Las Vegas 17: Contemporary Issues in Forensic Psychology

Las Vegas, Nevada
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

American Academy of Forensic Psychology

Continuing Education Programs

Contemporary Issues in Forensic Psychology

Full Day Workshops

(7 CE Hours per Workshop)

Toward Improving Forensic Report Writing

Deborah Collins, Psy.D., ABPP

Wednesday, November 1

(8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Essential to effective communication of forensic evaluation findings are knowledge of the principles of forensic report writing and skills in implementing them.  This workshop reviews principles for effective organization (outline) of reports, selection of content that will meet legal demands, and styles of communication that meet judicial needs.  The workshop also includes comment and practical advice by the workshop leader on sample forensic reports, including those that participants are invited to submit prior to the workshop.  It will include opportunities for participants to examine and discuss examples of redacted forensic reports and excerpts.    

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Explain two key findings from conceptual and empirical literature regarding forensic report writing practices of clinicians
  • Identify three strategies for writing more culturally and linguistically sensitive and fair forensic reports
  • Describe alternative ways to organize a forensic report
  • List six key principles of forensic report writing
  • Outline critical sections of forensic reports and types of content for inclusion in each
  • Identify elements of forensic report writing style that can improve communication of information
  • Review ABFP Practice Sample Review requirements, process, and criteria

Deborah Collins, Psy.D., ABPP, is a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin and Michigan, who obtained board certification in forensic psychology in 2005.  She is the Director of the Wisconsin Forensic Unit and President of Behavioral Consultants, Inc., private court clinics which provide consultation to attorneys and courts regarding a wide range of psycholegal issues.  She is a Member of the Board of Directors of American Board of Forensic Psychology and, since 2010, has served as Chair of the Practice Sample Review process for ABFP.  She specializes in criminal forensic evaluations and frequently teaches and presents on related topics, including at the Marquette University Law School, Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology and Medical College of Wisconsin.   

  

Assessing and Managing Violence Risk

Mary Alice Conroy, Ph.D., ABPP  

Wednesday, November 1

(8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.) 

This workshop presents an assessment model for combining the most relevant empirical data regarding violence risk, including consideration of clinical assessment data and idiographic factors unique to the examinee. Reviewed in this program are the contemporary violence risk literature, various risk assessment strategies, an approach to integrating risk data, and how to link informed opinions about violence risk to ten major risk management strategies.

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Describe an organized model of risk assessment that is defensible in the courtroom
  • Identify risk assessment instruments appropriate to various contexts
  • Describe empirically supported risk factors for violence
  • Identify risk assessment methods appropriate to a variety of domains (e.g., adult, juvenile)
  • Collect appropriate idiographic data
  • Defend utilizing both nomothetic and idiographic data
  • Apply principles of effective violence risk management

Mary Alice Conroy, Ph.D., ABPP is Director of the Sam Houston State University Psychological Services Center. This is the official training clinic for the SHSU Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, a program with strong emphasis on forensic psychology. She previously spent 20 years providing forensic services for the U. S. Bureau of Prisons, including participation in over 1200 risk assessments. For three years, she served on the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Legal Issues (COLI) and as chair of the Forensic Specialty Council. She has presented numerous workshops on forensic issues for lawyers and judges, as well as for mental health professionals, both regionally and nationally. She was the recipient of the 2011 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Forensic Psychology from the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) and was recently named a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at SHSU. She has also served as an examiner for the American Board of Professional Psychology. She remains active in providing forensic evaluation services for the courts in the state of Texas. During the past ten years, she has co-authored two books on risk assessment, as well as a number of articles and book chapters.

Competencies in the Criminal Process

Christopher Slobogin, J.D., LLM 

Thursday, November 2

(8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) 

This workshop provides a comprehensive analysis of the law governing seven competencies that arise in the criminal process: competency to confess, competency to waive legal representation, competency to plead guilty, competency to stand trial, competency to testify, competency to be sentenced, and competency to be executed.  Although relevant research and assessment protocols are discussed, the focus of this workshop is the law’s approach to these issues, not the forensic psychological evaluation process. 

