The 8 main functions of legal psychology

Psychology is a discipline that presents a very varied horizon of fields of intervention since its constitution as a scientific discipline. Therefore, in recent years, as psychology has diversified, more and more psychologists decide to train in this branch.

It is an area of ​​specialization in which the relationship between law and the behavioral sciences is evident: the study of the human mind and behavior has legal implications to be considered, both at the micro (individual) level and macro (social). But… What are the areas of activity that occur in this branch of psychology? Here you will find a summary of the functions of legal psychology.

    What is Legal Psychology?

    Over the decades, many areas of human knowledge and activity have been validated through the application of psychological research methods and strategies to solve all kinds of needs and problems. One of the areas where the use of psychology is essential is the legal field, where knowing and analyzing in depth the behavior of people and their motivations is of great relevance in resolving all types of disputes, conflicts of interest and possible cases of commission of offences. or crimes.

    In this sense, legal psychology helps to explain the behavior of people, understood as legal actors in the context of law, law and justice.

    We can also conceive of legal psychology as the conjunction between the world of psychology and that of lawwhere its qualified professionals use a wide variety of techniques, instruments and procedures based on scientific evidence and the most recent psychological theories to try to give an explanation of the psychological processes that have already taken place, or to try to predict the extent of those that may take place in the future.

    These two pillars, understanding what happened and describing what might happen, are the most valued facets from a pragmatic point of view, but the information they generate must then be analyzed through the prism of law. For this reason, psychologists trained in legal psychology retain a technical professional role and are not involved in major decision-making in legal proceedings. They limit themselves to providing relevant data that must be used by lawyers, judges, prosecutors…

    These strategies based on the scientific method are used by legal psychology professionals to assess, study, understand, advise or treat all types of psychological alterations that influence the behavior and relationships between people of all ages, always in a tailored to their needs and characteristics.

      Functions of Legal Psychology

      Although legal psychology has a relatively recent history in most countries, in Spain professionals in this discipline can already carry out the following functions in their daily professional performance.

      1. Assessment and diagnosis

      Psychological assessment and diagnosis are among the core functions performed by legal psychology professionals.

      On the one hand, it is common to assess and diagnose legal actors involved in judicial or criminal proceedings of any type, whose psychological phenomena, behaviors or relationships may be relevant in a judicial process of any type. In this context, Psychologists do not only act as psychotherapists, as their role is to serve the legal process in the first place, and not to the subject being analysed.

        2. Advice

        Advising judges and court bodies on matters in which legal psychology professionals have extensive experience is one of the essential functions of any legal proceeding.

        Both guidance and advice based on conclusions drawn by the scientific method will be crucial in any type of legal proceeding to ayudar to demonstrate guilt or lack thereof.

        In addition to this, these professionals may also assist in divorce, gender-based violence, custody and custody, disability, or criminal and civil proceedings.

        3. Psychosanitary intervention

        Intervention in legal psychology is carried out by planning intervention programs adapted at all times to the specific needs of each person who must intervene.

        This psychological intervention will always have as its primary objective the well-being of the person in order to improve their quality of life, their well-being and their health, both mental and psychological and physical.

        Interventions can be carried out both individually and collectively.in the penitentiary context or with the aim of rehabilitating and reintegrating into society any person who has followed a specific legal course.

        4. Investigation

        Legal psychology is, as has been indicated, a very young discipline in most countries of the world, which is why in most of them a process of investigation and deeper study of a wide variety of fields of this branch is required of psychology. Establishes synergies with sciences such as criminology, environmental psychology, health psychology, etc.

        Research in legal psychology offers a wide variety of possibilities and different fields, and the knowledge gained generally has a direct practical application.

          5. Training

          Training and education are essential in forensic psychology, as in any other branch of psychology.

          Train justice professionals and even members of the State security forces and corps it is very useful to have the best experts and specialists both in the field of justice and the prosecution and in the field of police, lawyers and prison professionals. And it also assists in the drafting of laws by offering relevant information to legislative branch entities.

          6. Social prevention campaigns

          The development of social prevention campaigns they are always carried out using techniques and knowledge based on scientific evidence and they are aimed at informing and educating the general population in various fields and important matters.

          These campaigns can be used to prevent crime in society or to address any issue that affects society as a whole.

          7. Victimology

          Victimology is a branch of legal psychology consisting in developing intervention plans to improve the situation of victims of all types and their interaction with the justice system.

          Greater knowledge in this area of ​​intervention and greater expenditure of public resources to have and train quality professionals will ensure that we have a justice system that is fairer and ready to deal with all types of problems for victims. of any crime.

          8. Mediation

          Mediation is another of the functions in which legal psychology professionals specialize. and it is one of the most demanded alternatives to traditional legal proceedings.

          Professionals must know how to find mediated solutions to conflicts of all kinds between people and also at the family or couple level.

            Do you want to train in Legal Psychology?

            If you want to specialize in this area, the Master in Legal and Forensic Psychology from European University it’s for you

            This training program available in 100% online format (with live lessons) will allow you to learn the theory and practice of the functions of the legal psychologist through a very comprehensive study plan developed over 12 months. At the end, you will obtain a title issued by the Universidad Europea de Madrid.

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