When asked, “What is forensic psychology?” they generally think of the criminal profilers shown in movies and television programmes, but this is just a fraction of what occurs. Put simply, forensic psychology is the use of psychological practice inside the law and judicial system. The term “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis,” which means “of the forum” and refers to the Imperial court in ancient Rome. The American Psychological Association only officially recognised this relatively young specialist discipline of psychology in 2001.
The representation of forensic psychology in popular programmes, novels, and movies has resulted in a spike in interest in the area, particularly in recent years. However, they are exaggerated and inaccurate representations of the job. People who practise forensic psychology aren’t always referred to as “forensic psychologists.” They might also be clinical psychologists or child psychologists, but their skill or knowledge may be necessary for court matters to give an evaluation, testimony, and recommendations. Their responsibilities include establishing an individual’s ability to stand trial, assessing mental health in insanity plea cases, and doing specific forensic assessments of an individual’s personality. A clinical psychologist, for example, may be requested to analyse a suspect’s mental health, while a child psychologist may be asked to evaluate children who have been abused or to prepare them for court evidence in criminal or child custody proceedings.
Forensic psychologists work in prisons, police departments, rehabilitation institutes, law firms, or government organisations, interacting with attorneys, defendants, victims, families, or patients. Regular psychological exams, individual and group therapy sessions, anger or crisis management, and other court-ordered evaluations are part of their tasks inside correctional facilities. Working with police agencies to assess law enforcement employees and give training on criminal profiling and other pertinent courses is also part of forensic psychology’s job. Others choose intellectual activities at colleges to deepen their criminology, law, and human behaviour studies. Forensic psychology covers crime trend analysis, criminal profiling, and successful mental health therapies.
What distinguishes forensic psychology from other professions, such as clinical psychology, is that it is confined to particular obligations in each given case, such as offering advice on the suspect’s mental fitness to face charges. Learning the answers to the question “what is forensic psychology?” entails working with people being evaluated and treated against their will, as opposed to the typical therapeutic context where clients consent to seek care.
They are also summoned to deliver expert evidence, but they must be well-versed in the legal system to be considered credible witnesses in the case. Most of their work is to prepare and present their evidence and translate it into legal words, which has become increasingly difficult since attorneys know how to undercut or reject psychological assessments. There have been incidents of malingering or fabricating diseases, thus psychologists must be able to identify true symptoms as well as assess the consistency of information from various sources. Understanding the answer to the question “what is forensic psychology?” requires being able to explain or reformulate psychological words or ideas within a legal context.