Our practice has been serving the community successfully for over 40 years. We offer a wide array of forensic services including forensic evaluations, social investigations, personal injury assessments, and assessing psychological mitigating circumstances.
A social investigation requires a thorough socio-psychological analysis for the as to what is in the best interest of the child regarding decision making and visitation. It is court ordered when parents cannot agree on a parenting schedule and/or the decision making responsibilities regarding the health, education, and extra curricular activities of children. In the American Psychological Association (APA), from the court’s perspective, the most valuable contributions of psychologists are those that reflect a clinically astute and scientifically sound approach to legally relevant issues.
Social investigation includes interviews with the parents, the children, and combinations of parents with each child and collateral interviews of individuals important in the child’s life and character references submitted by each parent. I also contact relevant professionals, such as teachers and doctors. When this is completed each parent is asked to perform a task with each child in the investigators office to assess parenting skills of the adults parties. These are known as collateral interviews. The investigator also visits the home of each parent to assess whether environment is safe, secure, and child friendly. Psychological testing of each parent and/or the child will occur if any mental health issues are raised by either parent.
The social investigator is required to submit a comprehensive report to the court. This report will require factors listed in Florida stated chapter 61.13(3), Florida’s law regarding parenting plans.
Many individuals who are physically injured suffer emotional consequences. These might be a consequence of accidents, disasters, or criminal victimization. Such conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, depression, or anxiety can occur. The nature and severity of the condition determines both the amount of pain and suffering as well as the types and frequency of interventions required to ameliorate their condition. The forensic psychologist can determine whether there is a psychological disturbance(s) and whether this disturbance is caused by the event being considered.The forensic psychologist can also provide the lawyer with an estimate of the cost for treatment.
The forensic psychologist evaluates the client to assess whether there are any variables that are important in the understanding the client’s degree of culpability in committing a crime. Garry Melton, a forensic researcher, and his colleagues outline seven influences that may be important inconsideration of mitigating circumstance. These include mental age, immaturity, unstable family background, lack of adequate role models, physical or psychological impairment, chemical intoxicants, stress, and major psychological issues.
A forensic evaluation is a generic term used for any psychological evaluation either ordered by the court or requested by a lawyer in a legal matter. The purpose of a forensic evaluation is to test the severity and presence of psychological problems of an individual. At minimum, it tests for a presence of any major mental health disorders or personality disorders. The court or a lawyer may also want the psychologist to evaluate for such specific issues such as domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, violence, or the presence and severity of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A forensic evaluation includes the following: a thorough clinical interview, the administration of at least two psychological tests, and a report. The clinical interview involves a comprehensive developmental history and psychological history of the individual. The comprehensive report addresses the referral questions of the court.