Dr. Dana Anderson - Forensic Psychology Is Often Misinterpreted as Solely Involving the Profiling of Criminals Particularly Serial Killers (Forensic Psychologist)

Witnessing a strong female lead in a male-dominated field challenged societal norms and mirrored the obstacles I faced within my own patriarchal upbringing.

1. Can you share your personal and professional background with us?

Jodie Foster's performance in "Silence of the Lambs" profoundly influenced my path to forensic psychology. Witnessing a strong female lead in a male-dominated field challenged societal norms and mirrored the obstacles I faced within my own patriarchal upbringing. This sparked a fascination with forensic science and forensic psychology. Foster's depiction reinforced the powerful notion of using one's intellect as a lever for equity, a principle that has become the bedrock of my vocation.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career in forensic psychology?

My formative years were shadowed by poverty and domestic violence. Amidst that turmoil, I believed that knowledge would be my strength, providing the power to intervene and the understanding to change circumstances. My quest for understanding was not merely academic—it was a means of survival.

3. What misconceptions do people commonly hold about forensic psychology?

Forensic psychology is often misinterpreted as solely involving the profiling of criminals, particularly serial killers. However, this is only a small facet of the discipline. In reality, forensic psychology spans various legal domains, such as civil, family, child protective services, and immigration law. My professional responsibilities are diverse, ranging from evaluating competency to stand trial, determining if a defendant was insane at the time of the offense, as well as child custody evaluations and being appointed as an expert witness in civil cases.

4. What is the pathway to becoming a forensic psychologist?

To become a forensic psychologist, you need a doctorate in psychology (a Ph.D. or Psy.D.) with specialized training in forensic psychology. This includes internships, predoctoral, and postdoctoral fellowships focused on forensic work. Licensure as a psychologist is also required, which involves passing multiple examinations and fulfilling state-specific requirements. To pursue a career as a forensic psychologist, I recommend downloading my guide on "HOW TO BECOME A FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST," available for free download with the code: KILLER PSYCHOLOGIST.

5. Do you have any advice for individuals aspiring to work in forensic psychology?

For those drawn to forensic psychology, I recommend starting with general psychology coursework and volunteer work or internships within the criminal justice system to gain experience and see if this path is right for you. If you are inspired to become a forensic psychologist, I invite you to listen to my podcast, "Killer Psychologist," where I delve into case studies and discuss the integral role of a forensic psychologist.

6. Is it possible to achieve a balance between work and personal life in this field?

In my experience, achieving work-life balance is crucial and requires deliberate effort, starting with setting boundaries. The nature of forensic psychology can be emotionally taxing and demanding, making it essential to prioritize self-care and personal time. Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is essential to preventing burnout. I schedule time each week for yoga, sauna, gym, time with friends, and going for walks. Self-care is the key to success.

Practicing self-care has unlocked my creativity and playfulness. It has enabled me to reinvent myself into the hero I admired in films. Now, I serve as a television consultant for true crime documentaries. By setting boundaries on my work hours, I've given myself space to envision and chase ambitions that extend beyond my professional life. Dreaming is vital. My aspiration is to host my own true crime series and to both act in and produce a sequel to "Silence of The Lambs" alongside Jodie Foster.


Dr. Dana Anderson is a forensic psychologist.

Interviewed by - Ashmeet Kaur

Edited by- Arunangshu Chatterjee