There are many careers in the field of
psychology including therapists, consolers, clinic professionals, professors or
educators, but the one I choose to research is forensic psychologists.
Forensic psychology is the field of
psychology that deals with the in depth research application in the legal
spectrum. (Ward 2013)
Forensic psychologists’ role is to apply
their own research/evidence and previously done research to individuals that
have business with the legal system usually criminal cases.
This field is extremely different than
any other field of psychology because in order to become one you have to study
both psychology and law and how they impact each other.
Students studying to become a forensic
psychologist have to take courses in all areas of psychology in order to apply
them to the legal setting.
On top of having to be extremely well
rounded in all psychology fields, they also have to take courses in criminal justice
Students will have to research the psychological
and law aspects of many different topics.
After researching the aspects of both psychology
and law they will have to interpret the causes of the crime using their expert background
Forensic psychologists need many more
skills than just a great understanding of all psychology fields and the legal
For example they need skills such as; “clinical
assessment, interviewing, report writing, strong verbal communication skills” (Ward
On top of those skills forensic
psychologists need to be able to public speak and present evidence or research
as a witness in a court case.
Development psychology can definitely assist
people deciding to become a forensic psychologist.
Development psychology shows us how people
change throughout the course of their life, from birth until they die.
This would be one of the top fields for forensic
psychologist to use to support their research and findings.
Why, because changes in people life
especially early in life greatly effect peoples decision making later in life.
For example children that saw or were
involved in a crime could be permanently affected by those events for the rest
of their lives.
The psychologist’s job would be to find
the reasoning behind a person’s actions and they could use the development
psychology field to back up their research and findings.
Forensic psychologists are a major part
of the legal system today because of the influence they can have on a case because
of their expertise on mental states and people reasoning and motives for doing what
Abraham Fenster, Thomas r. Litwack, and Martin
Symonds wrote an article in 1975 called The
Making of a Forensic Psychologist: Needs and Goals for Doctoral Training,
this article delves into the topic of Forensic psychology and what a person
needs to do to become one.
The authors also provide details of how forensic
psychologists are involved in the justice system.
Forensic psychologists are depended to accurately
identify mental disorders when they appear in the legal system.(Fenster, Litwack,
In the current justice system defendants
use the insanity plea to say they were not mentally stable while committing the
crime.(Fenster et al., 1975)
The forensic psychologist has to find
out if the defendant is telling the truth or not, the authors give the steps in
which they operate during an insanity plea case. (Fenster et al., 1975)
The first way forensic psychologists are
involved in the justice system is before the trial or pretrial phase. Their
role consists of them making sure the person standing trial is in good enough
mental health or suitable to stand trial. (Fenster et al., 1975)
The second phase is the actual trail is
which the defendant claims they were insane or are currently insane. (Fenster
et al., 1975)
The last and most important part for the
psychologist is the sentencing. They have to present their findings to the
court and either support the claim they were insane or say they were competent at
the time of the crime. (Fenster et al., 1975)
The authors present this great example
of how a modern forensic psychologist impacts the judicial system.
Forensic psychology is a field that is
on the rise and is greatly impacting not just the legal system but the whole
community of psychology.