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Describe the legal and psycholegal factors relevant to assessing competency to stand trial, plead guilty, waive counsel and other trial rights, confess, testify and be executed
  • Create a treatment plan to restore competency that addresses the legal issues relevant to refusing treatment
  • Select the appropriate protocol for evaluating competency given legal needs and time constraints
  •  Carry out a competency evaluation that addresses the fundamental issues relevant to the courts
  •  Critique a competency report’s allegiance to competency criteria
  •  Give reasons for and against using ultimate issue language in competency reports
  •  Outline a format for a good competency report
       
    Christopher Slobogin, J.D., LLM,  has authored more than 100 articles, books and chapters on topics relating to criminal procedure, mental health law and evidence. Director of Vanderbilt Law School’s Criminal Justice Program, he is one of the 5 most cited criminal law and procedure professors in the nation, according to the Leiter Report. The book Psychological Evaluations for the Courts, which he co-authored, is considered the standard in forensic mental health evaluation.  In recognition for his work in that field, he was named a Fellow of the American Psychology-Law Society in 2008. Professor Slobogin has also served as reporter for the American Bar Association's Task Force on Law Enforcement and Technology and its Task Force on the Insanity Defense.  In addition, he helped draft standards dealing with mental disability and the death penalty that have been adopted by the ABA, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology Practice

Randy K. Otto, Ph.D., ABPP 

Thursday, November 2

(8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Using a case study approach, this training program reviews ethical challenges/issues commonly encountered by forensic psychologists, with the goal of anchoring judgments in various sources of professional authority (e.g., ethical principles, practice guidelines). The following challenges are discussed: distinguishing between informed consent, assent, and notification (and when each must be provided and obtained); issues of multiple roles; privacy, confidentiality and privilege in forensic evaluation contexts; recording of and third party presence during, evaluations; release of reports and test data; offering opinions about persons not examined; obligations to take into account issues of diversity in forensic evaluation contexts; use of social media data; and addressing substandard practice by peers. 

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Identify sources of authority they should consider when contemplating ethical dilemmas in forensic practice
  • Distinguish between informed consent, assent, and notification
  • Identify circumstances when multiple roles cannot be adopted in forensic practice
  •  Describe how and when privilege protects data gathered during forensic evaluations
  •  Identify ethical obligations to consider individual differences when conducting forensic evaluations
  •  Identify circumstances when psychologists can offer opinions about persons not examined
  •  Describe what psychologists can do to meet their ethical obligation to address substandard practice by peers

Randy Otto, Ph.D., ABPP is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in clinical psychology and forensic psychology (ABPP).  He has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989.  Although his primary appointment is in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, he also teaches in the Departments of Psychology and Criminology.  Dr. Otto’s work focuses on the involvement of mental health professionals in the legal system.  In 2007, he joined USF colleagues John Petrila and Norm Poythress as a contributor to the third edition of Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professional and Lawyers.  In 2013, the Handbook of Forensic Psychology, which he edited with Irv Weiner, was published.  In 2014, with Rick DeMier and Marc Boccaccini, he published a book on expert testimony and report writing, Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologist and Psychiatrists.  A book on forensic psychology ethics that he co-authored with Alan Goldstein and Kirk Heilbrun was published earlier this year.

  

Evaluating the Validity of Miranda Waivers and the Trustworthiness of Confessions

Alan Goldstein, Ph.D., ABPP 

Friday, November 3

(8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

A confession is generally considered to be the most powerful evidence against a defendant.  Attorneys in juvenile and adult cases sometimes seek to have incriminating statement barred via a pre-trial hearing or call an expert during a trial to educate jurors that not all confessions are genuine indicators of guilt.  This two-part workshop focuses on issues related to: (a) assessing the likelihood whether a defendant had the capacity to make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of Miranda rights at the time of the waiver; and (b) evaluating those factors that may have increased or decreased the likelihood of a false confession. For both topics, the extensive research on suspect/defendant characteristics associated with difficulties making a valid waiver and associated with providing a false confession are summarized. Representative court decisions related to Miranda waivers and false confessions and case law focusing on the admissibility of such testimony are discussed, aimed at assisting the expert in responding to admissibility challenges. Common police interrogation methods are described, along with the impact these methods may have on suspects. Ethical issues related to qualifications of the expert examiner, cultural factors, and limits of testimony are presented along with the methodology and instruments that are available to provide relevant information on these confession-related topics.  Case examples are used to highlight the problems an expert encounters in these matters.

