There have been many books written about the risks of forensic psychology. And, most of these highlight the ethical issues connected with forensic psychology. Some books state that these psychologists end up misleading judges and juries all for money.
No doubt if something like this is mentioned, it can cast a shadow over forensic psychology and its ethics. With high profile cases being covered by the media where one psychoexpert is pitted against another, it is easy for lay people to believe that forensic psychology's only motivation is money where the expert is reduced to talking for the attorney's client. Otherwise nothing else can explain why two experts have opposing views on the same issue.
All psychologists have to abide by the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct, published by the American Psychological Association. The other document that they follow is the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologist that was published in 1991. However, ethical quandary is something forensic psychologists should be aware of as the very practice of this field of psychology can cause ethical conflicts.
An attorney is bound by ethical standards laid down by the legal profession where he has to fight for the best interests of his client. This could also means coaching the client how to perform in a psychological test. However, this can conflict with the forensic psychologist's need to be objective and scientific. Therefore, a forensic psychologist should not coach an examinee on how to answer psychological tests.
Communication between the forensic psychologist and the attorney is the only way to avoid misunderstandings and conflict of interest. And forensic psychologists should agree that one of the biggest risks of forensic psychology is ethical dilemma. When confronted with ethical issues, a psychologist should consult his colleagues and approach the American Psychological Association for guidance.
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