Application of Psychological knowledge in the legal area and on people who come in contact with law. Broadly speaking, Applying the researches and experimentations of Psychology to the legal area is termed as Forensic Psychology.
The best example of the same is Narco tests done during investigations to know whether or not a person is giving truth statements or not.
When talking of psychological assessments one such amazing assessment is in the USA where when assessed if a person is psychologically found guilty when he/she committed a crime he/she is liable to punishment.
It means a psychologist needs to find out whether the criminal was in a sane state when he commited a crime or not in order to decide the severity of his punishment.
History of Forensic Psychology
It is a widely growing field within psychology which has gained a hike in the last few years. Though years back in the United States this method was used as a support in various cases. It was given recognition in the year 2001 by the American Association.
Forensic Psychology has started appealing more to people in recent times due to its popularity in various T.V. shows and we series.
Even though what lures the eye in the various Shows and Series is not accurate but just a portrayal of what Forensic Psychology is, it has grabbed eyeballs to itself. Having said that, Psychologists do play a vital role in providing justice to people and have proved to be an essential asset in today’s legal system.
Also read about Child Psychology: Child Psychology | Understanding and Helping Them
What is the Role of Forensic Psychologists?
Defined as applied psychology in the field of law, the role of psychologists is to understand the behavior of the human mind.
How people react to certain situations, what are their trigger words, why they react in the manner they do is what all Forensic Psychologists deal with.
People might confuse this particular field with other fields of psychology such as clinical psychology but one needs to know that both the fields are vastly different.
Role of a forensic psychologist is limited in the legal framework. They need to identify whether a charged person is stable enough to face charges pressed against him or not.
Job Roles of Forensic Psychologists
Interviewing and observing
Major role of these people is to observe behavior (emotional and mental) of the person charged with a crime and interview them. They need to know and understand whether the person is sane enough to take the punishment he is entitled for.
Many psychologists write professional articles if they discover something new that is unknown in their field.
They also write reports about the criminals they have interviewed describing in detail their behavioral patterns and their mental health.
Also Read about Mental Health Tips for Remote Work: Mental Health In Remote Work | 7 Ways To Stay Cool In WFH
These psychologists are the most important witness when a criminal is to be presented in court. Their statements about a person’s health can alter a punishment entitled for that individual. Their expert knowledge lets the court know whether there is a need for treatment or what are the chances of the criminal behaviour to continue.
They train interns under them to give the newcomers an exposure to the practical industry and provide them credentials to certify that a person is trained under them.
Forensic psychologists counsel the criminals. They design therapies to cure the criminals and treat them so they do not develop the criminal tendencies again.
Read about Color Therapy as Depression therapy: Color Therapy as Depression Therapy in Working Individuals | 4 Benefits
When talking of the criminal world, forensic psychologists help cut down names from the suspect list to reach the criminal faster. But you need to know what is required to become a forensic psychologist. Here is the skill set one needs to have to have a successful career in forensic psychology.
Critical thinking and listening skills
You need to possess a sharp mind to think from all the aspects when a crime situation is put before you. Reading between the lines and studying the body language of criminals is a skill you should possess. You should be an active listener to know what you are being told and most importantly what you are not told.
Data analysis is another key skill you need to possess. Data analysis helps you to identify a crime scene to notice and understand in what state of mind a crime is probably done. It also helps to understand human behavior and cut down the suspect list to reach the criminal faster.
As in any other field in forensic psychology communication is the key. A forensic psychologist can alter the sentence given to a criminal. So it is very necessary to have a clear and strong communication to make the other person understand what you have analysed and in what state a crime has occured.
Empathy is another key skill set that one needs to have to be a forensic psychologist. You need to make another person believe that you can completely relate to him and his situation and understand why he did what he did. It is very necessary for the person you are investigating to trust you so that he comes out clean with all his secrets.
Once you have a degree in hand you have various job roles you can apply for. Some of these roles are:
You can be a consultant for various organisations and design a curriculum for various agencies of law.
You can work with police and help them investigate a case.
You can provide treatment to criminals at police stations or crime hospitals.
You can research on behavioural patterns of people and publish research papers telling what’s new in your field.
You can mentor interns under you to teach them and give them an exposure to practical industry and how things work in actual.
Qualities for Forensic psychologists
- You should have good communication skill
- Conduct yourself in poised manner
- You should know to read people’s gestures
- You should possess a learning attitude.
- You should possess written skills
- You should be strong minded individual
Forensic psychologists earn a handsome salary. Their average salary is about $115,360 who work with companies as consultants or work in management fields.
Whereas those working in the government sector have an average salary of $104,280.
As the field of forensic psychology is growing widely so are the career options and pay scale. All one needs to do is decide whether he possesses the required skill set and is willing to do a job in this field. If yes, one needs to go for a degree and start pursuing a career in the field.
Data Science is the most demanding job, Read this to know how to be Data Scientist: How To Become A Data Scientist In 2022: A Complete Guide To Data Science
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What degree should you have to pursue this career?
You can have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, general psychology or psychology integrated with law. You can also go for a Masters degree and Phd if you please.
- What internships or experience should I have before a job?
You can do an internship under another psychologist who is good at his work. You can work with various NGOs which give you an experience. You can also work at child care centres where you can understand child psychology and develop a feeling of empathy.
- After I graduate, what job do I search for?
Everyone begins from somewhere. You can search for various jobs. You can go for an assistant job under an experienced psychologist. You can start training or become a teacher at any school. You can attend various seminars and get to know more about your field.
- What is the aspect that attracts you towards this career?
Your critical understanding of complex human behaviour and deriving accurate judgements of human actions is a skill set that attracts you the most towards this career. Apart from this your communication skills and reasoning skills might also attract you towards this career to make money.
- What challenges can one face in this field?
On the educational front you might face challenges for the course can get tiresome and requires hours and hours of education and experience.
On the job front it might get challenging when you are requested to submit your documents for you need to submit your complete background check. Apart from that you need to submit your work samples and you can be orally examined on what you have submitted.
- What all roles can I apply for with this degree? You can work as an assistant, a teacher, a mentor. Apart from these you can also work in forensic labs, at child care centres. You can work in courtrooms, as neuropsychologists. You can also independently work as a counsellor or consultant.