Forensic Psychologists: What Do They Do?
Psychologists are trained to assess and diagnose a variety of problems affecting our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Forensic psychologists are additionally competent in the psychological assessment and diagnosis of individuals who have come into contact with the legal system. Additional services include risk assessment (the likelihood that someone will re-offend/come into contact with the legal system again), malingering assessment (assessment of the veracity or honesty of statements related to health), and assessment for the purpose of diagnostic clarification. Risk assessment involves compiling the available evidence to deduce an estimate of an individual’s risk to commit a criminal offence. This may involve the prediction of a specific type of offense such as a violent or sexual offense. The purpose of a malingering assessment is to determine whether an individual might be exaggerating their symptoms for the purpose of secondary gain. Diagnostic clarification refers to assessing the presence of any psychological disorders or conditions.
Psychologists are also equipped to help people learn to manage their symptoms and ultimately to help them to feel better and lead more balanced lives. Treatment with Dr. Paul Johnston may involve learning anger management techniques, improving emotional regulation abilities, and/or fostering impulse control.
Forensic Psychology is one of the fastest-growing disciplines within psychology. Forensic psychologists are often involved in both criminal and civil matters. A few examples include insurance claims, court-mandated treatment, and civil lawsuits. Forensic psychologists commonly see clients who have been referred through the legal system.
Like other psychology specializations, entry into forensic psychology requires extensive study and many years of practical experience. Forensic psychologists are knowledgeable regarding the intersection of psychology and the law. They have specialized training in clinical forensic psychology and a background in the ethical issues inherent to forensic psychology. Forensic psychologists need patience, creativity, and commitment.
As a forensic psychologist in Thunder Bay, Dr. Paul Johnston works with people who need diagnostic clarification of their psychological or emotional issues and subsequently, who are in need of psychotherapy. A registered clinical and forensic correctional psychologist with 30 years’ experience working in two hospitals, Dr. Johnston provides services to the judiciary system, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), and the Northwestern Ontario Sexual Behaviours Program (NOSBP). His job is to assess the patient’s psychiatric, characterological and intellectual risk of recidivism and malingering assessment of forensic and correctional patients.
Forensic psychologists play a very important role in today’s society – they are mindful of the interests of the general public as well as those who come into contact with the legal system. If you would like to learn more about forensic psychology in Thunder Bay, or if you need a forensic psychologist to assist you, or any of our other counselling services, contact Dr. Johnston’s office at 807 628 0752 or toll-free at 1 888 872 8551 today to schedule your first appointment.