What is the psychopathology/diagnosis thinking

GENERAL FORENSIC
ASSESSMENT
Mental
Health
Assessment
You are working for the client
What is the psychopathology/diagnosis
thinking
affect
interpersonal relations
Treatment recommendations/prognosis
The audience is usually the client and other
treatment providers
Forensic
Assessment
Who are you working for?
Different assessment questions
competency
insanity
violence/recidivism risk
psychological damages
child custody
Who’s the
Audience?
Report goes to
Judges
Lawyers
Probation
Watch your language
“he is likely a rather sad man
who experiences a pervasive
dysthymia with recurring periods
of anxiety. His thinking may
frequently be overcontrolled,
although occasionally distracted
by an upsurge of disruptive
ideas”
Who Gets to challenge It
•Write it like a good attorney is going to
challenge it
•Look, in detail, for weaknesses and flaws
You may have to defend the
report in court
The focus/writing should be to
the data, not the case
“Rules” of
Forensic
Assessment
Avoid basing it only on a
clinical interview
Use more than one
assessment instrument
Get outside/collateral
information
Back it up with research
Assessment Structure
Clarify with client referral source, purpose, and informed consent
Lamb Warning: Be clear about how this ties in with their legal situation
“A notification given to an individual by a clinician, prior to an
evaluation, that the individual’s participation is voluntary and may
be terminated at any time, and that any communications made
during the course of the evaluation will not be privileged and may
be disclosed in court proceedings. A Lamb Warning is only valid if
the individual knowingly and voluntarily agrees to waive the
privilege upon receiving such notification. Commonwealth v. Lamb,
365 Mass. 265 (1974).”
CLINICAL
INTERVIEW/PSYCHOSOCIAL
HISTORY
What would you
cover?
Instruments
to Use
Instruments must fit the
assessment/psycholegal
question
Instrument “expectations”
Know strengths and
limitations of instruments
Types of Instruments
Objective vs. Projective
IQ/Cognitive functioning (WAIS, KAIT)
Self-report (MMPI, MCMI)
Semi-structured interview (PCL)
Structured interview (SCID)
Why the MMPI as a Model
The most widely used psychopathology/personality psychological test
Provides “profiles”
Extensively used in forensic assessment
Most legally “defensible” test
Examines multidimensional (as opposed to unidimentional)
psychological characteristics
Strong research base
Most current version is MMPI-3 which built on the MMPI-2RF
Both MMPI-3 and MMPI-2RF have a different set of scales

Cultural Issues
Language and interpreters
Available instruments
Cultural impacts on tests
Cultural impact on diagnosing

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