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss the significance of case law addressing Miranda waivers and false confessions
  • Describe police interrogation techniques commonly used with suspects, which are designed to encourage waiver of rights and obtain confessions
  • Describe the appropriate use of interpreters when conducting these assessments
  • Respond effectively to Frye and Daubert challenges to the admissibility of testimony in these matters
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various methods used to address these issues
  • Summarize the research examining factors associated with impaired capacity to waive Miranda rights and associated with false confessions
  • Identify effective strategies for presentation of opinions in reports and via testimony

Alan M. Goldstein, Ph.D., is Board Certified in Forensic Psychology – ABPP.  He is Professor Emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where he taught in the forensic psychology program. In independent practice in New York, his work focuses on criminal issues, including confession-related topics.  Dr. Goldstein served as chair and co-chair of the AAFP’s Continuing Education Program and chaired APA’s Continuing Professional Education Committee.  He is a past-president of ABFP and was a member of the ABPP Board of Directors. He received ABFP’s Distinguished Service Award and their Distinguished Contribution Award to Forensic Psychology, the Beth Clark Award for Distinguished Service from AAFP, and the Distinguished Contribution and Service Award from ABPP. Dr. Goldstein is editor or co-author of a number of books, including: Forensic Psychology: Emerging Topics & Expanding Roles, Foundations of Forensic Mental Health Assessment (with Kirk Heilbrun & Tom Grisso)) and Evaluating Capacity to Waive Miranda Rights (with Naomi Goldstein).  His book, Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology, was released earlier this year.  

  

Clinical Neuropsychology for the Forensic Psychologist

Robert L. Denney, Psy.D., ABPP

Friday, November 3

(8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.) 

This workshop is designed for forensic examiners who seek to better understand the work and forensic reports of neuropsychologists, and become familiar with indicators which suggest referral of examinees for neuropsychological consultation.  Topics reviewed include red flags that may indicate organic pathology, basic neuroanatomy and neuropathology, relevant practice guidelines, commonly employed neuropsychological tests, appropriate use of norms, discussion of boundaries of professional competence, and assessment of response style.

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • List the current standards regarding the definition and training of neuropsychologists
  • Present current standards regarding collaborative models of ethical forensic neuropsychological practice
  • Identify potential indicators of organic neuropathology
  • Review functional neuroanatomy and neuropathology, emphasizing its importance as a part of neuropsychological assessment
  • Identify and describe current practice guidelines for neuropsychology
  • Describe an overview of current neuropsychological assessment methods with emphasis on the debate about fixed and flexible test batteries, common tests and their norms
  • Discuss negative response bias as it relates to neurocognitive assessment 

Robert L. Denney, Psy.D., ABPP, is board certified in forensic psychology and clinical neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is a fellow and past president of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and a fellow of APA Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology). He was a forensic psychologist and neuropsychologist at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, for over 20 years. He maintains an active private practice.

Assessing Reports of Trauma in Forensic Contexts

Christina A. Pietz, Ph.D., ABPP

Saturday, November 4

(8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Assessment of claims of emotional harm and trauma in therapeutic settings is very different from assessment of these matters in legal proceedings.  Participants will be provided an overview of the history and conception of the PTSD diagnosis, including its introduction in the DSM III.  The diagnostic criteria of PTSD in the DSM-IV and DSM 5 will be compared, and implications for forensic assessment discussed. The challenges of assessing claims of emotional harm and trauma in forensic contexts will be reviewed and best practice proposed, with specific discussion of the unique challenges that present in personal injury, disability, and criminal litigation.  A thorough review of the Moral Emotional Numbing Test and Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS) will be provided, as will a discussion of the utility of the MMPI-2 and PAI in assessment of complaints of emotional harm and trauma.   

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Describe the development and history of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis
  • Describe the diagnosis and symptom picture of PTSD and related disorders
  • Compare and contrast the DSM-IV and DSM 5 criteria for PTSD
  • Identify special challenges of assessing persons alleging emotional harm or trauma in personal injury, disability, and criminal litigation
  • Identify strength and weakness of tests that are frequently used to assess trauma complaints in forensic contexts
  • Identify best practice when assessing litigants reporting emotional harm or trauma
  • Identify special challenges of assessing complaints of emotional harm and trauma with persons from diverse backgrounds

Christina A. Pietz, Ph.D., ABPP, earned her bachelor’s degree from Creighton University, master’s degree from Sam Houston State University, and doctoral degree from Texas A&M University.  She completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.  Following, she accepted employment as a forensic psychologist at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, and she worked for the federal government for almost twenty-five years.  In January 2015, she retired from the United States Medical Center, and she now works in private practice.  She is board certified in forensic psychology.  Dr. Pietz has conducted examinations of individuals alleging emotional trauma in civil and criminal contexts. 

