How to Learn More About Forensic Psychology
For clinical psychologists, lawyers, and laypeople, learning about forensic psychology can be a daunting task. Even when interested in the subject, knowing when and where to start can seem overwhelming. The internet is full of misinformation or misleading information. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a forensic psychologist, the work of forensic psychologists, or specific topics within the realm of forensic psychology, there are a number of places to look.
The first option is to read books on forensic psychology. The #1 book I would recommend is a book by Melton, et al. entitled Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: Third Edition: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers. The Handbook of Forensic Psychology is a second excellent text I would highly recommend for an overview of forensic psychology.
Another good idea is to join a listserv or forum. There are a number of lists and forums dedicated to the discussion of forensic psychology. Many forensic psychologists are members of these and are willing to share a wealth of knowledge on the topic. Psylaw is a good example of such a listserv, and joining is free. Though not specific to forensic psychology, the Student Doctor Network is a great forum with many helpful psychologists and students who are interested in a variety of psychology topics.
You should consider attending trainings provided by experts in the field. If you look online you may be able to find workshops and seminars on forensic psychology in your area or on online webinars or podcasts. Some of these are free. The American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) has particularly informative and outstanding workshops. For more information, you can visit their website here. You may also be interested in joining the American Psychology Law – Society and attending their annual conference.
See if you can become involved in a company, private practice, or hospital which provides forensic evaluations. Depending on your level of interest and involvement, you may want to dedicate some of your time to getting some hands-on experience. Though your ability to participate in actual forensic work may be limited (depending on whether you are a clinical psychologist, a student, an interested lay person, an attorney, etc.), you may still learn and observe a lot.
You may also consider looking at the private practice websites of forensic psychologists. For example, mine is Expert Psychological Evaluations. My website includes blogs (such as this one) in addition to pages describing many of the forensic evaluations I conduct. Often psychologists will provide a description of their practice, the work they do, and maintain blogs. You can learn a lot about forensic psychology just from reviewing these websites.
Finally, if you are more scientifically inclined, you can seek out scientific journals on forensic psychology. There are many to choose from, but it is important to point out that many forensic psychology studies are not published in forensic psychology-specific journals. Several journals dedicated to forensic psychology include the following:
Forensic psychology is a broad field with a lifetime of learning available. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and good luck.