There are a lot of different opportunities in the world of psychiatry. How do you know what mental health professional job is for you? We’re here to help you find out, with today’s career spotlight on forensic psychiatry. If you have an interest in medicine as well as law, or you feel passionate about providing mental health care to those incarcerated or at risk, then forensic psychiatry may be right for you! Read on to learn more, and find job openings here with Psych Jobs Now!

What Is a Forensic Psychiatrist?

A forensic psychiatrist is involved in the assessment and treatment of defendants and offenders with mental disorders or suspected mental disorders. They provide treatment to patients at risk of harming themselves or others, as well as advise those involved in the legal system with cases involving someone with an alleged mental illness.

What They Do

Forensic psychiatrists assess people for their risk of harming others, particularly if they pose a risk of violence to their community, hospital staff, or prison staff. In regards to court cases, they can provide expert witness evidence to the courts on a number of issues, including whether or not a defendant is fit to stand trial, what psychiatric defenses are available, and what security measures they would recommend for a patient’s treatment.

The expertise of a forensic psychiatrist also applies beyond the courthouse to secure hospitals and prisons, and they offer advice to the teams staffing these organizations as well as related professionals like probation service. They can also offer advice to other health and social service professionals and help to assess and develop mental health care programs and facilities.

Where They Practice

The experience and understanding of a forensic psychiatrist is useful in a number of circumstances, and they can work in several different settings, including:

  • Specialized community centers
  • Prisons
  • Secure hospital environments
  • Courts

Who They Work With

The demographic of patients and colleagues a forensic psychiatrist works with differs widely from many other psychiatrists. They largely work with patients with legal restrictions, and as a result frequently work with other professionals involved in the legal and health care systems, such as:

  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • Hospital managers
  • Prison managers
  • Other mental health specialists

What You Need

Are you interested in becoming a forensic psychiatrist? Keep in mind that, unlike psychologists, psychiatrists are medical doctors, and therefore the requirements for this position are stringent. To become a forensic psychiatrist, you’ll need to complete:

  • Four years of medical school
  • Four years of residency training in psychiatry
  • Two years of specialized residency training in forensic psychiatry
  • Certification exams for psychiatry or forensic psychiatry

What You Should Know

Forensic psychiatrists perform an important service, caring for a portion of the population that is often particularly vulnerable and ostracized. The knowledge required to exceed in this position extends beyond medicine. Successful forensic psychiatrists will possess

  • An understanding of mental health, the law, and how they overlap
  • An ability to quickly and thoroughly assess a patient’s risk of harming themselves or others
  • A knowledge of how to efficiently limit the patient’s risk to themselves or others
  • The skill to work effectively with other agencies, including law enforcement
  • Knowledge of how laws apply to alleged offenders with suspected mental disorders

The field of forensic psychiatry is still growing, and further sub-specialties are being developed specifically for women, those with intellectual disabilities, and other populations.

Find Your Perfect Position With Psych Jobs Now!

Is forensic psychiatry the right fit for you? If you’re ready to find your perfect mental health professional job, create a profile on Psych Jobs Now today. We work with thousands of employers and help you make the right match with effective search functions and job alerts. Join our community today to take your first step toward your next job!