While most people believe that psychologists focus exclusively on mental health, criminal psychology actually goes one step further — it looks at why individuals commit crimes. This is different from clinical psychology which focuses more on helping you fix your emotional issues that may lead to crime.
Clinical psychology has been around for quite some time now, but criminal psychology came about much later. It was not until the early 20th century when criminal behavior started being studied in depth by professionals. Since then, there have been many developments in this field that continue to explore what factors contribute to someone who commits a crime.
Some of these factors include genetics, childhood experiences, socialization, family relationships, financial situations, substance use and abuse, as well as attitudes and behaviors related to violence. All of these things combine to form an individual’s personality type or “style.”
This style can either make someone feel comfortable enough to engage in risky behaviors like robbery or keep them safe-guarded and non-violent. Depending on where they develop their style, they could be good or bad. Some people are just born with a knack for taking risks while others are cautious by nature.
There are several professional organizations that offer certification for those who want to become qualified criminal psycholgists. There is even an organization that offers a degree program! So if you are already working in this field, you are already ahead of the game.
History of psychology
Historically, psychologists have studied how individuals relate to each other and understand themselves and society. This branch of psychology is sometimes referred to as social or interpersonal psychology. Some examples include studying why some people are good friends while others are not, how personality traits influence behavior, and what causes biases in perception and thinking.
Interpersonal relationships play an important role in our daily lives. For example, researchers study how colleagues interact with each other, how spouses meet challenges, and how parents raise children. In fact, many professionals (such as teachers, nurses, and police officers) rely heavily on their understanding of human nature when doing their jobs.
Criminal psychology, however, goes beyond exploring individual differences in normal people to explore those in criminals as well. Here, psychologists investigate whether criminal offenders are different from non-offenders before they committed their crimes and/or whether they show changes in their psychological make up due to experiencing violence or being victimized by someone else.
These studies can help us better understand the etiology (causes) of crime and suggest interventions that may prevent future offending.
A psychological test is a way to assess someone’s personality or mental state by asking them about their behaviors and responses to questions. These questions are usually designed to determine how people respond in certain situations, as well as what traits they possess.
Most of these tests have you read a short questionnaire and then evaluate your reactions to it. This evaluation can be done immediately after reading the questionnaire, or later depending on whether there is a follow up conversation with the person taking the test.
Some examples of this include the Myers-Briggs Test, The Enneagram Test, and the Temperament Tests. All three of these depend on you answering questionnaires and comparing yourself to others who took the same test.
Psychological testing was once considered an expensive tool for only professionals to use. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, it is now possible to take almost any test online for free!
What this means for you
It is important to remember that these tools are not diagnostic medical tests, but rather marketing strategies for identifying your personal tendencies and traits.
They may help identify potential risk factors for criminal behavior, or suggest ways to improve your emotional regulation. It could also tell us more about you than you realize!
For example, one study found that individuals who scored high on narcissism tended to commit violent crimes towards other people. Narcissists lack empathy and feel special because of their own abilities, which makes it easy to victimize others.
Types of psychologists
There are three main types of psychologist, or more specifically, there are different specialties within psychology that make up this field. These include clinical psychologists, forensic psychologists, and academic/theoretical psychologists.
Clinical psychologists work with individuals to overcome mental health issues or problems in their personal life. They are trained in things like counseling, psychotherapy, and related therapies.
Forensic psychologists focus primarily on helping people who have been accused of crimes. This may be through investigating suspects, potential witnesses, or gathering physical evidence.
Academic/Theoretical (or cognitive) psychologists look at how humans learn and apply knowledge to solve problems. Topics studied here may include learning theories, motivation, or creativity.
Ways to be a psychologist
Being a psychologist means more than just studying psychology. It takes a lot of education, training, and work outside of school to become a practicing professional psychologist. With that being said, there are several ways to pursue this career.
Most people begin their journey as an undergraduate student by completing either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. Both degrees require at least one year of study beyond the bachelors level which is called the pre-professional stage.
During the pre-professional stage, students are trained in basic psychological theory such as behaviorism, cognitive theories, socialization theory, etc. After students have learned about all these different areas, they are then taught how to apply those concepts in clinical practice. This is where most psychologists make their careers since they must establish relationships with clients to learn about their problems.
After becoming licensed, professionals can choose to focus on diagnostic related issues, treatment strategies, or both. Some specialties include forensic psychology (for criminal attorneys and judges), counseling (talking to individuals who suffer from mental health disorders), and psychotherapy (individualized treatments for personality disorder).
While some psychologists focus more on individual issues, such as depression or substance abuse, criminal psychological theory focuses on why people commit crimes. This area of psychology is called clinical psychology.
Clinical psychology looks at how personality traits influence behavior in harmful ways. For example, someone with antisocial tendencies may not be able to control their aggressive impulses.
Alternatively, individuals who suffer from narcissistic disorder may believe that they are too important to make decisions that could hurt them. Because of this, they can’t recognize when social norms have been violated and therefore don’t respond appropriately.
Given all these factors, it’s very likely that the person would eventually choose to act aggressively towards you, or even violently.
It is also important to note that while most psychologists agree that mental disorders play an important role in crime, there is no one cause for violence. People with psychiatric conditions are much less likely to reoffend than those without ones. However, researchers do find that untreated disorders often contribute to later violent acts.
Sometimes referred to as criminal sociology, criminal psychology is the study of why people commit crimes. This includes studying motivations for violent crime, studies that look into personality traits of criminals, and how offenders respond in a crisis situation.
While some experts consider this field to be separate from psychiatry because it does not focus on diagnosing mental conditions, most agree that understanding criminality is an important part of helping individuals recover and/or manage their emotional states.
Psychiatrists are sometimes limited in what they can do due to time constraints or lack of interest on the part of patients, while professionals in criminal psychology have longer hours and are more likely to interact with convicted felons.
Another area of criminal psychology is applied psychology, which focuses on how individuals with mental health conditions or problems influence others around them. For example, someone who suffers from depression may need help figuring out how to improve their mood before they can return to work.
People often times unconsciously pick up on these changes and use them as an excuse for poor performance or bad behavior. When this happens consistently, it can have a negative impact on those that depend on you.
This applies particularly well in professional settings, where employees can develop relationships and connections with other people outside of work. If there are signs that something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to ask about it!
We all have our secrets we hide, sometimes even ones we think we’ve dealt with. Checkout your coworker’s behavior and see if anything seems off – maybe she’s acting too friendly with you, she’s putting in more effort than usual, or she doesn’t seem like her normal self.
It might be difficult at first, but asking what’s going on could help you both determine the best way to move forward.
A field that focuses on applying psychological principles to solve criminal cases is forensic psychology. This branch of psychology looks at how personality traits, mental health conditions, and situational factors can influence crime.
Certain personality types are known to be associated with certain crimes. For example, people who show little respect for authority are more likely to commit violent acts like assault and murder. People who suffer from antisocial or narcissistic tendencies may feel entitled to take what they want because they believe they deserve it.
Individuals with these personality characteristics are also less likely to perceive negative consequences of their actions. When they do, they may be able to contain their aggressive behavior longer than someone with normal levels of empathy.
Psychologists use this information in court to determine whether someone was capable of controlling his or her anger before committing a crime. They also look into whether an individual has histories of violence or suicidal thoughts to assess risk.
Forensic psychologists are sometimes called “crime scientists” because they combine scientific methods such as statistics and research studies with insights drawn from psychology.