The Media Portrayal Of Forensic Psychologists


Some of the most popular television shows, novels, and movies have to do with fictionalized crime and the people who solve those cases. It’s nearly impossible to change the channel today without stumbling across some type of show that involves forensic sciences and police work. Of course, one of the things that you have to wonder is just how accurate these programs are. Does pop culture media have all – or any – of the facts right? You can probably imagine the answer. First, let’s look at how popular media will often portray forensic psychologists, and then we will look at the truth behind those jobs.

What Does Pop Culture Tell You about Forensic Psychology?
Who are some of the most popular forensic psychologists inhabiting fictional worlds today? One of the most famous, who has been around for decades and who has a new movie out is James Patterson’s Alex Cross. Most of the characters from Criminal Minds are criminal profilers, and there is Lance Sweets from Bones. These are just a few of the many psychologists and profilers in pop culture today, but you can glean quite a bit of information from them when it comes to portrayal of forensic psychology in the media.

You will see that reality and good fiction do not always merge. For example, in television and books, the forensic psychologist is often going to be out in the field tracking down murderers and getting in harm’s way. This is not often the case in real life. One of the characters that, until recently, was portrayed more like a real psychologist was Sweets on Bones. Over the course of the last couple of seasons, they’ve started to give him more action-oriented roles, along with authorization to carry a gun. It may be possible in some cases, such as working as a part of the FBI as a profiler, to carry a weapon, but it was something that seemed out of the norm for the character. It still does provide good entertainment value though.

What’s Life Like for the Real Psychologists?
If you are a forensic psychologist, does this mean that you are going to be out and chasing down all of those serial killers out there? Not likely. In fact, the majority of the work that you are going to be doing will be right in your own office or in a clinical setting. After all, psychology is the work of the mind, so there is no need to go traipsing through a dilapidated building on the hunt for a cannibal. Chances are that you will never have to deal with a serial killing cannibal in your career either! Some of the work may be with the police where you are offering to help interview suspects, or where you can help to narrow a suspect pool. You would work in a clinical setting, or you might even work in the court system, as many forensic psychologists do.

However, that’s not to say that you aren’t going to have an exciting career. You are still going to be working on a number of fascinating cases that will give you better insight into the human mind.

Getting Your Degree
Today, you can get a degree in forensic psychology online, and it’s a good career path for you to follow. You will find a number of different job opportunities available, and you will be able to find interesting work that suits your skills. It is a secure job and it pays well. It even provides interesting and mentally stimulating work. Getting a degree is a surefire winner for many.

Anita Schepers provides advice and information on how to get a forensic psychology degree online at

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