Forensic psychology refers to the focus of psychology associated with criminal investigation and the law. Forensic psychologists are the people who are the practicing professionals of this field, and service can be used in different settings. For one, their services are often acquired in custody dispute, insurance claims and lawsuits. There are also some who work solely in family courts, and provides services like psychotherapy, child custody evaluations, as well as investigate for child abuse and conduct risk assessments. As for those who work with the civil courts, they can be asked for second opinions towards certain psychological issues, or even conduct evaluations of competency or provide psychotherapy for victims. Some also work with criminal courts, where they would be responsible to evaluate mental competency, evaluate offenders of different ages, and work with child witnesses.
In order to become a forensic psychologist, you would need to obtain a doctorate degree in psychology. There are also universities that offer degrees specifically for that subject, which courses would include both psychology and law subjects. The degree takes about 5 to 7 years to complete the course. One can even seek to take PhD programs; however, they can be extremely competitive to get. If a forensic psychologist acquires enough experience apart from the education and training, they can apply for board certification as a Diplomat of Forensic Psychology.
While Forensic Psychology is an interesting one, there are certain factors that would contribute to being a successful psychologist in that field. For one, you will need to enjoy working with other people as much of it requires you interacting with people, such as with a team of professionals to overcome certain issues or cases. You will also need to be able to enjoy taking challenges as a lot of the issues are not very straightforward and need much analysis to come up with a solution. With that said, you will also need to be extremely patient and committed to the work you deal with. Creativity is also important as you will have to think from different point of views to come up with solutions. Interest in both psychology and law is also crucial as that is what makes up the field altogether.
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