Forensic psychiatrists are professionals who often have to deal with mental issues of the strongest nature. They specifically deal with patients who are potentially dangerous to others and will need to treat them with utmost care and supervision.

They would also work alongside justice professionals to help treat patients, such as the police, probation officers and prison services. A forensic psychiatrist would work in settings such as high-security hospitals, prisons and community forensic settings, and would need to have extensive knowledge of psychological issues.

They would also need to have an excellent understanding of the criminal justice system. Forensic psychiatrists will often work as part of a team of professionals from differing disciplines, including social workers and medical staff.

Work activities

  • Work in settings such as prisons and high security hospitals.
  • Work with an array of professionals.
  • Assess the risk patients would pose if released.
  • Collate information about the patient and keep records up-to-date.
  • Diagnose the mental problems of patients and recommend a course of action to overcome them.
  • Deal with issues such as anger, violence and help patients to change their lives when released back into society.
  • Work with patients over a long period of time in order to ensure they are better and safe to be released.
  • Maintain communication with other psychologists and justice professionals.
  • Work with patients of a dangerous nature.
  • Deal with complex psychological concepts.
  • Help patients to understand their mental difficulties.
  • Build and maintain an interpersonal relationship with clients.
  • Maintain study in order to gain knowledge of any new psychological concepts and advances.
  • Report on patient state of mind in relation to court proceedings.
  • Prescribe medication.

Essential skills

  • Leadership skills.
  • Able to remain confidential to a certain extent when dealing with patients.
  • Trustworthy when prescribing medication.
  • Ability to represent patients at hearings and other justice meetings.
  • Not scared of dealing with sometimes vicious and cruel people.
  • Sound knowledge of psychological issues and the criminal justice system.
  • Able to relate to patients but also keep a distance between you and them.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills.
  • Professional manner and attention to detail.
  • Able to work as an individual and as part of a team.
  • Willingness to work in dangerous environments.
  • A desire to help people overcome their mental issues.