Forensic Psychology Professional Wellness – Coursework Example

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY (Professional Wellness – a final project) ID Number: of of University (affiliation)
Location of University:
Word Count: 332 (text only)
Date of Submission: July 30, 2014
The job of a forensic psychologist is indeed very demanding and challenging, taking in account the requirements to fulfill the task satisfactorily that meets legal and professional requirements. It is also mentally and emotionally draining such that forensic psychologists are in danger of burn-out. It is necessary for the mental health professional to maintain a sense of right perspective and balance between a professional job and personal life to avoid burn-out and also be able to render unimpaired professional functioning (Barnett et al., 2007, p. 603). A constant exposure to the travails of forensic psychology places the professional in the front lines of crime, death, and dark sides of humanity that any professional will sometimes question the value of life itself, which is a clear warning sign of de-sensitized feelings (Arrigo & Shipley, 2005, p. 105).
There is indeed a real danger of the forensic psychologist to succumb to the demands of a job that requires the utmost in terms of devotion, academic requirements, and professionalism. This is why even the American Psychological Association (APA) advises its members regularly to put a premium on self-care before bad things happen to them. Two basic self-care strategies are seeking professional support from colleagues and taking a long vacation or a sabbatical. The viewing of crime scene photos and police records detailing gruesome crimes committed exposes a forensic psychologist to occupational vulnerability (Saakvitne & Pearlman, 1996, p. 23).
There are clear risk factors for psychologists who worked with patients who suffered in pain, trauma, and abuse (physical, mental, and sexual) as they give analysis and advice. There is often a sense of empathy and forensic psychologists (in particular those who perform forensic psychological autopsies) can end up being changed, no matter how careful. A good antidote for this is self-awareness by recognizing the signs and symptoms of distress (Figley et al., 2013, p. 144). APA itself has created an action plan for this purpose for its members (APA, 2014, p. 66).
References
American Psychological Association (APA). (2014, April). “Self-care resources for psychologists.” Retrieved July 29, 2014 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/self-care.aspx
Arrigo, B. A. & Shipley, S. L. (2005). Introduction to forensic psychology: Issues and controversies in law, law enforcement, and corrections (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA, USA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Barnett, J. E, Baker, E. K., Elman, N. S., & Schoener, G. R. (2007, December). “In pursuit of wellness: The self-care imperative.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38(6), 603-612.
Figley, C., Huggard, P., & Rees, C. (2013). First do no self harm: Understanding and promoting physician stress resilience. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Saakvitne, K. W. & Pearlman, L. A. (1996). Transforming the pain: A workbook on vicarious traumatization. New York, NY, USA: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated.
Due: July 30, 2014 @ 8:36 a.m.