The Forensic Psychology concentration within the Clinical Psy.D. program provides students with knowledge and skills to apply psychology in the legal system, including an understanding of mental health law, and the treatment and evaluation of offenders. Students will also be introduced to testifying as an expert witness and forensic report writing as well as other psychological and legal principles.
Forensic psychology is a rapidly growing field that focuses on the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The forensic concentration coursework provides students with basic knowledge regarding psychologists' roles in the legal system, including employment options in the field, mental health law, and the treatment and evaluation of offenders. Students will also be introduced to testifying as an expert witness and forensic report writing.
Those specializing in this area will be among the highest in demand for the delivery of services to correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, courts, attorneys, and lawmakers. Organizations, administrations, and development of programs in those organizations will be enhanced by the employment of those trained in the area of forensic psychology.
Violence and Risk Assessment
Provides students with the fundamental aspects of conducting violence and risk assessment evaluations and the manner in which opinions are communicated. Students gain an understanding of empirically-based risk factors and assessment tools used to conduct violence and risk evaluations, as well as management strategies employed to ameliorate risk/risk conditions. Practical exercises drawn from actual cases are used to illustrate key concepts.
Evaluation and Treatment of the Offender
Explores psychological origins and dynamics of criminal behavior from the viewpoint of psychological theories. Students discuss treatment of the different types of offender populations (antisocial personality, female offenders, sex offenders, etc.) within the criminal justice system. It also explores psychological theories related to etiology, development and prediction of violent crime, and types of intervention possible within the criminal justice setting. Topic areas include special offender populations (sex offender, offenders with developmental disabilities, or those classified as mentally retarded).
Mental Health Law
Examines mental health law as it relates to civil and criminal practice. The relationship between psychopathology and crime, the insanity defense and other issues of criminal responsibility, competency to stand trial and otherwise participate in the legal process, involuntary hospitalization, and the clinician as expert witness are explored. Case studies and court reports are used to illustrate the key concepts of this course.
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