A day in the life of a Criminal Psychologist
Criminal psychology is a fast paced and exciting career field that's constantly growing and expanding. The field itself barely existed prior to the 1950s, but today these individuals work consistently and for a variety of employers. The one thing that's exciting about this career is that there isn't a typical day. The work is so fast paced that no two days are identical. A psychologist may work on one thing one day and then work in a completely different field the next day. Instead of describing a typical day, why not describe a few?
Profiling is the area most often associated with criminal psychology. They look at the past actions of the criminal, the crime scene and evidence to form a profile. They will visit the crime scene directly, to get firsthand knowledge about what the criminal did. Many people assume that profilers are only used in cases of serial killers, but they actually work on cases where the criminal does the same action repetitively. This includes rapists, robbers and other criminals.
On a typical day, the profiler looks through case files, hoping to identify links between different cases. On another day, they attempt to get inside the mind of the criminal by looking at their actions and trying to find a reason for these actions. They spend a day working in the field and going through evidence gathered, to develop their profile. They spend days going through their research and finalizing the completed report. Once the report's finished, they'll meet directly with law enforcement to reveal their findings.
Criminal psychologists are called upon to work as expert witnesses. An expert witness testifies in court about the case and the defendant, but only after going through the evidence and meeting with the criminal. Both the defense and prosecution questions the witness. They're called in to refute the testimony of another expert witness if the two have differing opinions on the same matter.
Working with criminals is another facet of criminal psychology. On a typical day, the psychologist meets directly with a criminal, which can be stressful and frustrating. Lawyers typically ask the psychologists to provide help for those on trial. They're also called upon to provide psychological help for criminals in prisons and mental health facilities. They may work on psychotherapy or provide another type of psychological work such as regular therapy.
There are those criminal psychologists that work as therapists for the majority of the day. They meet with private clients, provide services and work for law enforcement and other areas when they're needed. A typical day in the life of one of these people is to work when needed. They spend part of the day filling out paperwork and going through the files of private clients. They provide therapy during scheduled sessions throughout the day and also spend part of the day working on cases for law enforcement. The day to day life of a criminal psychologist changes frequently.
Schools Offering Criminology Courses:
- M.A. Forensic Psychology
- Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology
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