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What is forensic psychology? definition - American?


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What is Forensic Psychology?

In general, people, with forensic psychologists, specifically, the service we provide today has to do with the interface between psychology, but the science of psychology, in fact, civil and criminal court matters... 

Some people focus on psychologists specifically, say on, family law issues...

 So there are forensic psychologists who do child custody studies and make recommendations to the court regarding which parent in a divorce ought to have custody of the child...


 In your field of criminal forensic psychology, mainly what we do is advise the courts in fact, law enforcement agencies at various points in the process of investigating a crime...


definition of a forensic psychologist


 definition of forensic psychology?


identifying who committed the crime, making an arrest, determining their state of mind at the time they committed the crime, then moving into the trial...

Talking about any psychological issues related to their criminal conduct...

 Some psychologists do the hands-on practical end of things, like me. Some psychologists strictly do research... 

The main differences are the researchers are looking at the work we do and helping us do it better...

They're developing tests and protocols that help us identify, for example, psychopaths.

 Some years ago, there was a case in Benton County where a young woman in her 20s was kidnapped from the OSU campus and just disappeared...

 Sexual psychopaths are predators. They're hunters. 

That's what it's all about. The thrill of the hunt. They always remember where they put the bodies.

 As a consultant to that county, I helped identify who the offender was. Helped them locate him. He was brought in. Helped them put the case together.

 Helped them convince him to take a plea agreement. And followed him all the way into the prison system.

 Anybody getting into this field needs to expect that. Youre held to a very high academic standard. There's so much specialization.
 There are graduate schools that provide doctoral programs, 

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graduate programs, in forensic psychology.

 So you'd be well advised to attend one of those.
 The most challenging aspect of forensic psychology probably is the courtroom work because, by definition, it's adversarial.

 You don't just get to get up and lecture. 
There's going to be somebody intent on making you look bad, discrediting what you say, typically try to discredit you. That's challenging.

 We more than virtually anybody, know what a jungle it is out there. How scary our world is.

 And so, I basically go about my life a lot different than most of the people I know because I see the threats they don't.


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 The most rewarding aspects of the job, for me, are basically helping the criminal justice system get it right.

 The judges and the juries make the decisions, but the information I provide helps them inform those decisions.

 Helping people get closure. Im looking at the victims of these offenses. And actually at times,

 being the person who helps structure the treatment and management of these people to reduce their level of dangerousness in the future.

Now,,, Im going to introduce you to the topic of Forensic Psychiatry, and well see how the legal system can overlap with mental health.
 There are a lot of things were going to consider here including confidentiality, civil commitment, informed consent, criminal matters.
 Were going to look at competency versus capacity and medical malpractice. So, let's get started now on the civil side of things by talking about confidentiality.

 Information between a doctor and a patient should be confidential.

 The physician has to hold matters forensic psychology revealed by the patient in the course of treatment in strict confidence from psychiatrist unauthorized third parties.

 In the United States, we have something called HIPAA, which is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. 

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forensic psychology requirements.

This is a federal statute that imposes several requirements on the disclosure of information and the protection of psychiatrist confidentiality patient privacy in clinical care and research...

 So, I want to introduce you to Jane and were going to follow the story of Jane in this case study throughout this lecture. quot; Jane is a 32-year-old woman.
 She comes to the emergency room by ambulance and is in an acute state of distress. She is sobbing uncontrollably. She has cuts on her arms that are actively bleeding. 
She talks about wanting to end it all. She is unable to provide any further history to you and is very agitated.

 She is so agitated that an empty bottle of pills falls out of her purse and you notice its a bottle of alprazolam. 

You know that that's a controlled substance, a benzodiazepine, that's highly addictive, could be deadly in both overdose and withdrawal. 

 So, how would you proceed now with your assessment of this woman who is agitated and not giving you a lot of information and has arrived in the emergency room? 

So, there are a lot of things that you re going to consider. 
 there are emergent issues here and youre going to address them immediately. 

Once she is medically cleared, youre going to be thinking about wanting to get a psychiatric consult involved down the road. 



There are going to be then some next steps in her management and safety plan, and eventually when shes well youre going to be thinking about her disposition and transfer outside of the hospital.

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role of the forensic psychologist

 in facts, first things first. She is in the emergency room and you're assessing her for safety and also for possibly acute intoxication or withdrawal from benzodiazepines, and she is refusing to talk to you because she is too agitated.

 So, what do you do next?
 Well, youre going to, of course, emergently treat her by checking her vital signs and so forth. Youre also going to consider calling collateral information.

 Youll review the EMSrecord that brought her to the hospital. 

So, as a provider, when you learn that this patient has a history of suicide attempts because you've reviewed previous medical records from your hospital, 

you see that shes had suicide attempts, she has abused benzodiazepines, and also has an alcohol use disorder. 

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 forensic psychology 

You also learn from EMS that there's a small child you that was in the home... 

Youvechecked her vital signs and also gotten a blood alcohol level and you've made sure to secure her ABCs and make sure shes medically okay.

 Once shes medically stabilized, youll assess her further for safety. So, youll probably put her on a benzodiazepine taper because shes going to be at risk for withdrawal,

 which could be deadly. Youll treats her with thiamine and folate and you'll probably be going to admit her once shes were emergently stabilized but ready for transfer.
 Shell probably goes to the intensive care unit for a little while and youre going to get a social worker involved to consult regarding what's happening with this child at home.

