The legal and forensic psychology It is one of the most demanded specialties, of greater social utility and prestige within psychology.
In fact, work and fees are significantly higher than in other specialties of psychology. However, the great responsibility of these professionals in the face of their opinions and decisions, coupled with the harshness of some cases, makes this specialty not "suitable for everyone."
However, professionals who choose this discipline vocationally and strive to do their job well, with determination and perseverance, obtain a great source of personal and professional satisfaction. Do you want to know what you can do if you opt professionally for legal and forensic psychology?
What are the professional exits of legal and forensic psychology?
Knowing the areas of work of legal and forensic psychology can give us a good idea of what it covers. The main ones are the following:
- The psychology of testimony. The psychological processes involved in the testimony are treated (memory and perception errors)
- Research on the "lie detector"(polygraphy)
- Psychology of the judges (typology, aptitudes, psychopedagogy) and the process of preparing the sentence
- Psychological study of deviant behavior (psychopathology, criminal psychology, conflict psychology, the motives of the offender)
- Prison Psychology. Psychology applied to the treatment of criminals through the development and execution of rehabilitation programs, study of the inmate
- Psychological appraisalscivil, criminal, family law ...
- Studies on the legal norm: descriptors and reinforcers
- Psychology of legal relations in terms of conduct (psychopolitics, negotiator, family, sexual, cooperative)
- Reactions to law and justice
- Adaptation mechanisms
- Psychodynamics of the judicial process and other control instances. The jury decision making process
- Lawyer-Client Relations
- Psychosemiotic: search and interpretation of signs and signs. It also includes the psycholinguistic analysis of confessions and the drafting of legal reports.
- Advice for those responsible for the police and prisons in situations of kidnapping and serial crimes. Psychological alterations treatments can also be carried out due to the tensions associated with their functions. Finally, they can also train the police to act in front of demonstrations, fights or negotiation with kidnappers. The same in prisons instructing officials to interact with inmates
- Therapy and rehabilitation programs for crime victims, trying above all to determine if he has suffered psychological alterations and their scope (for example, people who have suffered kidnapping or torture).
- Forensic hypnosis, cognitive interview…
- Psychological autopsy
The main areas of intervention of Legal and Forensic Psychology: What path to choose?
Legal psychology can be divided into twelve large areas of intervention: criminal, civil, judicial, prison, juvenile, police, military, crime, victimization, mediation, practice of law and legal norms.
Forensic psychology in the criminal area
Of all the most developed is the criminal. It contains the best known intervention fields, especially the psychological expertise of the mental state of the accused, forensic psychopathology, etc.
Forensic Psychology in Civil
The psychology of the civil field, along with the criminal one, is usually also referred to as forensic psychology. It implies the psychologist's performance in the forum or courtroom. In the civil courtrooms, his actions focus on separation and divorce processes, child custody and custody, preparation of adoption reports, etc.
Judicial psychology includes theoretical studies or simulations on the decision making of judges, courts and jurors, the main mechanisms of influence and the processes of formation and selection.
Its applications, among other fields, are the classification of inmates, grade progression and regression, the granting of prison permits, the social climate, treatments individual and collective, etc.
Legal Psychology of the minor
The legal and forensic psychologist develops actions related to the child protection. For example, it includes the preparation of reports on juvenile offenders, as well as advice to prosecutors regarding the most appropriate measures, appropriate interventions, social reintegration of the child, improvement in the climate of juvenile institutions, etc.
Regarding the guardianship of minors, one works with abused minors or victims of sexual abuse, with those whose guardianship has been withdrawn from their parents, etc.
It is an area of great growth within legal psychology. The role of the psychologist is to help the police organization through police selection and training, the analysis of the organization itself.
However, its action also has repercussions on society, such as intervention in suicide situations and hostage-taking, the analysis of criminal behavior, the criminal profile design, the improvement of relations with the community, etc.
Military psychology has very specific characteristics, because although the psychologist can be called to military halls to testify as an expert, your contribution is usually required for processes of selection and adaptation of military personnel, studies on the organization itself, etc.
Psychology of crime
The psychology of crime is one of the oldest areas and includes the studies on the personality of the offender, the collaboration in the adoption of preventive measures, the design of community crime prevention plans, studies on victimization, etc.
The psychology of victimization is currently the area of greatest boom and includes attention to the victim, community support programs, reinforcement of victim associations, evaluation of criminal victimization processes, neuropsychological expertise, treatment of the victim of crimes, etc.
Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
The alternative resolution of social conflicts can be considered as a cross-sectional area to all the previous ones, since it can be done in any of them. Special mention should be made of the supervision of alternative measures to prison, mediation in community, criminal, civil, matrimonial conflicts, etc.
Legal trainer and legal norms advisor
We can also mention the psychology applied to the practice of law, whether judges, prosecutors or lawyers. Among them, the training of these professionals, the advice of the parties on jury issues, serious criminal trials, etc.
Finally, the psychology of the legal norm referred to the advice and participation of psychologists in the development of new legal norms or the reworking of existing ones.
- Bustamante, M. C. A. (2019). 40 years of the Faculty of Psychology and 15 years of the magazine Diversitas Perspectivas en Psicología: Trained, investigating and communicating with quality for Colombia and Latin America.Diverse, 15(1), 7-10.
- Cifuentes, A. T. (2018). Juridic psychology. A monographic necessary.Iberoamerican Journal of Psychology, 11(1).
- González-Sala, F., Osca-Lluch, J., Tortosa-Gil, F., & Peñaranda-Ortega, M. (2018). Legal and forensic psychology in Spain: a study from official master's degrees and own degrees attached to Spanish universities.Yearbook of Legal Psychology, 28(1), 74-80.
- Poches, D. K. P., & Meza, J. A. D. (2019). Methods, models and evaluation in psychological autopsy: A bibliographic review in Latin America.Criminality, 61(2), 145-159.
- Osuna, J. B. (2018). Juridic psychology. Advances in the discipline.Iberoamerican Journal of Psychology, 11(1).