Forensic psychology is known as a field that works with both law and psychology. In recent years, forensic psychology is said to have experienced a high growth since more students are becoming interested in this psychology branch. Sometimes, human beings get involved in criminal acts which are completely out of our own prediction. This has led to the rise of a special branch known as forensic psychology which helps the court and the world as well understand why humans behave the way he does at times and what triggers such kind of a behavior. In this paper we intend to look at this special psychological branch and get to understand its uses in our environment.
The paper intends to look at the various types of forensic psychology, mostly in terms of different careers that forensic psychologists can do. The major area that this psychology branch deals with is the criminal investigation area, and we are therefore intending to learn more about the criminal investigation psychology as a type of Forensic psychology and find out how its used in investigating crime. We intend to describe in detail how forensic psychology goes on to prove the connection between psychological strain, emotional distress and violence.
Types of Forensic Psychology
In forensic psychology the first area of courses that are learnt are based on psychology. These courses include:
- Developmental psychology
- Abnormal behavior
- Social Psychology
Victomology is described as the study and evaluation of victim’s behaviors and characteristics. In the above mentioned courses, human personality and sexuality is studied in most of them. Other courses generally offered include use of drugs and treatment, techniques of therapy and counseling. The second courses offered in forensic psychology in criminal justice include crime scene investigation, techniques of law enforcement and law. At this stage, courses in juvenile delinquency are given in almost all the programs. Here the psychology students learn about the process of the judicial, parole and other involved subjects providing a legal groundwork for their work in the field of criminal justice. Others courses include ethics, cultural studies and psychology in general. Other sociology courses also include drugs and society and also courses on statistics and research methods .
Interaction of law and psychology is known as Forensic psychology. Those psychologists who are interested in this branch have a variety of job careers to choose from and these are what we define as types of forensic psychology. Forensic psychology can help an individual acquire jobs from certain areas such as the clinics, prisons, police departments, jails, schools, law firms, private practice and government agencies. These individuals practicing the forensic psychology work directly with victims, pupils, attorneys, families and offenders. Below are the types of forensic psychology that cater for the above mentioned careers:
Clinical Forensic Psychology
One major specialization of forensic psychology is provision of treatment and counseling to the criminals and the affected victims. Most psychologists who work in these areas and provide services are required to have knowledge in forensic psychology. This type of forensic psychology is used to provide counseling to mental health centers and psychiatric hospitals. The procedure is used to get a clear understanding of the people including whether an adult, a child or family through carrying out psychological assessment. Clinical forensic psychology is also used to advise the staff in the department and also consult them regarding the psychological aspects of relevant issues regarding case conferences. It also provides the input on psychology which is used to work on various programmes and projects. The Clinical forensic psychology is also used in maintaining case records, psychological equipment and statistics.
Criminal Investigative Psychology
Forensic psychology is in most cases applicable in a law enforcement setting. Criminal Investigative psychology can lead an individual to work in a federal law enforcement agency or police department. At this psychology level, forensic psychology principles are applicable to various specific cases with an aim of developing a psychological criminal profile. This profile aims to help enforcement of the law in detaining the suspect. Criminal Investigative psychology is used to uncover the reasons behind the criminals’ behavior. Therefore, at this point the forensic psychology tries to peace down together the major reasons why an individual would carry out such a criminal act most especially if the criminal has not yet been remanded in custody.
Criminal Investigative psychology helps carry out this act in a number of ways including the psychologist observing the scene of crime and the way the victim was attacked. This will go ahead to explain the state of mental stability of the attacker at that moment and can thus explain if he or she was under any influence or did it out of his own free will. Forensic psychology at this level also is used to create the profile on the psychological status of the criminal. This is where the state of mind of the suspect is analyzed and a report is also given stating why he or she behaved in such a manner and what can be the necessary steps to be taken without losing another life.
A psychological autopsy is also done by the forensic psychologists who act as criminal investigative psychologists. These mostly involve investigations done when an individual commits suicide or takes his or her own life. And creating a profile which states whether the person had intentions of doing so or it was by accident. It is evident that there are certain influences which can lead a person to take their lives or causing certain crimes including influence of alcohol, financial stress, drugs, or even personal stress. Forensic psychology is used to determine whether any of such influences took place and they do this based on their best abilities. There are many available reasons why a person might go ahead and commit a violent act. Certain levels of extreme stress are said to a major reason behind people committing such criminal acts and these are some of the times when a forensic is called to intervene and give results.
