Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.

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Forensic psychotherapy is the application of psychological knowledge to the treatment of patients who have mental illnesses who commit violent acts against others or themselves involving both the conscious and unconscious motivations. Commonly applied diagnoses would include personality disorder and psychosis. The link between personality disorder and offending is not firmly established although many of those who commit offences have one or more personality disorders. The term forensic psychotherapy is usually associated with Psychodynamic psychotherapy, including group psychotherapy and the therapeutic community approach. Cognitive behavioral therapy is more commonly associated with the field of psychology, particularly Forensic Psychology. Forensic psychotherapists may collaborate with other professionals, such as physicians, social workers, and other psychologists to best serve the client’s needs and may work in various settings including prisons, inpatient settings, and outpatient settings. Forensic psychologists encompasses four types of work: clinical work, supervisory work, clinical meetings, and consultation. Guidelines have been set to ensure proficiency in the field of Forensic Psychology.

It has been difficult to illustrate a clear link between psychological interventions that successfully reduce the incidence of offending and those that do not and clearly nothing has led to the elimination of crime. At times this difficulty has contributed to a profound pessimism about the effectiveness of any form of treatment. This was particularly so in the United States of America but this pessimism regarding the effectiveness of treatment spread to the United Kingdom and arguably adversely affected the provision of rehabilitative treatments. The development of cognitive behavioural therapy which made it possible to demonstrate an effect upon some attitudes and offending behaviours and for this to be measured in controlled research studies led to the introduction of structured treatment programmes in prisons across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and more recently, mainland Europe. For a period there have been positive benefits in the provision of resources particularly in prison settings. However, there has been serious conflict as professionals compete for limited resources and one model claimed superiority over another.

It has remained difficult to establish with great certainty which methods, if any, are effective over a significant period of time. However psychodynamic forensic psychotherapy has been shown to have some effect as have Therapeutic Communities .

Forensic psychologists encompass four types of work. The first type, clinical work, includes providing assessment and treatment to clients both in an in individual setting and group setting. The second type, supervisory work, includes providing supervision to trainees and other mental health professionals. The third type, clinical meetings, include engaging in meetings, reviews, and conferences regarding patients and clients. The last type, consultation, includes providing information in a consultation to an institution.

Forensic psychologists are able to determine treatability, management, and risk assessment. Areas of concern include potential risk and confidentiality.

Forensic psychologists work in many locations. Forensic psychologists work in high security locations such as hospitals and prisons. Medium security settings include regional secure units. Minimal security settings are local forensic units. Non secure inpatient unites are residential communities and specialist in patient units. Non-secure out-patient units are non-residential therapeutic communities, day hospitals and specialist centres. Community settings are settings in which patients are managed by community forensic teams.

Most forensic patients have disturbed backgrounds. They often have minimal impulse control, therefore having criminal records. They do not respect authority. Forensic patients often exhibit deviant behavior socially and sexually. They often have a history of emotional deprivation. This may include abuse, neglect, and embarrassment. The crime is never condoned, but tried to be understood. Reasons for assessment must be clearly stated so as to not confuse the patient. Boundaries must be set immediately. Transference and countertransference are likely to occur while working with forensic patients. It is vital to distinguish between offenders who have a mental illness and offenders who do not…..