Forensic work includes services that are offered related to some involvement in the legal system. My forensic services include psychological testing and collaborative family law.
While these services are very similar, in practice, to what I provide to clinical clients, it is very important to note that in forensic work, no treatment relationship exists. In other words, if I provide forensic services to someone, I am not treating you for any illness, condition, or disorder. Also, there is no guarantee regarding confidentiality in forensic work; the purpose of these evaluations is to provide information to someone (a lawyer, a judge, or another official).
Psychological tests are used in these settings to help provide information to a court or other legal official. For example, if you’re involved in a personal injury or family law case, your lawyer or the lawyer for the other side may want to have you tested to provide information about an issue. You should be notified by your attorney if you need this type of evaluation.
Just as I do in my clinical work, for forensic evaluations, I provide testing that gives information about emotions, behavior, style of coping, personality, memory, and intellectual or academic strengths and challenges, as well as about possible diagnosis. If you’ve been referred for this type of evaluation, you will be provided information about the tests we will use.
Collaborative Family Law
Mainly involving divorce, Collaborative Family Law is a newer approach to these difficult circumstances. Most people are familiar with the traditional “litigation” method of divorce, in which both sides hire lawyers to fight, at great emotional and financial cost, to get everything they can. In the collaborative approach, both sides still have a lawyer to protect their interests and to make sure that all of the legal requirements are met. However, the goal is to help the couple work together, in a respectful and collaborative way, to come to a mutual agreement about how assets and time with children will be divided. To help in this process, there is a neutral mental health professional and a neutral financial advisor.
As the mental health professional, I first meet with each party to get background information and to determine emotionally sensitive areas that could slow down the proceedings. I would then facilitate all meetings with the couple and lawyers to make sure the agreed-upon agenda is followed. In addition, I’m there in case of any disruptive arguments or emotional roadblocks that may appear; I will then work with everyone to defuse and address the situation and move forward.