What is Forensic Psychology?

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What is Forensic Psychology

Does forensic psychology exist? Yes. Its origins have been linking to the founding of the first psychology lab of Wilhelm Wundt in Germany. Then, James McKeen Cattell, more known in his “trait theory”, studied the psychology of testimony, then William Stern explored the accuracy of expert testimony, then Alfred Binet’s work in psychological testing served as a basis for many modern assessments. We can conclude that forensic psychology had been there during the early foundation of psychology, but it had been emerging during the recent years. Especially, as it had been popularized with the television series.

Furthermore, as defined by Christopher Cronin, an author who has wrote, what is Forensic Psychology, “the application of clinical specialties to legal institutions and people who come into contact with the law”, while the American Psychology Association defines it as “the application of clinical psychology to the legal arena”.

Are the psychologists who work on forensic psychology should be “forensic psychologists? No. They could be guidance counselors, clinical psychologists, school psychologists who work on cases, to determine whether the offender is really capable of doing the offense. Also, to present assessment if the person is in the healthy emotional state the moment he does the offense or if he is aware of what he was doing, also the scope and consequence of his acts. However, the degree taken by the forensic psychologists have given them specific training and knowledge that gives them capability and competence to perform the specific tasks required in the field. Technically, the investigation, evaluations, consultation, and researchers are also part of their role. In line with this, persons involved in a case is also to be assessed by forensic psychologists, included to these are the possible witnesses. To be determined whether they are capable of giving accurate testimonies and how trusted are their testimonies.

Moreover, they also are entitled to provide counseling services to the victims of the offenders. Thus, the groundwork of the counseling program is also in the hands of the forensic psychologist. The intervention should be designed to help the victims in whatever trauma or experience he acquired. Not just the victim should be intervened; the forensic psychologist is also tasked as to give intervention and the right and just counseling or treatment.

However, some intervention and treatment with these cases can be more challenging with forensic psychologist than with cases handled with clinical psychologists because people who sought professional mental help initiates going to psychologists to receive proper medication if needed or treatment. While in cases of forensic psychologists, offenders who are diagnosed who needed professional help may refuse to receive them, declining that they need it.

Also, forensic psychologists should be keen with his/her investigation, for some of the offenders may use psychological incapability as an excuse to delay the justice.

Series of studies, various researches, sequence of experiments are still needed to progress the forensic psychology.