Forensic Psychology and Evaluation
A forensic psychologist is required to view the client from a different perspective than a traditional clinical psychologist, whose tests and interview procedures are not sufficient for legal purposes. Evaluating the client, preparing for testimony, and the testimony itself require the forensic psychologist to have a firm grasp of the law and the legal situation at issue in the case in question. This knowledge must be integrated with the psychological information obtained from testing, psychological and mental status exams, and appropriate assessment of background materials, such as prior psychiatric or psychological evaluations, medical records and other available pertinent information. Finally, reporting the finding of the forensic evaluation in language that non-mental health professionals and, in many cases, lay people can understand and utilize is essential.
Individual therapy must be based on the patient’s or client’s need. For some people and many injured workers, the use of brief therapy techniques is most effective. Brief therapy focuses on a specific problem and direct intervention. It is solution-based rather than problem-oriented, and is less concerned with how a problem arose than with the current factors sustaining it and preventing change. The incidence of clinical depression among injured workers and the general population is substantial and cognitive therapy has proven to be an especially valuable treatment. Cognitive therapy seeks to identify the thoughts, beliefs, and reaction patterns that cause dysfunction in an individual’s everyday activities. The aim is to alter those ingrained thought patterns and thereby change the negative emotions associated with them. For a smaller number of patients, in depth psychotherapy focusing on developing self awareness is more appropriate.
Relationship counseling helps the individuals to recognize and to better manage or reconcile the underlying patterns of conflict. The relationship involved may be between members of a family or a couple, employees or employers in a workplace, or between a professional and a client. The process involves the following key ingredients: 1) establishing a confidential dialogue, which creates a safe place to examine feelings, 2) enabling each person to be heard and to hear themselves, 3) providing a mirror with expertise to reflect the relationship’s difficulties and the potential and direction for change, 4) empowering individuals in the relationship to take control of their own destiny and make vital decisions, and 5) delivering relevant and appropriate feedback.