A Lawyer’s Guide to Forensic Psychology – Books, Courses & More!
Forensic psychology is a fascinating field that bridges the gap between psychology and the justice system.
It involves applying psychological principles, methods, and skills to the understanding of legal phenomena and issues.
Forensic psychologists wear multiple hats. They examine misconduct, assess mental conditions relevant to court cases, and even testify as expert witnesses in trials, to name just a fraction of their responsibilities.
As a lawyer, studying forensic psychology could be remarkably beneficial. Not only could having expert knowledge in the field enable you to better understand your clients, their motivations, and behaviours. It could also aid you in grasping the mindset of opposing parties or witnesses.
Essentially, an understanding of forensic psychology offers a competitive edge in litigation through improved insight into human behaviour and mindsets within the justice system.
Of course, if you gain a real passion for forensic psychology, you could consider leaving your current legal profession and becoming a full-time professional forensic psychologist. Whatever your reasons for learning about this subject, here is a useful guide to books, courses, and more, to help you on your journey.
Numerous books are available on the topic of forensic psychology. Look for ones that are both suitable for beginners but have plenty of in-depth knowledge. As a lawyer, you will already have more of a good legal understanding to comprehend some of the intricacies of forensic psychology than complete beginners.
Three of the best books to get started with are:
- Forensic Psychology by Dr. Christopher Cronin. This book is recommended by the American Psychological Association. It is written in a textbook style and contains comprehensive information on areas of forensic psychology like criminal profiling, the ethics of psychology, and competency evaluations.
- The Anatomy of a Motive by FBI Profiler John Douglas. In this book, you can explore the motives of violent criminals and learn about various elements of the application of forensic psychology in crime solving. Case studies in this book involve a wide range of criminals, from bombers and mass murderers to arsonists and serial killers.
- Essentials of Forensic Psychological Assessment by forensic psychologist Marc Ackerman. This easy-to-read book provides knowledgeable information on the administration of psychological assessments in the field of forensics. It also includes several interesting case studies.
If you are interested in pursuing a forensic psychology doctorate or other degrees to get a full understanding of forensic psychology, there are several online courses and degree programs at brick-and-mortar educational establishments that you could consider enrolling with.
The highest level of academic achievement in the field of forensic psychology is that of a Ph.D. So, you may like to aim high. But before you decide on the right educational path for you, explore the various degree programs available.
An online program could be ideal, as it could offer more flexibility; which is sure to be important if you are still holding down your day job as a lawyer.
Some of the best online courses for forensic psychology include:
- Bay Path University’s Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology.
- The International Career Institute’s Course in Criminal Psychology.
- Southern New Hampshire University’s Forensic Psychology Program.
Brick-and-Mortar University and College Courses
As mentioned, you also have the option of studying a degree program in forensic psychology or a relevant field at many brick-and-mortar educational establishments. If you prefer more structure and a classroom environment, attending a university or college course could be the right course of action for you.
Some of the best establishments for studying forensic psychology include:
- Washington University in St Louis.
- California State University-Fresno.
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles.
- George Washington University.
- University of Denver.
Some of those provide online programs too.
Blogs and Websites
To find more educational resources and to keep up-to-date with everything in the world of forensic psychology, there are multiple speciality blogs and websites that you can regularly check out.
The following ones are recommended:
- The Forensic Psychology Coalition.
- Expert Psychological Evaluations.
- All About Forensic Psychology.
- Psychology Today.