About the ads

  1. Free Financial Webinar with White Coat Investor! Monday evening at 7:00 PM EDT, hear about the Top 5 Financial Considerations for Starting Residents from White Coat Investor's Dr. James Dahle. Register here. Hope to see you there!

Those involved in any form of forensic Psychology

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Dirkwww, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. Dirkwww

    Dirkwww Undergrad

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Is anyone involved in any aspects of forensic psychology here? I have a few questions. Is it a full time committed job or something done on the side of clinical work? is it hard to get work and get involved in? Anyone involved have any general comments?

    I recently learned about the idea and some of the tasks involved with forensic psychpology from a grad student in my lab. I tried to contact 3 or 4 people listed online as being involved with forensic psycology in my area, but none have answered, and after 3 weeks, i dont believe they will get back with me.
  2. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    5,328
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Psychologist SDN 2+ Year Member
    There's actually a huge variety of psych work that can be described as "forensic," and it can vary from very part-time to full-time. I'm no expert, but off the top of my head, here's what comes to mind:

    Assessment-wise, There are civil evaluations (e.g., cognitive assessment for events such as slips/falls, chemical exposures, car accidents; emotional trauma secondary to catastrophic events; custody evaluations; etc.) and criminal evaluations (e.g, competency to stand trial and return to competency evals, risk assessments, not guilty by reason of insanity evals). The latter can be conducted either by individuals employed full-time by the state in a forensic facility, or by individuals registered with the court as providers.

    Then there are the Board of Prisons positions, which others here can probably provide more info on than me. I worked in a forensic facility with a full-time psychologist, and can speak to what he did--in addition to the above criminal-related assessments, he wrote behavior plans and participated in a variety of meetings and planning committees. BOP employees also conduct psychotherapy to varying degrees, I believe.

    This is likely a woefully inadequate and incomplete list, but again, it's just what sprang to mind based on my own (limited) experiences.
  3. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    6,503
    Status:
    Psychologist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Yes, many psychologists do work that at some point will intersect with the legal system, if that's what you're are trying to get at with your question?


    Anybody who does social security disability evals, compensation & pension evals with the VA, or capacity for medical decision making is doing "forensic clinical psychology." Its only a handful of people that are evaluating capital murders and Jerry Sandusky. Even staff psychologists who work at most state hospitals are doing some forensic stuff, since alot of people there are violent and have pending legal charges and/or have questions about future recidivism/.violence. But, I doubt many of these people describe themselves as "forensic psychologists"
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  4. Dirkwww

    Dirkwww Undergrad

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    hmm, well i guess my next question is if i am interested, should i get a minor in criminal justice? Should i take some classes in undergrad? should i volunteer somewhere related? or is that something to focus on after Gradschool. Is there a lot of money involved from peoples experiences
  5. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    5,328
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Psychologist SDN 2+ Year Member
    I can't speak from personal experience, as I didn't take any criminal justice classes in undergrad, but I'd say your time would be better spent making yourself a competitive applicant for clinical psych programs overall (e.g., additional research experience, more research- and stats-based classes). Volunteering couldn't hurt, and could provide you more information to narrow your interests; but again, only if your other ducks are in a row, so to speak.

    As for money, if you're a consultant handling high-dollar civil (and possibly criminal) cases, then yes, it pays well. But it's also very high-stress, high-demand, and takes place in a highly adversarial system. Additionally, you likely aren't going to get those sorts of cases until you've established yourself via some means, which at this point would probably include completing specialized post-doc training and boarding at the very least.
  6. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    6,503
    Status:
    Psychologist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Be a good psychologist first. Plus, I see no benefit to learning about hot spot policing techniques and Miranda warnings if you are doing (or have an interest in) workers compensation evals...

    The money issue is a cost-benefit analysis..as is everything in life. Yes, you can make alot of money if you do forensic work. But, you also sacrifice alot in terms of time, hours worked, travel, stress, harassment and general unpleasant interactions both inside and outside the courtroom, and from what I would suspect (based on my interactions), a tendency to get jaded and cynical. None of these are things I strive to do, or to become. My wife is all the happier for it as well..
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  7. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    5,328
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Psychologist SDN 2+ Year Member
    :thumbup:

    And this is exactly what I meant by, "until you've established yourself via some means." Just about every well-entrenched neuropsychologist I know who handles a hefty load of high-brow forensic cases did, and says to do, the same. This of course is partially a factor of 1) neuropsych being a relatively young specialty, with many of these practitioners having been amongst the first or second true generation of neuropsychologists, and 2) the only-recently increased focus on neuropsych in the forensic arena. But at the same time, as with any specialty, as erg mentions, you want to be a good clinical psychologist first; worry about niches once that's taken care of.
  8. paramour

    paramour

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,979
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    ^^ What these guys have said.

    I minored in criminal justice during undergrad and technically had enough to receive a double BA if I had taken one/two more classes but they basically overlapped with my psych courses. I refused to take them again. I also took a few select criminal justice classes during my master's program (e.g., psychology and the legal system). One of my LORs even came from the CRJU program--she happened to be a nationally renowned forensic psychologist, however, and she spoke to my ability to integrate material across the two disciplines. I enjoyed most/all of my coursework, and there's some stuff from time to time that I've been able to carry over (e.g., race/ethnicity issues), but, in the grand scheme of things, most criminal justice courses/programs are not going to help you much in psych. Now, if you are potentially interested in administrative/policy issues within the crim justice system, then you could certainly pursue them--but criminal justice is not criminology. Although you may be fortunate enough to take some interesting coursework that appears to be "forensically" related to psych within a CRJU dept, the degree is not about psych, profiling, etc. Be aware of this difference if you are going to pursue these courses or you are going to be sorely disappointed.

    Focus on what you need to be considered competitive within the psych realm if this is your end goal.
  9. CriminalPsych

    CriminalPsych

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I came across this page some time ago...it may help to give you an idea.

    http://www.clinicalforensicpsychology.org/what-is-a-typical-forensic-psychology-salary/
  10. RGirl

    RGirl

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    98
    Status:
    MD/PhD Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I'm Canadian, so I can't necessarily speak to the generalizability of my experiences in a US context. However, I did a couple years of work in a forensic psychiatry clinic that was government-run. In that particular setting, psychologists were primarily involved in assessments, mostly court ordered pre-sentencing reports. Though the clinic did also provide some of the treatment that was mandatory as a part of individual's probation conditions, the honest truth was that psychologists were not involved in this. People mostly saw psychiatrists for meds, and social workers for case management-- not much actual individual treatment.

    Money wise, it was apparently pretty good (I made a heck of a lot more as a psychometrician there than I do now as an intern, at least!), and apparently the pay can be better if you do private work and have good connections. You can apparently make a lot if you are willing to travel to rural areas for assessments, in particular. However, at least in that particular area, you are really just doing assessments, and writing very long reports-- very little therapy is done, which may be a deal breaker for some.

Share This Page


About the ads