Written by Dr. Nicole M. Vienna

February 11, 2020

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A Forensic Psychologist Reviews a Document

What is Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology is the intersection between the clinical practice of psychology and the law. Forensic psychologists assist the court in examining specific mental health aspects within the legal context. The focus is to address the legal question at hand to help the courts make appropriate decisions using empirically based research, actuarial instruments and objective psychological tests.

Unlike traditional clinical psychological evaluations, where the client is frequently the person that is being assessed, in forensic psychological evaluations, the client is often the retaining party, which can either be the court, attorney, or an agency. The forensic psychologist’s role is to maintain objectivity and better inform the legal system or process with expert knowledge of mental health and human behavior.

What is a Forensic Evaluation?

Forensic psychologists conduct a forensic psychological evaluation, which will include a thorough clinical interview, comprehensive review of records, case law, collateral data, and psychological tests. Forensic evaluations can be utilized by the court to address legal issues such as competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, transfer to adult court, insanity, risk for violence and sexual dangerousness. Both adult and juvenile offenders may require evaluations for many reasons. When requested by the attorneys or ordered by the court, forensic psychologists conduct these evaluations in civil or criminal court cases, as well as in correctional and law enforcement settings. Some forensic evaluations can take place in private offices or state hospitals. Other psychological evaluations that may also be considered forensic can include, but are not limited to, evaluations of personal injury, fitness for duty, disability, parental fitness and competency to testify.

At Vienna Psychological Group, we specialize in the following Forensic Evaluations:

  • Civil or Personal Injury
    • Neuropsychological
      • TBI
      • Testamentary Capacity

How a Forensic Evaluation from Vienna Psychological Group can help

A comprehensive forensic or forensic neuropsychological evaluation can help facilitate better-informed legal decision making, or assist you as the attorney by performing evaluations that (depending on their outcome) may be useful in representing your client. Please call the office of Vienna Psychological Group for a free 20-minute case consultation to find out how one of our specialized evaluations can assist you and your client. If you are a client interested in this service, please have your attorney reach out to us first. Our office administrators can be reached at 626-709-3494 or support@vpg-corp.com.

Issues that may warrant a forensic evaluation when being involved in a legal matter: 

  • History of Trauma (sexual/physical/emotional abuse and/or general neglect)
  • History of Learning Difficulties
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Memory Impairment
  • Intellectual Difficulties
  • Attention/Concentration Impairment
  • Mental Health History
  • Current Emotional Distress
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