Category Archives: Law

Proper and Improper Uses of Therapists in Child Custody and Access Disputes

The Family Court and attorneys regularly assign community therapists to provide information concerning a child’s visitation. Apparently judges and attorneys think that is what therapists are there for. These assignments usually involve reimbursement by a third party payor (i.e., health insurance). This practice blurs the lines between clinical and forensic roles, often involves therapists who […]

APA Torture Investigation Final Report

Attached in PDF and shown below is the complete text of the REPORT TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: INDEPENDENT REVIEW RELATING TO APA ETHICS GUIDELINES, NATIONAL SECURITY INTERROGATIONS, AND TORTURE, dated July 2, 2015.  

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) — a method for de-biasing forensic decision making

I recently attended a three day workshop on school, campus, and workplace threat assessment and became acquainted with ACH. It is a methodology developed by the CIA and is used to consider evidence when factors are complex or ambiguous. Given the many factors that can influence forensic decision making, including examiner decision thresholds, cost of […]

United States v. Olhovsky, 562 F.3d530 (3rd Cir. 2009): Treating clinicians vs. expert witnesses

Interesting court decision reviewed in the latest Journal of the American Academyc of Pyschiatry and the Law (39, 1, 2011, pp. 119-120). The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that not subpoenaing the treating psychologist at sentencing was reversible error. The treating psychologist is a fact, not expert witness. “The case illustrates the weight that […]

PICTS: Criminal Cognitions and Psychopathy

Abstract: An Exploration of the Relationship Between Criminal Cognitions and Psychopathy in a Civil Psychiatric Sample, Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol December 2010 vol. 54 no. 6 865-877. The relationship between psychopathy and thinking styles that support and maintain a criminal lifestyle is examined using the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV; Hart, Cox, & […]

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

Encounters behind bars between Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering and an American doctor 65 years ago raise questions about responsibility, allegiance and the nature of evil Excerpt from Scientific American Mind: January 2011: “In the aftermath of World War II, American psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley worked closely with captured Nazis as their general physician and […]

PTSD and Malingering: Practice Pointers

There appears to be a dramatic split among mental health professionals who write primarily from a treatment or plaintiff perspective and those who take a more skeptical approach. This article by Steve Rubenzer reviews recent developments in the assessment of malingering, including symptom validity measures, and applies them to the assessment of PTSD. Recommendations for current practice are provided.

More on Validity Scales

The issue of validity scales and their use in psychological assessments, especially in situations where “situational demands” are intense (e.g., child custody, child welfare, employee selection) has really gotten my attention. Here is a proposal we are submitting for a presentation next March in Boston. Symposium Proposal–Society for Personality Assessment Annual Meeting–Boston, MA March 2011 […]

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Today’s (Saturday, 10/2/2010) Honolulu Star-Bulletin (p. A5) announces a major conference on parental alienation syndrome (PAS), being held this weekend in NYC (www.cspas.ca). As you may be aware there is an effort underway to place PAS into the DSM-V.  There are no cases that a forensic psychologist is likely to encounter, even grisly homicides, that are […]

Work in progress: Self-report Validity Indicators

Over the years, as my psychological assessment work transformed from primarily clinical to primarily forensic, we began to notice the impact on self-report validity scales (L, K, PIM, NIM, etc.); namely, they tended to elevate in evaluation  contexts where the outcome depended on a positive picture, in the under-reporting direction (so called “fake good”). Impression management has […]