can have a minor in lawor have a doctorate in law. On the other hand, due to the highdemands of the career, forensic psychologists are highly encouragedto undergo and participate in continuous training programs in theirentire career (Zapfet al, 2013). In order to become a successful forensic psychologist,training in the following areas is required

  • Foundations in clinical psychology

  • Empirical research and scientific theory

  • Critical thinking

  • Knowledge of cultural and social issues

  • Excellent writing skills and strong presentation skills

  • Legal knowledge


Forensicpsychologists are exceedingly critical in the legal system as theyaid in the determination of whether an individual is in a capacity ofstanding a trial. They also help a judge in deciding the parent thata child will go to in case there is a custody dispute (Mart,2006). Therefore, the forensic psychology can be associated withdifferent careers. These careers fall in three broad fields, whichinclude family courts, criminal courts and civil courts. In thefamily courts, forensic psychologists are usually involved inproviding consultancy and evaluation of family court matters, whichcan overlap with matters of the criminal court. In the criminalcourts, forensic psychologists are engaged in determining thecapacity of an individual in facing a trial. Besides, they may workin assessing juvenile offenders. In the civil courts, forensicpsychologists are usually involved as experts in assessing emotionalfactors associated with personal injury lawsuits. Training inpsychology is essential for a forensic psychologist.


Davies,G., &amp Beech, A. R. (2012).&nbspForensicpsychology.Chichester: Wiley.

Fulero,S. M., &amp Wrightsman, L. S. (2009).&nbspForensicpsychology.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Goldstein,A. M. (2006).&nbspForensicPsychology: Emerging Topics and Expanding Roles.Hoboken: John Wiley &amp Sons.

Mart,E. G. (2006).&nbspGettingStarted in Practice: How to Create a ForensicSpecialty in Your Mental Health Practice.Hoboken: John Wiley &amp Sons.

Towl,G. J., &amp Crighton, D. A. (2010).&nbspForensicpsychology.Chichester, West Sussex: BPS Blackwell.

Weiner,I. B. (2006).&nbspTheHandbook of .Hoboken: John Wiley &amp Sons.

Weiner,I. B., &amp Otto, R. K. (2013).&nbspHandbookof psychology, forensic psychology.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Zapf,P. A., Hart, S. D., &amp Roesch, R. (2013).&nbspForensicpsychology and law.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.