Objective, neurological data in brain function is emerging as a key tool used in understanding normal and abnormal behavior relative to the criminal and legal system. Students in the Forensic Neuropsychology concentration within the Clinical Forensic Psy.D. program learn first-hand how neuroimaging tools are used by experts to forge new pathways of discovery in diagnosis and treatment of criminals and victims of trauma. Coursework covers such topics as clinical neuroscience, applied forensic neuropsychology, and theories of criminology. Students gain insight into the brain's anatomy and physiology, learn to assess and interpret common neuropsychological tests, and explore various topics in the field of neuroscience. They will explore how sensory inputs, personal experiences, and situational choices result in decision-making and how those factors impact and activate brain function.
Students in the Chicago Campus program have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at The Chicago School Forensic Center, which provides high-quality forensic psychological services and programming to improve the health and well-being of individuals within diverse communities. Through a range of community partnerships, the center provides students with opportunities to put classroom learning into practice in real-world settings—including victim-related trauma treatment for women, adult offenders transitioning from correctional facilities into the community, job readiness preparation for adult offenders, psycho-educational training workshops for parents who have abused or neglected their children, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to help reduce the risk of future incidents of abuse and neglect. Students also benefit from a range of applied learning experiences rarely available at other schools—such as providing expert witness testimony in front of practicing judges and attorneys during a realistic mock trial experience.
Graduates are prepared to sit for the national licensure exam for professional practice in psychology and become lead practitioners and senior administrators in both educational and forensic settings. The program provides students with opportunities to do empirical and applied research within a range of forensic settings and populations, tailoring their coursework to meet particular educational and professional goals. Graduates are equipped with the requisite academic foundation to conduct criminal competency evaluations, criminal responsibility evaluations, forensic child interviews, fitness for duty evaluations, risk assessments, and clinical interventions for a broad range of disorders and populations.
Prepares students to sit for the national licensure exam in clinical psychology
Theories of Criminology
Overview of theories regarding crime and criminal justice. Socio-cultural, personality, and environmental factors underlying criminal behavior are examined, including white collar crime, violent crime, organized crime, and sexual violence.
Introduction to Clinical Neuroscience
The field of human behavioral studies is entering a new age of inquiry. Developments in human psychophysiology, endocrinology and imaging provide opportunities to study human behaviors based on objective physiological and neurophysiologic presentations. Overview of our current understanding of brain anatomy and physiology, as related to normal and abnormal behaviors. Students learn the basic layout of the human brain, as well as central and peripheral nervous systems to gain an understanding of basic functional pathways of perception as integrated into the concept of self. Emphasis placed on understanding of the cellular events that lead to complex behavioral presentations that are commonly observed in clients presenting with psychological diagnoses. Students explore how the integration of the sensory inputs, in light of personal history and experience, and the presentation of situational choices result in observable decisions that are expressed in the activation of neuronal networks. Examples of normal and abnormal behaviors are discussed in respect to central and peripheral nervous system functions.
Neuro-Biology and Spirituality
Explores various topics in the field of neuro-science (e.g., imaging, psychophysiology, pharmacology, etc.) and spirituality. Topics include the biology of belief, the theology of the body, neurobiological understandings and measurements of various states of consciousness (i.e., altered, meditative, etc.), neurobiological understandings of spiritual transcendent, and paranormal experiences and spirituality among individuals with various brain pathologies, among other topics.
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