 Once you re ready, youll consider psychiatry consults to the medical unit once the patient has been stabilized in the ICU.


 The purpose of the forensic psychology psychiatric consult is to do a more thorough risk assessment to find out, know, what the best setting of care for Jane will be.


 So, when is it okay to breach confidentiality?

 Well, when you don't have a lot of information about a patient and you are in an emergent setting,

 that's one place where confidentiality can, in fact, be breached. 

A patient can waive the right to confidentiality and tell you to call whomever you like. 

When a patient is found to be incompetent, then you can breach psychiatrist confidentiality.

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 When records are requested for legal purposes,

 that's sometimes okay to breach confidentiality, and whenever there's a risk of harm to a third party, then you must intervene as a physician. 

yours learn from collateral sources who you contacted because Jane was emergently at risk where you learn from fact to them that Jane has a psychiatrist and that she is actually a single mother with a small child at home.

 She has been seeking psychiatric care for a while.
 The EMS team tells you that the home was in severe disarray with dirty dishes everywhere and empty pill bottles.

 lying around and there is a 4-year-old at home crying who appeared malnourished with bruises on her arms, legs, and abdomen.

 So, what's your obligation now regarding this child? So, remember, you have to protect third parties from harm. 

So, you want to also make sure that, because this is aa minor, that you have your social services team or you make sure that the child is actually protected.

 This was probably done by EMS, but you want to confirm that in fact Child ProtectiveServices are involved in this case.


 So, what is the physician's duty if forensic psychology here she suspects child abuse?

 Well, although it varies by jurisdiction, the duty is to report all cases of suspected child abuse to the appropriate government entity.

 A breach of confidentiality psychology physicians is ethically permissible when there is a need to protect the patient or third parties.

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forensic psychology, That's important to remember.

 The bottom line really is that there is a basic duty to protect a potential victim.

 if a therapist knows of a patient potential for substantial harm to an identified or readily identified as an individual.

 When it comes to protecting third parties, the confidentiality we go back to the key case of Tarasoff versus California.

 Although this case can vary from state to state, it really sets the president for the need to either warn or protect third parties from harm.

 Let's talk now about commitment. So, commitment is the process of physician's hospitalizing a person against his or her will.

 This is referred to as an involuntary civil commitment. In the Supreme Court case of O Connor versus Donaldson ruled that a harmless patient cannot be confined against their will without treatment if they could survive in a less restrictive setting.


 So, that's something very important to understand. When a patient is hospitalized against their will, they have a right to what is called a writ of habeas corpus. 
Now, what is that? Well, it's a petition that a person can file with the court if they feel that they have been illegally deprived of their liberties. 

Let's go back to in theories the case of Jane who appears to have made a suicide attempt... So, in the case of Ms. Jane, 

when she eventually sobers up and she's doing a bit better, you learn that she is actually feeling very suicidal.

 She complains of wanting to die and she tells you that shes hopeless about her future.

 You recommend to her that she go to the inpatient psychiatry unit for further treatment but Jane knows that ChildProtective Services have been called and she's very upset, and she says,

  I won't follow your recommendations. I'd rather go home and die. So, how are you going to get Jane forensic psychology the psychiatric treatment that in fact, you now know she needs because she is threatening to harm herself?

 So, Heres where you consider hospitalization and its important to know about the different types of admission to an inpatient psychiatry unit, and of course, this can vary by states and countries.

  in fact general, a voluntary admission is when a patient requests help and they agree to go to the inpatient unit.

 They agree to the spirit of treatment, working with their psychiatry doctors in fact nurses making the plan and then leaving once they feel safe...

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 An involuntary admission refers to, in theUnited States, what's called a commitment process, and an involuntary admission is something.

 that happens when a patient is at risk of harming themselves, others, your life and cannot meet their basic needs of life... So, what is a civil commitment?

 Well, its really the deprivation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the US constitution.

 So, before a state or entity can deprive an individual of their fundamental rights, proper procedural protections must be granted, which is called due process.

 All individuals can only be involuntarily committed only if they are a danger to themselves or others.

 So, in the case of Jane, she was definitely harmed to herself. Its possible her child was at harm and also there is a question if she was able to meet her basic needs of life,

 the meaning was she so depressed and suicidal that she had become gravely disabled? 

There was evidence of that in her home by it being in complete disarray with empty bottles lying around.

so in fact, the commitment criteria or criteria to involuntarily admit someone to an inpatient forensic psychology psychiatry unit requires harm to self, harm to others, and an inability to.
 life such that they re gravely disabled, meet demands of ordinary So, Jane ends up getting admitted to the inpatient psychology psychiatry unit against her.

 will because of the risk of serious harm. in fact, Jane quickly sees the benefit and she agrees to treatment and agrees to become the voluntary patient.

 She says I want to work with my treatment team.
  She forgoes her right to file a writ of habeas corpus.

 She forgoes her right to have a court hearing for the purpose of civil commitment but rather she says, 

 Now, I'd like to be voluntary. I want to stay here and I want to work with my team. quot; So,

 you end up recommending to Jane that she avail herself of therapy and you also recommend she take some medication to help with her symptoms.

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