Describing the Role of a Forensic Psychologist
I receive more referrals from forensic clients than from lawyers. Each time I tell those individuals I need to speak with their lawyers. This is because the forensic psychologist works for the lawyer or the court not the client. So what is the value of using a forensic psychologist? The forensic psychologist brings to any given case objectivity and scholarship. He/she will access the relevant and most recent literature applicable to the case at hand. Whether it is “overnights and the young child”, “the importance of accommodation to a child with ADHD”, or the “process of malingering”, the forensic psychologist will serve as a behavioral scientist to the lawyer. The second important use of a forensic psychologist is that he/she is the only mental health professional who has been trained and licensed to administer, interpret and score psychological testing. He/she can also provide normative data specific to the forensic setting. e.g. child custody, personal injury.
Finally, the forensic psychologist can address methods of remediation in any given case. In family law, this may include parent alienation intervention, child abuse intervention, or the recommendation for a special needs assessment. In personal injury cases, this may require recommendations for post- traumatic stress disorder treatment, pain management, or the need for a psychiatric consult.
In summary, many legal cases involve psychological variables central to a case that can best be addressed by the use of a forensic psychologist. The forensic psychologist is specifically trained to investigate, assess, and offer solution to psychological issues presented by your case.