Hello future psychologist and psychiatrists! I too aspire to be a mental health professional, and have spent countless hours of research to develop my skills! I have created a few psychological profiles on a few key infamous figures, my proudest of these being on Charles Cullen a.k.a the angel of death. I hope to teach you a skill useful in any research based assignment and that will help you in your career assisting those needed guidance in their struggles. Enjoy!
Step 1: Gathering the Tools for Success
First things first, we need our materials! I recommend a laptop that is both speedy and efficient, using a document program such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word, knowledge of the criteria we use to evaluate a subject, and the subject! Mental preparation may also be necessary, depending on the subject you are profiling. Remember, serial killers and murders are interesting, but also have a lasting affect on ones psych. You may find yourself traveling down one dark rabbit hole, so it is important to find partners to help you stay grounded in reality! Remember to see these people for what they are and have done, do not attach emotionally to remain professional, and have fun!
Step 2: Start Your Research!
Research can be a drawn out and boring process, but that's when you know your not researching the right topic. I have never had a boring research session when the topic was psychology. In fact, i have spent most of my senior year researching new psychological studies for fun! Whether this is a project for fun or for school, one key part of research is important. Know the details your supposed to research. The following steps will not only help you familiarize with what is inside a profile, but will also show you the details you must look into. The final thing to remember in researching a topic, especially one you love, is to look under every rock, turn over every rug, email every author who wrote the book on what your researching. You will be surprised on who will reply, and what info that no one else could find, but you did.
Step 3: Identify Your Reason for Creating Your Profile and Your Sources
Since this is at the beginning of the paper, it would be impossible to know all of your sources, but keep in mind it can be a working document. Keep adding sources no matter how irrelevant it seams to your profile. You never know when it can point you to a diagnosis, or fill in a blank. Just remember, anytime you dig into someones personal life, although it may be public, to be careful and respectful. Save your sources, document reasons a person might be referred to you as a mental health professional, and again, be safe and smart!
Step 4: Research Your Subject
When making a psychological profile you need a subject. The more media or information on the subject, the better. Keep in mind, if you know the subject, you must keep this professional. Even though it's possible you have bias or even knowledge about the subjects activities, you must remain professional. Any new information should be logged as unbiased as possible. You need to first present a current concert. This is like the reason for referral, but your professional opinion on why you are concerned with the patient, which credits your need to create a profile and diagnose the subject. Then you need to research the background history. Key subjects include: Pregnancy and birth history, developmental history ( 7 months to 9 years old), childhood medical history, high school/teen years information, and adult life movement. Next you will want to research the subjects family, any previous history of mental illness, preexisting conditions, birth and death places, unusual deaths, abuse conditions, ect. You will literal be digging through a persons family baggage, but this will necessary in determining the subjects possible psychosis. Then you'll want to find any information on previous evaluations. Compile all this new information and the put it together on your word document.
Step 5: Research Your Subject Part 2
And now for the fun part of the profile research; Behavior Observations! This is the part of the profile where you go through the subjects life and find reports and articles describing his/her behavior at every critical point in their life. First find the reasons your subject has been tested in the past, and record them. Then proceed to record all the data found on behavior in their home life, school life, military life, secondary education, and work life. Record grades, major behavior tests, any significant behavior issues, any point where there was abuse or abusive behavior, any time subject was bullied, or any other anomaly. Remember, as long as you provide evidence, any information is useful!
Step 6: Type Up Your Diagnosis and the Results of Your Research!
You have put in the work, now finish the job! You have unlimited resources at your finger tips. By now, you know your subject better than they know them selves! You have the tools to diagnose their psychosis and in special cases, the type of murderer they were. The key in this step, is to be specific, provide evidence for diagnosis, and if necessary, present further evidence if you are contradicting another report. Remember, if your subject is a high profile target, do not take the medias diagnosis. Make your own! Use your research to explain why you have picked this diagnosis, and offer treatments you have researched to help support the family or help the patient.
Step 7: Check for Accuracy and Publish