Psychology

Introduction to Forensic Psychology



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Have you ever wondered what happens to the high profile criminal behind all the sets of double locked doors at the State Hospital? The media cannot deliver anymore information on the human being that has everyone talking. The only cameras trained on the perpetrator belong to the state now. What happens next is an intense decision making process regarding the client's state of mind when the crime occurred.

Inside is a world few can understand fully unless they are police or medical staff. Trained staff are on the move constantly working to build a large and detailed picture of the clients they serve in an effort to protect others from the client and to protect the client from himself. The effort is tremendous on the part of the staff, as an error made in forming a picture of the client's mind in relation to a crime might help a dangerous sociopath beat the system. Likewise a mentally ill client who is not fit for a traditional prison system may fall through the cracks and land in a small cell, without appropriate treatment, and soon back on the street stressed and dangerously sick.

Forensic psychology is psychology practiced pertaining to law or the legal system. It is not limited to deciding who goes to a traditional prison and who lives under maximum security in a mental hospital. There are many applications. I found that the most interesting and delicious charts to study and add observations to were those in a state hospital forensic unit. Time seemed to slow down on those units, allowing for very important questions to be answered.

When things go well the team of forensic psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, nurses, and police make a smooth running machine and something crucial to our society is accomplished. The dirty laundry gets washed up in prison. The psychotic lives out his years without comforts of society, but with care and safety from himself.

Forensic medicine produces large charts of information on some of the most devastating mental illnesses. The content inside can help speed the process of finding ways to approach care and to understand how medicines work in a humane way. Can you imagine a world full of healthy minds, reducing or eliminating the need to introduce forensic psychology? That is quite a stretch from where we stand, but I know progress has been made and patient rights continue to improve, reducing stress and further unraveling the mysteries behind both the criminal and the psychotic mind.

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More about this author: Catherine Clements

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