Psychology expert witness in child care & criminal proceedings, specialising in personality disorder & sex offenders, child abuse, neglect & parenting skills. Legal links & info on this site.

Paul Cousins
Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist

Information about Forensic Clinical Psychology

Psychologists offer services in many areas - as clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, educational psychologists, forensic psychologists, occupational psychologists, as teachers/lecturers of psychology, in sports & exercise, within academic research, market research ......

Clinical psychology is the application of psychological principles to health and community care. It typically involves problem-solving skills and a specialised understanding of the ways in which people think, feel and behave in order to address the often complex difficulties that individuals, couples, families and other care systems face. The broad majority of clinical psychologists work in hospitals, health centres or similar settings. Clinical psychologists normally work in particular specialties, and the most common are:

  • Adult mental health
  • Child health care
  • Learning disability
  • Primary care services, ie. alongside GPs
  • Medical psychology services, ie. with acute hospital services
  • Neuropsychology
  • Substance abuse
  • Forensic

Forensic psychologists are involved in criminological and legal services, and form a broad group with a number of differing interests. They may be interested in the ways people behave within the legal system, they may study criminal patterns, offending behaviour, the impact of crime, or crime detection. They may have a primary interest in offenders, for example in assessing and managing offenders, or they may focus on victims of offending behaviour, family, domestic issues or child protection from abuse. Forensic psychologists may be primarily academic, they may advise the courts as expert witnesses, and will sometimes have skills in other branches of psychology, for example clinical psychology. Depending upon their particular interest within forensic psychology, they will often work in differing settings, for example prisons, special hospitals, secure psychiatric units, youth treatment centres, in university departments, and less frequently in probation or social services departments.

Forensic clinical psychologists have specialist knowledge in both forensic psychology and in clinical psychology. The majority work in secure psychiatric settings, applying clinical skills to those people who represent a risk to themselves or others and, therefore, require secure care. Forensic clinical psychologists will often be able to apply their skills more broadly, enabling them to treat a range of people in outpatient and community settings who obviously do not require secure care. Typically, forensic clinical psychologists have acquired skills in assessing and managing a range of difficult behaviours, including aggression, sexual offending and personality disorders. As such they often work with other agencies, such as the police, the courts, probation and social services, as well as other professionals within psychiatric services.

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