Forensic psychologists engage in a wide variety of activities and take on a number of different roles and responsibilities. They work in either or both sides of the justice system (criminal and civil) as well as in one of two broad areas of psychology (clinical or experimental). Forensic psychologists may be trained as either clinical psychologists or experimental psychologists (defined broadly to encompass all non-clinical areas of psychology) and engage in a variety of activities within each of these two broad areas. This article provides information regarding the types of activities in which forensic psychologists engage.

Activities of Forensic Psychologists

The American Board of Forensic Psychology provides the following list of activities for psychologists engaged in the practice of forensic psychology:

  • Psychological evaluation and expert testimony regarding criminal forensic issues such as trial competency, waiver of Miranda rights, criminal responsibility, death penalty mitigation, battered woman syndrome, domestic violence, drug dependence, and sexual disorders
  • Testimony and evaluation regarding civil issues such as personal injury, child custody, employment discrimination, mental disability, product li

    ability, professional malpractice, civil commitment and guardianship

  • Assessment, treatment and consultation regarding individuals with a high risk for aggressive behavior in the community, in the workplace, in treatment settings and in correctional facilities
  • Research, testimony and consultation on psychological issues impacting on the legal process, such as eyewitness testimony, jury selection, children’s testimony, repressed memories and pretrial publicity
  • Specialized treatment service to individuals involved with the legal system
  • Consultation to lawmakers about public policy issues with psychological implications
  • Consultation and training to law enforcement, criminal justice and correctional systems
  • Consultation and training to mental health systems and practitioners on forensic issues
  • Analysis of issues related to human performance, product liability and safety
  • Court-appointed monitoring of compliance with settlements in class-action suits affecting mental health or criminal justice settings
  • Mediation and conflict resolution
  • Policy and program development in the psychology-law arena
  • Teaching, training and supervision of graduate students, psychology, and psychiatry interns/ residents, and law students

To learn more about the various roles and responsibilities of forensic psychologists, click here.

Photo courtesy of marymount.edu

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