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Speciality Guidelines for Forensic Psychology


A primary goal of this paper is to discover various guidelines, which are vital to the forensic psychological practice. Firstly, the Speciality Guidelines are discussed, and their significance is assessed. Secondly, the Ethical Principles and Speciality Guidelines are displayed, and Speciality Guidelines are evaluated with the assistance of specific examples. Lastly, various guidelines are described.

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Speciality Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists

It is necessary to understand the significance of each guideline, which id presented in AP-LS. One of the important guidelines state that it is to explain the fact that personal values and beliefs of the psychologist might influence his/her ability to continue a practice in this field (Guideline 2.07) (American Psychological Association, 2013). The importance of this principle cannot be underestimated, as the decision-making process, which is based on the personal opinions, biases the outcomes of the situation. In this case, not following this guideline might lead to the lack of the necessary information due to inability to overcome personal opinions (Brodsky, Wilson, & Neal, 2013).

Speaking of relationships, a forensic psychologist has to be prepared to the occurrence of emergency and act in accordance with the situation (Guideline 4.03) (American Psychological Association, 2013). This concept is critical for the assessment, as it contributes to the ability of psychologist to determine whether an examinee can continue the evaluation without causing harm to other individuals. Lastly, a number of psychiatric examinees, who are willing to perform a self-harmful act during the assessment, remains significant (Mrad & Nabors, 2006).

As for confidentiality and privilege, the guideline is related to acquiring the additional information from the third party (Guideline 8.03) (American Psychological Association, 2013). It is apparent that sometimes this procedure is essential, as not all of the data can be acquired with the help of the direct contact. Moreover, some of the cases are complicated. Consequently, carefully evaluating information is a necessity while legally addressing to the assistance from the third party (Deborah, 2006). One of the explicit examples is the fact that it is unclear whether the patient is faking his mental malfunction or not. Subsequently, these situations often occur, and there is a necessity to pay profound attention to this concept.

Speaking of methods, it is apparent that a forensic psychologist should utilize multiple sources of information while performing the assessment of an individual (Guideline 9.02) (American Psychological Association, 2013). Following this principle will help avoid bias in the assessment. Nowadays, several sources of digital data are used to enhance the forensic assessment (Cohen, Garfinkel, & Schatz, 2009). Digitalization contributes to the low level of biased finding and rapid flow of information for the forensic psychological procedures.

As for the professional communications, forensic psychologist have to follow accepted behavioral patterns and avoid conflicts while expressing criticism about the findings presented by the other professionals, who were working on the same case (Guideline 11.05) (American Psychological Association, 2013). This concept is vital for the final assessment, as conflicts might be reasons for the lack of information, which is required to determine the outcomes. In this case, not having sufficient communication might lead to the misinterpretation of results, and an individual might be assessed with the false diagnosis.

As for the public communication, the statements and suggestions, which are presented by the forensic psychologists, have to be clear, as it will help avoid misunderstandings in the society and court (Guideline 11.01) (American Psychological Association, 2013). It is apparent that confusing statements might lead to the grave mistakes in the tribunal’s decision-making process, as people have a tendency to present personal perceptions of the given data. Lastly, following this principle will help avoid bias in assessment and perform coherent results (Manley & Chavez, 2007).

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Ethical Principles and Speciality Guidelines

It is apparent that Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct and the AP-LS Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists address the similar matters. However, the Ethical Principles cover more aspects and pay significant attention to the ethical values in the forensic psychological practice (American Psychological Association: Ethical principles, 2010). It could be said that both sources of guidelines are similar and dependent on each other.

In this case, the three speciality guidelines are evaluated, and their areas of application are provided. Instruction 9.02 (simultaneous usage of multiple sources of information) is usually used during the assessment procedure (American Psychological Association, 2013). As for the real case example, this guideline can be actively utilized for the communication and determination of the results, as it is vital to evaluate all sources of data to acquire applicable outcomes.

Another important guideline is an ability to communicate politely and efficiently with colleagues (11.05) (American Psychological Association, 2013). In this case, this guidance will help gather profound information about the case. It can be used while performing the final evaluation of the examinee. The final chosen concept is a necessity to express the ideas and statements clearly (11.01) (American Psychological Association, 2013). This case can be used to present the views in the court, as the declarations have to expressed clearly to avoid misinterpretations.

It could be said that following these guidelines is essential since it helps avoid misunderstandings and breaking the legal and ethical principles. Moreover, paying close attention to the data contributes to the performance of sufficient assessment. Lastly, it is apparent that these guidelines only cover the questionable concepts and ideas, which might create misunderstandings.

Descriptions of Selected Guidelines

The guideline 9.02 implies using several sources of information and multiple methods of data collection to acquire high-quality results, which are necessary for the assessment (American Psychological Association, 2013). One of the examples is suspecting a person to be convicted in sexually offensive actions, like 95% of the forensic psychologist use criminal records as a supplement to entire assessment (Neal & Grisso, 2014). In this case, applying this guideline will help determine whether a person is mentally stable or not. It is apparent that multiple sources will contribute to gathering a clear image of the complicated situation. In the end, psychologists have to apply and follow specialty guidelines, as they contribute to acquiring and collecting relevant information, communicate effectively, and avoiding possible misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Lastly, the guidelines construct the legal and ethical framework of actions, which a forensic psychologist must follow to remain competent in the field.

The guidelines such as ability to provide clear information, usage of several sources of data, and ability to communicate with professionals can be applied to the assessment, as each of them help have a sufficient communication and determine relevant diagnosis. As for the multicultural guideline (2.08), all individuals have to be treated equally (American Psychological Association, 2013). It is clear that this principle is necessary to avoid discrimination and racial prejudice while having the assessment. All of the aspects have to be discussed, as they contribute to the relevant evaluation process. In the end, I will address them via my actions and attitudes for the communication and evaluation.


American Psychological Association. (2013). Speciality guidelines for forensic psychology. American Psychologist, 68(1), 7-19.

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American Psychological Association: Ethical principles of psychologists and Code of Conduct. (2010). Web.

Brodsky, S., Wilson, J., & Neal, T. (2013). Refusing and withdrawing from forensic evaluations. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 13(1), 14-26.

Cohen, M., Garfinkel, S., & Schatz, B. (2009). Extending the advanced forensic format to accommodate multiple data sources, logical evidence, arbitrary information and forensic workflow. Digital Investigation, 6, S57-S68.

Deborah, L. (2006). Expanding the net: Suggestions for forensic mental health examiners on identifying and obtaining third-party information. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 6(2), 39-51.

Manley, J., & Chavez, D. (2008). Child maltreatment: Parental assessments. In H. Hall (Ed.), Forensic psychology and neuropsychology for criminal and civil cases (pp. 622-642). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Mrad, D., & Nabors, E. (2006). The role of the psychologist in civil commitment. In A. Goldstein (Ed.), Forensic psychology: Emerging topics and expanding roles (pp. 231-256). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Neal, T., & Grisso, T. (2014). Assessment practices and expert judgment methods in forensic psychology and psychiatry: An international snapshot. Criminal Justice & Behavior, 41(12), 1406-1421.

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