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

Career Information

Since uploading this website I have received a large number of requests from UK and North American students wishing to pursue a career in forensic psychology, in clinical psychology, or both. Whilst I didn’t set out to provide career info, there clearly is a need. This page is an attempt to give broad information and to provide links which might be helpful. I will endeavour to keep the information up to date. However, it would help me greatly if you could e-mail me about broken links, changes of site etc. Also, if you know of other quality sites not mentioned here then let me know and I will include them for the benefit of others. Thanks.





Which Psychology Specialty?

For information about careers in psychology in the UK, and the differing specialist areas of practice, see the British Psychological Society [BPS] careers page - www.bps.org.uk/careers/careers_home.cfm. See my What's Forensic page for a description of forensic, clinical and forensic clinical psychology specialties.

In the US the American Psychological Association [APA] lists all Divisions, and information can be gained from each Division’s homepage - www.apa.org/about/division.html. Margaret Lloyd's pages on the Psychweb site give info for US students on many branches of applied psychology - see www.psychwww.com/careers/index.htm

The Canadian Psychological Association [CPA] has details on psychology careers - www.cpa.ca/public/

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Clinical Psychology

In the UK clinical psychologists are mainly employed in the health service, though some work in Social Services settings. The British Psychological Society [BPS] is the professional body for UK psychologists, and within the BPS the Division of Clinical Psychology [DCP] provides accreditation for professional practice. All clinical psychologists now need to complete 3 years postgraduate training on an accredited doctorate course to practice, though psychologists who qualified some years ago will have done so with a Masters degree. There are a number of UK postgraduate training courses in clinical psychology. For up-to-date information see the BPS postgraduate courses page - www.bps.org.uk/careers/careers_home.cfm and the website for the Clearing House for Postgraduate courses in Clinical Psychology - www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp. The Clearing House site lists all courses, details of entry requirements and application timetable.

The Alternative Handbook for UK training courses in clinical psychology is published annually by the DCP Affiliates Group. For the latest edition search the BPS website www.bps.org.uk using 'DCP Affiliates' in the search field

In the US clinical psychologists are required to complete an accredited doctorate before practising. The American Psychological Association [APA] sets program standards. For further information see the APA’s Society of Clinical Psychology page - http://www.apa.org/about/division/div12.html. For a list of doctoral programs see http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/doctoral.html

In Canada registration standards vary according to province, either Masters or Doctorate, and there is no specific licensing for each psychology specialty. The Canadian Psychological Association [CPA] lists accredited doctoral programs in clinical psychology at www.cpa.ca/accreditation/. Also, Uni of Calgary has an FAQ page on clinical training - www.psych.ucalgary.ca/undergraduate/careers

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Forensic Psychology

In the UK forensic psychologists are employed primarily within the Prison Service, though increasingly forensic practitioners can be found in private practice, and some work alongside their clinical colleagues in secure psychiatric units and hospitals.

The British Psychological Society [BPS] is the professional body for UK psychologists, and within the BPS the Division of Forensic Psychology [DFP] provides accreditation for professional practice. Psychologists wishing to seek chartered status are required to complete the BPS Diploma in Forensic Psychology. The diploma is in two stages: the first stage is by examination and candidates can seek exemption from this stage if they complete an accredited MSc in Forensic Psychology. The second stage requires 2 years supervised practice. For details see the Division of Forensic Psychology training page dfp.bps.org.uk/dfp/dfp_home.cfm

For information on accredited forensic courses, see the BPS careers page - www.bps.org.uk/careers/careers_home.cfm

Information on careers in forensic psychology within HM Prison Service can be accessed on www.justice.gov.uk/jobs/prisons

I can't comment with the same degree of experience on forensic psychology in North America. In the US there are a number of sub-specialties within forensic work, and psychologists from clinical, developmental, cognitive or social backgrounds may be involved in forensic practice. Within the American Psychological Association [APA] the appropriate division for forensic work is the American Psychology-Law Society, which offers a comprehensive overview of US forensic psychology - www.ap-ls.org/. You can also access this site from www.apa.org/about/division.html/

In Canada forensic psychologists typically work in prisons and correctional settings [as in the UK], and also in community rehabilitation. The Canadian Psychological Association’s [CPA] Criminal Justice Section offers links to relevant websites - www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/cpasections/criminaljusticepsychology/

For further information on forensic psychology see:
David Willshire's site - members.optushome.com.au/dwillsh/index.html
David Swenson’s site - http://faculty.css.edu/dswenson/web/FORENSIC.HTM
Psychologyinfo - http://psychologyinfo.com/forensic/

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Forensic Clinical Psychology

In the UK most forensic clinical psychologists have trained initially in clinical psychology then specialised in forensic work. However, some forensic psychologists offer forensic programmes within a clinical setting, and this can be a route to gain clinical accreditation via the British Psychological Society [BPS] procedures for registered academic and supervised practice in the workplace, ie. a statement of equivalence. The majority of forensic clinical psychologists work within forensic mental health settings, often in secure psychiatric services and in the community managing risk amongst mentally disordered offenders. Forensic teaching on clinical doctorate courses varies. Thus, if you are interested in a career in the forensic specialty and seeking clinical training you may want to enquire about the forensic teaching component offered by courses and about opportunities for forensic placements before making your application choices.

In the US the term used is clinical-forensic psychology. Like the UK, many clinical-forensic psychologists work with mentally disordered offenders. They typically qualify as clinical psychologists first then specialise in forensic work. Many are certified by the American Board of Forensic Psychology - www.abfp.com/. I gather some clinical doctorate programs offer specialty training in clinical-forensic psychology. See the American Psychology-Law Society careers page for more details - www.unl.edu/ap-ls/careers.htm

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Criminal Profiling

As a result of increased media portrayal there appears to be wider interest in profiling. In the UK profiling is a highly specialised area [though not necessarily viewed positively by other applied psychologists]. Celebrity psychological profilers are experienced individuals from forensic-clinical or academic research backgrounds, and there is no acknowledged route for gaining profiler status.

In the US, the American Psychology-Law Society states that few law enforcement agencies employ profiling, and the Society recommends that people interested in a profiling career should consider employment within a law enforcement agency rather than as a clinical-forensic psychologist. See www.unl.edu/ap-ls/careers.htm or consult the Society's student section

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P s y c h o l e g a l


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Information:
What's Forensic
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Journal list
Links

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