What is legal psychology?

Legal psychology is the term used to describe incidents where legal issues must be considered in conjunction with psychological issues. This specific field of psychology is often referred to as forensic psychology and is commonly used in criminal investigations, particularly when a defendant's sanity is in question or when it is believed that an eyewitness to a crime may not accurately convey information to a criminal. court. Professionals trained in legal psychology are often called upon to participate in criminal investigations before a court trial begins and eventually testify in court about their findings.

Several professionals trained in legal psychology find work in prisons and mental health institutions. Some may even work in private practices while specializing in certain aspects of the field that can be useful to police investigators and judges. Persons trained in legal psychology are also frequently relied upon to counsel witnesses and victims of violent crimes during an ongoing investigation.

The duties required of a person trained in legal psychology vary quite a bit. Judges presiding over child custody hearings often require a professional trained in legal psychology and experienced in counseling youth to evaluate children in an effort to determine custody and visitation orders. Others working in this field can be trusted to provide psychological research to lawyers on how jurors can view defendants and reach verdicts.

Many of those who practice psychology as it pertains to law often have graduate legal degrees as well as degrees in psychology. As an ever-emerging field of study and a career option that is growing in popularity and demand, many universities offer postgraduate courses in investigative psychology, and some even offer more extensive programs for individuals interested in a career in legal psychology. In such programs, many can earn a law degree while working on a Ph.D. in psychology at the same time.

Professionals who specialize in legal psychology are, at one time or another, called upon to assist with cases pending in criminal court, civil court, or family court as what is known as an expert witness. The testimony of these individuals is highly respected and weighs heavily on the decisions made in those courts. Those with a background in police psychology also work closely with law enforcement agencies to advise police officers and assess officers, particularly in cases where it is believed that an officer's mental state may interfere with their duties. labor.

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