Why Do Psychiatrists Analyze Sociopaths and Antisocials?

Reader’s Question

I want to know why Psychiatrists interview/analyze sociopaths/antisocial personality disorder. I thought a Forensic Psychologist would also do it. Can you give me any answer? Sorry about my English.

Psychologist’s Reply

There are many areas of psychology and psychiatry practice. Clinical and Counseling Psychologists as well as Psychiatrists are often required to evaluate, interview, and examine antisocial personalities as part of their community practice. When in private practice, we are often asked to provide these assessments for a variety of community agencies, including the courts. We also encounter sociopaths and antisocial personalities when working with families or victims of antisocial behavior such as child/spouse abuse. We are trained to conduct these assessments as part of our educational training as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

A Forensic Psychologist or Psychiatrist practices their profession with an emphasis on the legal/court system. As part of that legal/court work, they often examine and evaluate antisocial/criminal personalities and testify in court regarding their findings. A Forensic professional has many other court roles such as being an Expert Witness regarding criminal behavior, being a consultant to the court, working with an attorney in jury selection, and providing testimony in civil litigation.

A Correctional Psychologist or Psychiatrist works in the prison/correctional system and provides evaluations for inmates, parole, or reclassification. They may also be involved in specific treatment programs within the prison system. A Correctional Psychologist is typically employed full-time by the correctional facility, while Forensic Psychologists/Psychiatrists are typically in private practice.

When we think about which professional completes the evaluation, it often involves the size of the community. In smaller communities with few psychologists and psychiatrists, the general practice professional provides legal/court consultation as part of his/her routine practice. In much larger communities or major cities, you will often find a few professionals who have focused their practice in the area of forensics and have obtained additional training in that area.

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