Past victimization, previous offending, psychopathology, aggression, being male: Which of these variables might be the best predictor of future violent (re)offending?
And which variables might increase the chance of (re)victimization? How can interventions help to prevent crime? How can victims of violence and crime overcome their victimization?
If you are intrigued by questions about the psychology of violence and crime, and you are not satisfied with easy answers, consider entering the Master's degree programme 'Clinical Forensic Psychology and Victimology'. In this programme we aim to understand acts of violence and crime from both the victims' and the offenders' perspective.
You will gain a theoretical insight into the correlates of violence and crime and their consequences. Moreover you will acquire practical skills to enable you to assess and intervene in both offender and victim contexts. Our unique integrative approach aims to highlight the many psychological nuances between the black-and-white of the victim and offender dichotomy.
I am going to work at the psychiatry department of a military hospital
I started thinking about doing Forensic Psychology in the second year of my bachelor. To see what it is like to work in this field, I did an internship in a prison in Germany in the summer for six weeks.
I did intakes and interviewed prisoners about their attitude towards their crimes and prison time. In the beginning it was quite hard, the offenders did not really like to talk about their crimes and many rejected counselling, but as time went on it became easier and I really liked it, so I decided to apply for the master.
The master is interesting. Next to theory courses, we also had a lot of practical seminars. There was a professional actor who would play offenders. We would interview him in front of the class. Afterwards we got feedback from the teacher and classmates. It was really great to work with him and after each session I had the feeling I was better prepared for the job.
Now I am finishing my thesis (which is only 11 credits) and I am about to start my internship (19 credits). This time I will not work with offenders, but with people who lived through terrible experiences. I am going to work at the psychiatry department of a military hospital, with many patients being soldiers suffering from PTSD, but also civilian patients and victims of crime. I am very excited but I feel quite prepared after the master. Of course, I am going to make mistakes, but that is okay; I will learn a lot.
A great thing about this master was the small amount of students, only 23. Everyone knew everyone, also the teachers knew everyone by name. There was a great atmosphere, I made friends and the teachers were very good. We also had guest lectures from experts in the field, for example from a psychotherapist who worked in the forensic field for more than 10 years. It was very interesting to listen to them, because they knew what they were talking about.
Martin Kansy, (Bonn, Germany)
I wrote my thesis about filicide, the deliberate act of parents killing their own offspring.
The 'Clinical Forensic Psychology and Victimology' master was a new and fascinating experience. It helped me to get a more practical sense and deeper knowledge of the topic of 'Clinical Forensic Psychology'. I consider the study programme a solid foundation for the practical work with offenders.
After the master, I will do postgraduate psychotherapy training for three years. Thereafter, I intend to start my own practice and work as a criminal therapist.
My favourite aspect of the course was the clinical skills training we had with an actor. We were able to apply the theory we learned in all of the courses and we received a first-hand experience on how to apply it, whilst getting feedback from the instructors. To me, this was very helpful and eye opening. Moreover, I liked the motivational interview parts, where we learned about a new technique, which I think is very important in the field of clinical forensic psychology.
I wrote my thesis about filicide, the deliberate act of parents killing their own offspring. I reflected on the psychopathology of these people, predisposing factors, underlying motives, methods of killings, gender differences and how they dealt with their crime in terms of grief processes. Furthermore, available interventions and preventative strategies were highlighted. Whilst working on my thesis, I did an internship in a prison during which I did group therapy sessions with sexual and violent offenders.