Adult Forensic Psychology

CLI MH513 - Adult Forensic Psychology

Credits: 2

The course focuses on the use of clinical mental health information in courts and other legal settings in cases that involve adults. The course reviews the framework of law in civil and criminal cases that are most likely to involve psychologists as forensic evaluators or expert witnesses. Forensic evaluations in criminal cases include competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility (“insanity defense”), and aid in disposition. Forensic evaluations in civil cases include medical guardianships, involuntary medication, and involuntary civil commitment. The role of the psychologist in conducting forensic evaluations is discussed in detail, including specific kinds of clinical and ethical challenges that may arise. Specialized evaluations such as violence risk assessments and domestic abuse assessments are described. Particular attention is paid to how psychologists conduct forensic evaluations for use in civil and criminal proceedings involving adults, and how their findings are communicated in the form of written reports or testimony before the court.