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Good Article Summarizing the Specialization of Forensic Psychology

Posted Aug 30 2010 12:00am

While in the process of conducting a literature search for a possible area of research interest (yes, I am actually doing, and not just thinking about doing, research-related tasks!), I came across an article published in Volume 39 (2008) of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (the link provides access to the abstract only).  The article is entitled, "Specialized Practice in Forensic Psychology: Opportunities and Obstacles," and was authored by Ira K. Packer, Ph.D .  I like the article very much as a basic descriptor of what forensic psychology is.

More specifically, the article simultaneously notes that there continues to be a wealth of opportunity for psychologists in the various sub-specialities of forensic psychology, due to a significant need for quality work in the area.  Packer cites various statistics about the numbers of requests for various types of psycho-legal evaluations, and he also provides definitions for terms associated with forensic work. 

In addition, the author provides brief summaries of the most important areas that a clinical psychologist must address if he or she is to engage in forensic-related work.  The article reviews various areas of specialized knowledge, such as developing a conceptualized understanding of the areas related to competency to stand trial, as well as the various measures that have been developed to assit in this type of assessment.  The differences in professional roles between the clinician and evaluator are discussed, as well as the particular issues associated with providing expert testimony.  The importance of developing knowledge of the dinstinctive research associated primarily with forensic work is also reviewed. 

The limited amount of available pre-doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral training in forensic psychology is addressed, and recommendations for supervision in forensic work are offered.  The article, by itself, does not provide in depth detail with respect to a number of these issues; however, it does provide a nice outline for those seeking a basic primer regarding the field of forensic psychology, and what is involved in developing an expertise within this specialization.  I'd recommend it to anyone who who like a summary of the field, as well as some citations related to the topics, to provide for further inquiry, if desired. 

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