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Forensic Psychology: Subspecialties and Roles

Forensic psychology involves the use of science as well as the psychology profession in questions and concerns associated with the legal system. Presently, forensic involves the use of empirical knowledge and practices to an adversary process in which particularly scientists with advanced knowledge have a role. The profession of forensic psychologist can be very interesting and yet tasking. The wide discipline currently has and continues to bear several subspecialties and branches with the already notable ones including Legal, correctional, as well police psychologies (Pinizzotto, 2003). Legal psychology subspecialty majorly deals with the legal systems and procedures. This is a subspecialty that is most particularly dominated and applicable to the lawyers and professionals within the legal system. It involves the application of psychological logic to analyze criminal cases and come out with a rational and human judgment. Of my specific interests have been basically two subspecialties of forensic psychology. These include the correctional psychology as well as the Police psychology.

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The application of psychology in conducting criminal investigations and methodically gathering evidence for submission before the legal court entails the basic function of police psychology. Prosecution process within this context must be adequately aided by this role. The basic fact is that a properly evidenced and supported case based on a thorough psychological premise definitely leads to a fair justice in the court of law (Pinizzotto, 2003). On the other hand, correctional psychology aims to transform criminals into law abiding, hardworking and mentally upright personalities within the society. This is commonly practiced within rehabilitation centers as well as state penitentiaries, and the juvenile correctional centers. The mental hospitals and psychiatric functions form a critical base towards effective conduct of correctional psychology roles. The most interesting roles within the police psychology include handwriting analysis and profiling. Handwriting analysis is applied to establish authorship, i.e. persons who wrote or signed a document. The procedure remains critical in crimes like forgery, or to find out authenticity of a suicide note. In undertaking such roles, the forensic psychologist examines the handwriting as a part of the assessment of a person.

Profiling also forms a critical component or role in police psychology (Walker & Shapiro, 2004). An individual’s profile may depict personality traits, characters as well as motives. Within police forensic psychology, this process is applied to assist apprehend offenders through listing of feasible personality attributes as well as behaviors correlated with other earlier apprehended criminals. The designation of senior scientist and forensic psychologist in the FBI enables e to perform a variety of roles including academic, professional as well as criminal investigations. Of unique importance to me is the teaching role since it enables me to propagate distinct skills appropriate for proper psychological analysis of criminal cases. These have contributed to an effective police psychology analysis particularly on criminal cases regarding clinical forensic psychology (Walker & Shapiro, 2004). My active role in investigations and research has been critical in the development of forensic psychology to fit and meet the modern challenges coupled with increased technological advancement. My experience in the career has been strengthened by the constant capacity building seminars as well as workshops that emerge from the need to enhance the practice of forensic psychology. This has been particularly with the emergence of new national security threats such as terrorism globally. The exchange of ideas from various specialties within forensic psychology during such seminars is critical in enhancing the roles of the actors.


Pinizzotto, A. (2003). Forensic Psychologist. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Web.

Walker, L. & Shapiro, D. (2004). Introduction to forensic psychology: Clinical and social psychological perspectives. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Forensic Psychology: Subspecialties and Roles'. 31 December.

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