In the process of criminal investigation law enforcement agencies occasionally use a forensic hypnotist to help witnesses to a crime recall facts they did not remember without hypnosis.
The field of forensic hypnosis is severely limited due to objections raised by the legal community and the inadmissibility of evidence in a court of law collected while the witness is in a hypnotic state.
In some states forensic hypnosis falls under the same category of admissibility as polygraph examinations. This is a highly specialized technique which requires specific precautions to protect the information retrieved and the ability to accurately evaluate whether the use of hypnosis is appropriate for the circumstances of a particular case.
Prior to using hypnosis law enforcement may discuss the matter with a certified forensic psychologist or psychiatrist to decide if the situation might be better served through a cognitive interview process. This is an attempt at reconstructing an event without hypnosis with the goal of bringing facts out that were not previously recalled.
Forensic Hypnotist Requirements
The forensic area is a specialized field in hypnosis. You must be well versed on the history of hypnosis and the various levels of induction, deepening tactics, and procedures for emerging the witness or victim. Basic forensic training is available through only a few approved training programs. These are not standard academic programs but usually consist of a few days to a week of training classes and seminars.
The training focuses on the forensic aspects of this career. There are a significant number of training facilities that teach hypnosis while the forensic training focuses on the investigative process, legal aspects, and the organization of an investigative review performed on a subject under hypnosis.
Classes include instruction in memory retrieval techniques, informational listening, and pitfalls that may be encountered upon a judicial review of information recovered through hypnosis.
This advanced forensics training will teach even seasoned hypnosis experts new techniques of memory recovery and also focus on working with law enforcement and attorneys.
Forensic Hypnotist Training and Education
Forensic hypnosis is investigative hypnosis and varies in application from the more common therapeutic hypnosis we most commonly think of. The hypnotic sessions are conducted with witnesses present and usually recorded with audio and visual equipment.
Where applicable, you will learn to present your interview results in court where you will describe the procedures used, the purpose for them and the results generated.
At times you may also be called as an expert witness to evaluate an interview conducted by another forensic hypnotist.
Forensic Hypnotist Salary
The position of forensic hypnotist is most often a consulting position. Hypnotherapists in private practice may obtain training in forensics and offer their services to law enforcement and attorneys.
They are usually paid at a rate higher than their standard private practice hourly fee and payment may include travel expenses and a per diem. Fees are also paid for time spent in court as an expert witness.
Forensic Hypnotist Career Opportunities
The field of forensic hypnosis is limited and most that opt to work in this area have significant experience in therapeutic hypnosis and may have a thriving private practice.
The times when they are called upon as a witness or to conduct investigative interviews provide a valuable service to the legal community and to the victims of crime.
Consulting as a forensic hypnotist can also result in interesting and challenging work.
Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.