Social psychology is a type of forensic psychology whereby an individual can give services to the prisons, agencies of the government and also provide help to those people who have heard a criminal background. Social psychology is used to assist those people who have been released from the prison. The psychologists who have specialized in this field help the victims to search for jobs. Social psychology is also used to prepare convicts who are leaving the prison to prepare themselves into entering the society again and help them to avoid and know how to cope with discrimination from the society. Social psychology also helps in providing counseling to various people including the youths in order to talk them into avoiding crimes.
The world that we are living in at this time is very dangerous and comes with a lot of temptations especially to the youths. Therefore, social forensic psychology has taken an opportunity in our society so as to educate the youths on the importance of avoiding crime and encouraging them to join other community activities and groups to keep them busy. A school psychologist is also a type of forensic psychology sine they psychologist works with forensic focus. This psychologist works mostly with the children who are suspected to have been victims of abuse and thus helps them prepare for a legal testimony if need be.
The school psychologists will also g ahead to testify on behalf of the child and explain to the court on the emotional findings which have been found on the victim of suspected abuse. Forensic psychology is also used in the public policy. Here, the psychologist involved normally works in politics through advising the government or politicians on matters which relate to the criminal law or the crime. The psychologist can also work for a non-profit organization where he or she can make changes in crime prevention methods and criminal law.
Cognitive psychology mostly focuses on how various persons gather, recall and process information. Cognitive psychology is highly concerned with the internal mental stresses of people’s understanding, diagnosis, problem solving and decision making. Cognitive psychology is used to examine an individual’s memory, his or her perception, brain language functions and the learning. Below are other uses of cognitive psychology:
Clear understanding of children’s memory formation
Providing teaching in colleges, schools and universities
Teaching of language skills
Solving problems for cognitive development
Working with patients who have lost their memory
Studying the criminals mental processes, those of lawyers, witnesses, jury and the judge in the legal system
At some point, cognitive psychologists work as human resource managers in organizations.
Forensic psychologists are also used in research and teaching. In most cases, teaching jobs ask for a requirement of a doctoral degree in a setting of a university despite the fact that these jobs are also found in academies of law enforcement. The positions of research are also based on the university within a non-profit organization and government agency. Forensic psychology is used to carry out research on various topics including studies which are investigating the factors of motivation in the behaviors’ of criminals or the condition of the society that is affecting the criminals. The forensic psychology researchers work in various institutions such as government agencies, colleges, universities and other research centre’s that are involved with criminology, behavior of human beings and legal systems.
Developmental psychology also requires complete knowledge in forensic psychology. Developmental psychology is described as the study of ways in which various individuals become more effective and advanced as their age increases and thus end up focusing more on becoming as contrasting to being. Developmental psychology is used to study the experiences of the past and also the past experiences with an aim of understanding the past behavior.
Developmental psychology is also used to predict the behavior of the future through current behavior. In most cases, it is said that past experiences assumes who we are currently. Development is known to start before the birth of a child. The development starts from conception and this entire time there are changes which are recognized. There are so many factors which are said to influence the development of a child prior to birth. A major recognized influence is material health.
Developmental psychology is also used in understanding how a person or individual developed and how which environment. Characteristics that humans portray speak a great deal of the environments we grew up in. These characteristics also require are the ones which trigger our behaviors and to an extent lead us to committing crimes. It is therefore significant for the forensic psychologists to understand these behaviors and characteristics so as to help the various departments understand clearly why different people behave as they do.
Forensic Psychology is recognized as the interaction between law and psychology. Due to the increased criminal activities in our society, the judges and other parties involved in peace and justice felt the urge to understand why different people behave the way they do and what caused these behaviors. Forensic psychology helps the governments to deal with the issue by analyzing and studying the criminal so as to get a clear understanding of these behaviors. The psychology helps analyze the suspect and understand if he or she was influenced by something or he carried the act on his own free will. It is clear that there are so many factors that can influence an individual decision in committing a crime including drugs, alcohol, personal or financial stress and others.
The types of forensic psychology are described depending with career an individual is planning to take in the psychology department. Therefore, there are various areas in psychology that requires effective and proper knowledge in forensic psychology. The major areas have been described as types of forensic psychology and they include the development psychology, cognitive psychology, Criminal investigative psychology, social psychology and clinical psychology.
These areas require a proper and clear understanding of forensic psychology. A psychologist who has trained in forensic psychology can specialize in any of the above mentioned field of psychology and can work in various places such as the mental clinics or hospitals, prisons, police departments and government departments. Forensic psychology is also used for teaching in schools, colleges and universities so as to give the youths a good reason of avoiding crime.
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