Forensic psychology has scope in different scenarios of the forensic world, and the forensic clinic is one of the most important.
In this sense, we will try to clarify the main issues surrounding this branch of psychology. We will review the different types of actions that may be required of the expert psychologist in this field and the characteristics of his forensic report.
What is expert psychology at Medicoforense clinic?
To find out what the task of the expert in psychology in the forensic clinic is, you must first understand what this organism is for. The medicoforense clinic is a public center where expertise is carried out to assess any physical or psychological damage (which is what belongs to us) that a person may have suffered in a situation that will be part of legal proceedings.
Therefore, in the specific case of expert psychology at the medicoforense clinic, we refer to the work of an expert psychologist within this institution, generally carrying out forensic reports evaluating hypothetical psychological sequelae that an individual may have experienced after an assault or an alleged situation which may be of a very diverse nature.
But this is not the only task that a forensic psychologist working in this context can have. As we will see later, you may also receive requests from a judge to assess issues such as the possible imputability of a defendant, the presence of psychopathology in someone who is immersed in a lawsuit, etc. We will see this in detail in the next point.
Types of action of expert psychology in the forensic clinic
Indeed, there are several missions that can have the professional who works in the field of expert psychology at the medicoforense clinic. Although we have advanced some of them, now we will take a look at them in depth.
1. Psychological sequelae
One of the main actions that the corresponding judge will ask the expert psychologist to do is to assess the psychological consequences that a person may have suffered. In this case, the task of the professional of the forensic clinic will be to carry out a psychological examination of the person concerned in search of these consequences.
It is important to be clear that the expert psychologist will always be extremely careful in his conclusions, and in case of discovery of a possible psychological damage, he will always refer to the possible compatibility of these consequences with the aggression suffered.
Another of the main problems studied within expert psychology at the forensic clinic is the presence of a possible psychopathology in an individual immersed in a legal process. In this regard, the expert will conduct an interview and administer any evidence he deems appropriate to find a hypothetical mental illness that may be related to his actions.
Of course, the forensic reports made, as in other courts where this discipline operates, have an advisory character for the judgeThis is what always has the last word and therefore the final decision whether or not to impose the sentence on the defendant, at its discretion.
3. Credibility of the testimony
One of the more complex tasks that is part of the functions of the psychology expert in the forensic clinic is to assess the credibility of testimony, usually in the case of children who have been alleged victims or witnesses of. a crime, such as sexual abuse.
This is obviously one of the most delicate situations that a professional can face and his work, which must always be impeccable, cannot in this case leave room for the slightest error.
There are juvenile interview tools and protocols designed to minimize suggestibility, such as SVA, GEA-5, Reality Monitoring, or SALBut any wrong step can contaminate a response and even invalidate the test.
One of the classic techniques consists in first checking the credibility of the testimony of the minor in question in relation to any other neutral fact, such as what he did on his last birthday. Of course, the age and stage of psycho-evolutionary development in which the child finds himself will be decisive for the evaluation and application of one test or another.
These factors determined both the understanding of the language and the usage and richness of himself, and therefore the expert psychology expert at the forensic clinic should take this into account before embarking on the exploration. . It is also essential that the expert assesses the possibility of confusion between reality and imagination., An invention made for a certain motivation, or even a hypothetical induction by a third party.
After a thorough assessment by an expert psychologist, you will conclude whether the testimony is believable or incredible, properly substantiated.
Liability is another of the central themes of expert psychology at the forensic clinic. At the legal level, a person will be responsible as long as his psychological conditions allow him to know reality and also to be able to act according to this perception. Therefore, one of the tasks of the expert psychologist is to assess the degree of compliance with these parameters by the defendant.
It is important to be clear that the mere fact that there is psychopathology in the person does not automatically make them irresponsible. For this to happen, this disease must have a direct relation to the act that you have done and for which you are being judged.
Some of the cases that could be attributed to a person are as follows. First, the absolute misunderstanding of the concept of illegality. This condition could occur in subjects who suffer from a deficit in their cognitive abilities, for whatever reason. Likewise, total intoxication due to the consumption of a substance can also affect a person’s accountability.
Another of the conditions studied in expert psychology at the Medicoforense clinic with the aim of helping to assess liability, is the possible distortion of reality that the subject may have even from birth, Due to certain psychopathological conditions. They would also be a reason to consider the fact that he acted in self-defense or in defense of others.
Finally, a question which becomes crucial. The forensic psychologist will never conclude that a person is accountable or not responsible, as this is always a decision of the judge. Instead, he will grasp the concordance or not of the state of the subject at the time of the act of which he is accused with one of the cases of imputability, always in terms of possibility.
Finally, we find the danger as one of the questions to be studied within the framework of the expert psychology of the medicoforense clinic. In that case, the judge will ask the expert psychologist to assess the danger of a person who has committed a crimeIn order, among other things, to be able to take precautionary measures to prevent the commission of further hypothetical criminal activities.
As in the previous questions, the forensic psychologist must explore the subject, using the interview and the tools necessary to provide the professional with the necessary data to be able to make a profile which corresponds or not to a possible dangerous behavior. All this information will be transmitted to the judge so that he can make the decisions he deems appropriate.
The levels of intervention of expert psychology in the forensic clinic
Expert psychology in the forensic clinic, as in other legal scenarios, can materialize at three different levels, which would involve three phases of action of the expert psychologist.
The first level is the clinic. This is the first phase of the intervention and includes everything related to the exploration of the case in question. and the conduct of a forensic interview, which should not be confused with a clinical interview, because the person is not voluntarily in front of the professional but is there because of a trial, this which may alter the cookie. The professional must pay attention to this issue.
2. Medico-legal report
Once all the necessary information has been gathered, the expert will be ready to prepare the corresponding expert report of the case, in which the question raised by the judge will be answered., To which this document will be returned.
The final level of forensic psychology in the forensic clinic is the room for ratification of the forensic report made. The psychologist will present the contents of the document to the court and answer questions related to the report executed by the parties or by the judge.
- Chacón, F., García, JF, García, A., Gómez, R., Vázquez, B. (2009). Guide to good practice for the preparation of expert psychological reports on the custody and visitation regime for minors. Official College of Psychologists of Madrid.
- Godoy-Cervera, V., Figueres, L. (2005). Criteria-Based Content Analysis (LCSA) to assess testimonial credibility. Articles by the psychologist.
- Manzanero, A EL, Muñoz JM (2011). The psychological expert test on the credibility of testimony: psychological reflections. Madrid, Sepín.
- Vázquez, B. (2005). Manual of forensic psychology. Synthesis.