Improving Testimony in Depositions and Trials
Phillip J. Resnick, M.D. 

Saturday, November 4

(8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Participants will learn that the adversary process seeks justice, sometimes at the expense of truth.  Topics include coping with cross-examiners who attack credentials, witness bias, and the validity of psychologists' reasoning.  Issues of power and control in the witness cross-examiner relationship are explored.  Different styles of testimony and cross-examination techniques are illustrated with over 20 videotaped vignettes from actual depositions and trials.  Common mistakes are demonstrated by videotaped clips in both mock trials and actual testimony.

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Improve the structure of written opinions in anticipation of testimony
  • Describe the differences between a discovery deposition and trial deposition
  • Identify four reasons not to volunteer information in discovery depositions
  • Identify the necessity of equally thorough preparation for discovery depositions as for trial testimony
  • Identify the role of gender and diversity in juror attitudes
  • Identify the dynamics of power and control in the courtroom
  • Enhance the effectiveness of testimony through more persuasive, jargon free language

 

Phillip J. Resnick, M.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Case School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He served as a consultant in many high profile cases, including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Susan Smith, Timothy McVeigh, Andrea Yates, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie shooter. Dr. Resnick is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.  He has published 185 articles and book chapters.  He is internationally recognized and has lectured in 49 states and 23 countries.

 Half-Day Workshops

(4 Hours CE per Workshop)

Challenges and Pitfalls in Using the DSM-5 in Forensic Evaluations

Christina A. Pietz, Ph.D., ABPP

Sunday, November 5

(8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.) 

This workshop provides a brief overview of the changes made in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), with special attention to how these changes impact psychologists’ work in forensic matters.  Case examples focusing on delusional disorder, intellectual disability, and PTSD are discussed for the purpose of discussing how the recent changes in these diagnoses may influence forensic opinions.
 

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Identify three recent changes in the DSM-5’s criteria for major mental illnesses, and how these changes addressed cultural diversity
  • Identify the new trauma & stressor-related disorders section, specifically PTSD
  • Articulate how the new criteria for intellectual disabilities might impact Atkins’ cases
  • Articulate fundamental differences between schizophrenia and delusional disorder and how this might impact Sell decisions in the 9th circuit 

Please see Dr. Pietz’s bio above.

 

Comprehensive Assessment of Malingering

Richart L. DeMier, Ph.D., ABPP 

Sunday, November 5

(8:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

 Assessment of malingering is a common task for the forensic psychologist.  This workshop emphasizes both clinical assessment of malingering through interview techniques and test-based assessment of malingering.  Pertinent research is reviewed, but the focus is on clinical practice.  Participants will learn about base rates and their importance, and the workshop will emphasize the importance of understanding psychometric properties of malingering tests, such as specificity, sensitivity, and predictive power.  Strengths and weaknesses of various commonly used assessment tools will be reviewed.

Persons attending this workshop will be able to:

  • Describe the historical roots of malingering, as well as the pathogenic, criminological, and adaptive models of malingering
  • List several tests useful when evaluating feigned psychopathology, particularly in relation to feigned psychotic symptoms
  • List several tests useful when evaluating cognitive impairment, including memory impairment
  • Identify the importance of considering base rates when assessing malingering

 

Richart L. DeMier, Ph.D., ABPP, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in forensic assessment.  In 1994, he earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.  He became board certified in forensic psychology in 2001.  For twenty years, he practiced clinical and forensic psychology at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, a major medical referral center within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Before his recent retirement from that facility, he conducted forensic evaluations for federal courts throughout the country.  In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. DeMier spent eleven years as Director of Clinical Training for the facility’s APA-accredited predoctoral internship.  Since 2008, he has served as a member of the Faculty of Examiners for the American Board of Forensic Psychology.  In that role, he reviews practice samples and serves as an oral examiner for candidates for board certification.  His six-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Forensic Psychology began in January 2015.  He contributed a chapter, Forensic Report Writing, to the second edition of the Handbook of Forensic Psychology.  He is co-author, with Randy Otto, Ph.D., and Marcus Boccaccini, Ph.D., of Forensic Reports and Testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

 

 

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