A forensic psychiatrist is a psychiatrist who is trained in mental health and law. Forensic psychiatrist uses the mental health knowledge to assist the lawyers and juries the during court trials. Forensic psychiatrists are different from forensic psychologists. As psychiatrists are referred to as medical doctors who can prescribe medicine, while a psychologist cannot prescribe medicine. Usually, a forensic psychiatrist will require him to do additional training in the mental disorders. They will learn in a better way to diagnose and treat different mental disorders in the criminals.
The basic duty of this kind of psychiatrist is to be completely fair. He or she must analyze the facts and the mental state of the criminal and report to the lawyer when asked for it. If the lawyer thinks that the findings are useful, then the psychiatrist will be asked to give evidence to the court.
There are three ways that these forensic psychiatrists help the societies by testing the mental health of the defendant and his personality.
The first test that they conduct is of personality inventories. In this category of test, the personality type of the defendant is revealed. This might consist of behaviors, attitudes and thought process of the defendant. These tests are basic tests and are definitely reliable. With the help of such tests, a forensic psychiatrist can reveal disorders like obsessions, compulsions and other disorders. These tests reveal the basic personality of the criminals and help the psychiatrist understand his condition. If his findings are useful, then they can be used in the courtroom to determine that whether he has actually done the crime or not.
The second test is Projective testing. This test category is made to analyze the thought process of the defendant. This type of test is not a basic test and provides more subjectivity compared to personality inventories. A forensic psychiatrist uses this test to peep into the mind of the criminal and to check that how does he see himself and the entire world. in projective testing, three sorts of tests are used by the psychiatrists. The first is Thematic Apperception Test in which the psychiatrist shows pictures to the defendant. The photographs are of common situations. The defendant is then asked to imagine a story that coincides with the images. The other test is projective drawing in which the defendant creates drawings by his own and then the drawings are analyzed. This way, the fantasies of the defendant is revealed. The third test conducted in projective testing is Rorschach test. In this test, the defendant is asked to look at different inkblots and then is asked to tell what he is seeing. The way he describes the images will tell a lot about the psyche he has and this will be useful in the courtroom. .
The third way they help the societies is by conducting cognitive and intellectual testing of the defendant. In this test, they are able to determine the intelligence and mental competency of the defendant.