Forensic Psychological and Neuropsychological Evaluation, Assessment Testing Services
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Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida 352-336-2888
Main Office: Gainesville, Florida CPANCF.COM ForensicNeuropsychology.Com
Forensic psychology involves the study of human behavior as it applies to the law and is often used to describe the evaluation and assessment of individuals within a legal context. Forensic psychology is a broad field of practice. It finds applications in civil, adminstrative and criminal law systems. Forensic neuropsychology involves neuropsychological assessment of brain functioning and behavior in legal settings or with legal applications.
Psychologists practicing in forensic settings or psychologists who can reasonably expect that their services or assessment will be used to make legal determinations are normally expected to apply higher standards which are demanded of forensic psychology. This usually involves incorporating collateral sources of data such as records or interviews of others, and use of psychological test instruments which include or incorporate measures of response bias and test validity. Considerable extra time is required for careful review of records and preparation of a detailed report. Forensic psychologists are usually expected to maintain more detailed contemporaneuous notes and records of their evaluations as the basis of their opinions must be open to review when conculsisions of their evaluations are presented in a legal setting.
Forensic Psychologists perform evaluations in a large number of civil and administrative settings. These involve evaluations in Worker's Compensation systems, Disability Insurance or Social Security Disability Determinations, personal injury evaluations, fitness for duty evaluations, civil competencies, and determinations involving placements or entitlements for accommodations. Evaluations may also include evaluation of possibly impaired professionals. Often, in theses systems distinctions are made between treating and evaluating providers.
Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) usually refers to an evaluation performed by a retained expert in a civil case either for the plaintiff or insured or for the defendant or insurance company. While the forensic psychologist may be retained by a party in a context of litigation, it is the expert's role to assist the trier of fact by providing objective evaluation. We perform psychological and neuropsychological IME evaluations for plaintiff's as well as for defense. We are committed to performing fair, objective and defensible assessments and evaluations. Our office has experience in performing evaluations at the request of attorneys, the courts, insurers, hospitals, federal and state government agencies, and employers.
Our forensic IME evaluations often require at least a day for psychological evaluations and 2-3 days for neuropsychological evaluations. Forensic reports are usually completed within 3-4 weeks of the final day of evaluation. Time for medical records and review of collateral data can vary greatly from case to case. Due to recent changes in Florida PIP laws, effective October 2007 and January 2008, we now only accept evaluations of individuals who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents as IME evaluations requested by plaintiff attornery or insurance company attorney.
In criminal law systems, forensic psychologists may assist the courts by performing evaluations relevant to competency to proceed (i.e. trial, sentencing, execution), mitigating circumstances in sentencing, and sanity at time of offense. Both Dr. Bordini and Dr. Phalin gained forensic experience during their graduate training at performing psychological evaluations at North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center in Gainesville, Florida, a secure state facility for those individuals who have been adjudicated as dangerous to self or others and who have been found incompetent to proceed or not guilty by reason of insanity. Both have years of post-graduate training and experience in performing neuropsychological evaluations of individuals charged with homicide offenses. These have included multiple-homicide, serial homicide and death penalty appeal cases. Current criminal practice is largely focused on evaluations in serious offenses. However, at this time the State of Florida court system has demonstrated great delays and arbitrary limits in paying experts. Effective November 2007 criminal cases are only accepted by pre-paid retainer.
Clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists are qualified by their training and experience to diagnose and treat mental and nervous disorders. Generally, in Federal Courts, psychologists may testify as to the etiology or cause of neurological conditions such as brain injuries. However, in State of Florida courts, case law has limited such testimony by psychologists to indicating whether findings are cosnsistent with a particular disease or etiology. Psychological and neuropsychological evaluations include standardized psychological and neuropsychological tests which have demonstrated reliability and validity, allow for comparison with norms, and have established bases for interpretation.
Academic training, experience and supervision in psychological or neuropsychological testing, statistical and ethical issues in psychological testing, psychometrics, and graduate-level course work is likely limited if indviduals were not trained in APA-approved doctoral programs in psychology. Psychologists are also probably the only profession that has ethical and other guidelines related to the adminstration, use, and interpretation of psychological and neuropsychological tests. Recognizing the potential for misuse of psychological testing, the Florda statutes limit use of the terms psychological testing, psychological assessment, neuropsychological testing, neuropsychological assessment to use by individuals licensed as psychologists by the State of Florida.
Psychological and neuropsychological testing batteries present sensitive methods for detecting and quantifying abilities, functioning, areas of difficulty as well as psychiatric disorders. Due to this sensitivity, and the forensic context of evaluations, a fair and unbiased assessment also incorporates sensitive measures of response bias to ensure results are likely reliable and valid for interpretation. Examiners should use similar batteries of tests and methods regardless of what party has retained the expert.
Evaluation of response bias, test validity, and possible contributions of inadequate effort or malingering have become an increasingly critical part of forensic psychological and neuropsychological evaluations. National surveys of psychologists and neuropsychologists estimate that approximately 30-40% of individuals involved in litigation may not put forth full effort or might consciously exaggerate deficits. Today's methods and tests have been found to detect rates of invalid effort with a frequency which is very consistent with that expectation. In our own clinic, regardless of referal source, we find this has been true. At the same time few individuals not involved in forensic determinations very rarely fail such tests. The evaluation of response bias incorporated in insruments such as the MMPI have a long history in forensic psychology and the interface of psychology and the law. Tests of neuropsychological validity and measures within psychological tests allow greater confidence in reporting results of the majority of individuals in litigation who pass such tests while raising necessary cautions about relying on subjective complaints when objective data is marked by response bias or likely invalid performance.
Our staff has undergone rigorous training & supervision to administer & interpret psychological and neuropsychological tests which provide standardized & objective measures of:
- Intellectual & Cognitive Abilities
- Neuropsychological abilities and functioning
- Executive Functions
- Learning Disability
- Effort & Response Bias
- Psychological or Neuropsychological Malingering
- Mood & Adaptation
Special Areas of Expertise:
- Independent Psychological IME’s
- Psychological Testing and Assessment
- Neuropsychological Testing and Assessment
- Personal Injury
- Worker’s Compensation
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Chronic Pain Disorders
- Head Injury / Traumatic Brain Injury
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Acquired Brain Disorders
- Neurotoxic Syndromes
- Fitness for Duty
- Violence Risk Assessments
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Independent Social Security Disability Evaluations
- Impaired Professionals
- Crime Victims
- Civil & Criminal Competency Issues
- Competency & Sanity of Murder Defendants
- Employee - EAP Program
FAQ: What is a career in Forensic Psychology like? (external link) FAQ? What is Forensic Neuropsychology?
Please call (352) 336-2888 for information about this or any of our programs. We are dedicated to providing quality psychological assessment, consultation, & treatment services to the North Central Florida Community.