Clinical forensic psychology is a practice that incorporates clinical psychology with law and distinguishes three areas. Psychology in law is the first area of this practice, its focus is in the people in the legal system and the legal system itself. The field takes a closer look at people in the judicial system as well as the offenders, victims and even the prison staff. The second concentration of clinical forensic psychology is psychology and law, this tackles how the people involved in a case processes information. The last field, psychology of law, concentrates more on the impact of a case proceeding and the impact of the legal system on the community.
It is said that the main branch of clinical forensic psychology, forensic psychology, was first brought into the light by William Stern in around 1901. But it was not until 1961 when it was first applied to law by Lewis Terman. Since then, the field has been in demand and currently, more and more people are becoming interested in the practice.
What You Need to Know Before Getting in the Field
It is very important to know what a clinical forensic psychologist do before jumping into the bandwagon as it demands more than what you normally see on TV or read in the newspapers.
A clinical forensic psychologist works hand in hand with people in the judicial and legal system. Some lawyers consult with someone experienced in the field to gain insights on psychological aspect of a case while some are involved in the therapy of sex offenders, serial crime doers and juveniles in a correctional setting.
Being a practitioner in the field requires more than skills, it entails dedication as it takes more time to get knowledge in both the legal and scientific aspects of a case. The ability to engage well with people is also of paramount importance as it is mandatory to interact with people. They must also enjoy the job of solving problems and formulating protocols.
Forensic psychologists are usually asked by courts to take a stand or to assess a person’s capability to stand trial. They not only provide therapy recommendations they also give information such as witness credibility evaluation and mitigating factors upon judges’ request.
Practitioners are also called to evaluate the defendant’s insanity at the time of the crime. In these situations, they are being asked of legal questions, not clinical ones, so it is required that the psychologist know how to translate clinical information into a legal framework. A deep knowledge of legal terms and processes is needed in the profession.
The importance of the profession in the legal and judiciary system is unquestionable. It is therefore a need to be well-equipped and patient when you want to be in this field. The practice is a vocation more than a career.
A career in clinical forensic psychology is not a walk in the park but it is definitely rewarding most especially for people who have the desire and interest to help people and the state.