Personal Experience in Forensic Psychology

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I started my professional career within the legal arena. I was a victim advocate for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and through my legal work, I realized that mental health and psychology are very much related to victim advocacy and other areas of law. After my work with the D.A.’s office, I sought out working in the mental health field due to the strong connection between the two. I worked in the mental health field in various positions and my work only made it more evident that trauma, coupled with a lack of knowledge and education is truly what causes most disparities in the legal and mental health field.

Presently, I am coming around full circle by obtaining my master's degree in Forensic Psychology. Forensic psychology can be defined as the use of psychology within the legal field. The APA would define it as “the application of clinical psychology to the forensic setting” (Ward, 2013). Forensic psychology sparked my interest because I would be able to obtain a position that would be the best of both worlds. Part of the reason why I chose forensic psychology was due to the various areas that one would be able to work within the field. My goal is to be a forensic interviewer for children that have been molested or sexually abused.

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Through my work with the D.A.’s office, I realized how victims and those in the legal system interact really makes an impact on the victim’s ability to process and cope with the ordeal. During the investigation phase, officers and detectives play a major role. Depending on credibility and cooperation with the investigation they could either be treated as a victim or as someone telling tales. This type of behavior may cause secondary trauma to victims, which in essence means that they relive the event. My goal is to work toward eliminating stigma and rape myths, advocate for victims and treat victims with respect during the legal process.

Through my coursework, I have learned that there are certain elements needed in order to be a professional in the field: definitions and terminology, research, citation, and the application of critical thinking skills. All of these are needed in order to be competent in the field of forensic psychology. These skills only strengthen my ability to be a professional.

The definition and terminology that was most thought-provoking were that of forensic psychology. Depending on the source, it may be defined as many things. As described above, it is the use of psychology in the legal setting, but it is so much more. It is a subspeciality in psychology that has a very recent history in comparison to its other counterparts. Knowing the correct definitions and terms for the field is important in order to effectively communicate concepts and methodologies. Knowledge of terms and definitions makes it easier to understand theories, which in turn provides a close relationship with research.

Another important takeaway from this course is the importance of research. The purpose of research is to better understand ideas, events, and concepts within the field by compiling information on the subject matter, analyzing its importance, and thinking critically to apply the research to context. Research is impactful because it makes it possible for practitioners in the field to improve practices based on new innovations and improve disparities in preexisting modalities.

Once the research is complete practitioners need to cite their sources. Citation is so important because it assists in avoiding plagiarism, makes information easy to identify, and is ethical when referencing others' works. The most practical style of citation for forensic psychologists is APA. Utilizing the APA’s style of citation is necessary because it is the very association that set the guidelines for practitioners of the psychological field. APA citation aids in the writer providing clear and effective communication by providing a standardized format for citation that keeps the writer organized and efficient. Paraphrasing is key when citing. The proper citation gives the writer credibility and that is essential for colleagues to recognize other practitioners' efforts within the field.

The last element is the application of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is crucial because it enhances understanding of information by improving comprehension and displays your personal analysis of concepts. Integrating the concepts learned, then applying critical thinking displays the comprehension of the material. Critical thinking is useful for problem-solving due to using logical and deductive reasoning to come up with solutions.

These learned concepts and skills add to my being a professional in the field. Professionalism is behavior that conveys an individual’s ethics, knowledge, competence, responsibility, skills, and motivation to succeed in their given field. It is needed in order for employers, colleagues, and others in the field to know that an individual has integrity and is credible. It is essential for a professional to identify and present their best qualities as strengths.

My personal strengths that will assist me as a graduate student are effective communication, motivation, and a strong work ethic. These strengths are crucial in being able to complete this master's program, in addition to what is needed to be a professional. Effective communication can be both oral and written. It is beneficial in all areas of life. Without effective communication, one would not be able to clearly express themselves. It aids in others being able to understand what is being said and is a building block in creating and maintaining healthy relationships, professional or otherwise. Effective communication is not what one says, but the manner in which one says it. To communicate is to provide information, but effective communication is more than that. It enhances the quality of the message and the chances that the audience will comprehend the information in a thorough manner.

Motivation is another strength that will make it possible for me to complete graduate school. Motivation is the drive and focus needed to read journal articles, complete writing assignments, and think critically to apply the information in this and other courses to my profession. Motivation takes persistence because not only does one need to be motivated, but one needs to be able to maintain that motivation throughout their academic career in order to complete their degree.

The final element of personal strength is a strong work ethic.

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Personal Experience in Forensic Psychology. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/personal-experience-in-forensic-psychology/
“Personal Experience in Forensic Psychology.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/personal-experience-in-forensic-psychology/
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Personal Experience in Forensic Psychology [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/personal-experience-in-forensic-psychology/
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