Evaluations Performed by a Forensic Psychologist
Thanks to our collective obsession with crime shows on television, the job of forensic psychologist is now a part of a lot of Canadians’ vocabulary, even here in Thunder Bay. Although, in reality, practicing forensic psychology doesn’t look a lot like it does on TV, it’s a fascinating job that helps a lot of people in a lot of different ways, from the courtroom to the counselling centre. All forensic psychologists hold advanced degrees in psychology or one of its sub-divisions of study. Although there are a lot of different forms it can take, forensic psychology is essentially where general psychology and the law meet.
At Dr. Paul Johnston Psychology Professional Corporation in Thunder Bay, we’d like to let our community know just a few of the ways that a forensic psychologist can help:
- Violence risk assessment: This involves giving a professional opinion of the presence or absence of psychosocial and psychological factors that forecast violent behaviour. These assessments are most often used as evidence in court cases.
- Mental status examinations of criminal defendants: Sometimes it’s necessary to use the principles of forensic psychology to assess the mental state of those who have committed crimes in order to determine the degree to which defendants are in control of themselves. This helps determine if they’re criminally responsible for their crime, or fit to stand trial, among other things. A forensic psychologist is an expert in making these assessments.
- Jury selection: Serving on a jury is one of the most serious responsibilities of any citizen in Thunder Bay. To make sure our court system functions, forensic psychologists are sometimes consulted on jury selection processes.
- Evaluate insurance claims: Insurance companies sometimes require an evaluation by a forensic psychologist in cases that involve damages due to stress or other psychological distress.
- Mental capacity claims: There are quite a few potential situations in one’s life where it’s important to establish clear mental competency. When signing a will or certain other legal forms it can often clear up any problems down the road to have a forensic psychologist give their opinion in writing.