Forensic Psychologist

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Forensic Psychology on Psychology Journal

A forensic psychologist is any psychologist who offers an expert psychological opinion in a way that it impacts one of the adversarial arenas, typically the courts. Many people think of forensic psychologists as focussing on criminal matters. This is certainly not always the case.

A forensic psychologist is any psychologist who by virtue of training or experience may assist a court or other fact finder in arriving at a just or correct decision. For example a forensic psychologist may assist in a wide variety of civil matters. Civil matters include but are not limited to lawsuits or insurance claims where emotional suffering is a part of the claim, determination of competency of an aged or ill person to make decisions, whether a death was an accident or a "disguised suicide" in an insurance claim case, or in a wide variety of other areas.

Becoming a forensic psychologist will first require you to get a doctorate in psychology, often (but not necessarily) in clinical or counseling psychology. It will probably take you about seven years after the undergraduate degree to get this doctorate, though some people may take a little less time. Competition is stiff to enter these doctoral programs, so study hard!

One way the person who is already a psychologist becomes a forensic psychologist is by doing additional informal study after receiving the doctoral degree. She or he does this by attending seminars, consulting with senior colleagues, or returning to the university to take additional course work.

Simultaneously, psychologists often undertake their first cases in the forensic area. When done well the ethical psychologist takes care to consult closely with colleagues in the early years.

After getting considerable experience and continuing education, some forensic psychologists will go on to become 'Board Certified' in the forensic psychology specialty. But not all forensic psychologists do become board certified.

Forensic Psychology on Psychology Journal

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