Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system.  The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held.  Today forensic refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where scientists with specialized knowledge play a role.

As in many professions, Specialty Board Certification in Forensic Psychology signifies that an individual has met the established standards for the profession as maintained and protected by an organization that the field recognizes for that role.  The organization entrusted with that role regarding board certification in Forensic Psychology is the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), which attests that the certified professional possesses a high level of professional competence in the specialty area.  The Forensic Psychology Specialist has been found to have the ability to articulate clearly the theoretical, ethical, and legal foundations for his or her work in forensic psychology.

The ABPP certificate has been recognized by judicial decisions, regulations, and statutes in some jurisdictions as the standard of professional competence in forensic psychology.

Board Certification in Forensic Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is one of only two post-doctoral specialty certifications recognized in the American Psychological Association Directory. ABPP has been incorporated since 1947.  It has a rigorous standard for credential and practice sample review, which culminates with a three-hour oral examination by three ABFP board-certified forensic psychologists in two primary areas of forensic practice as exemplified by the practice samples.  No candidates are exempt from the examination or “grandfathered.”

The general requirements for the awarding of the certificate of Forensic Psychology are: 
  1. Satisfactory completion of the credential review process, written examination, oral examination, and vote by the Board to accept the candidate into membership; and
  2. Absence of prior conduct by the candidate that in the opinion of the Board indicates serious ethical misconduct or unlawful behavior incompatible with the standards of high competence expected for board certification. 
The Candidate also has an affirmative duty to notify the Board during the pendency of his or her candidacy if allegations of serious ethical misconduct or unlawful behavior have been lodged against the Candidate.