A psychologist trained in divorce mediation can help couples reach an agreement more rapidly and amicably, while costing much less than the traditional adversarial system. For example, the retainer fee for two attorneys may cost upwards of $15,000 each, and there may be no ceiling for the cost of discovery, control of property, child custody contests, and appeals Furthermore, a lawyer might shy away from the debilitating emotions involved in a divorce. If a couple has reached the conclusion that divorce is inevitable, Dr. Johnson will blend the divorce laws with emotional support and provide training on skills such as self determinism, empowerment, neutrality, listening skills, and critical thinking skills. Once a fair and equitable agreement is reached, Dr. Johnson will draft a Memorandum of Understanding for the legal system.
If at any time during a criminal proceeding it is suspected the defendant is unable to show a rational and factual understanding of his charges or the legal process, or is unable to communicate with counsel, he or she may be tested for competence to stand trial. Other competency evaluations include, competency to represent one’s self, competency to plea, competency to be sentenced, and competency to be executed. Dr. Johnson's competency evaluations will include a comprehensive clinical interview, record review, psychological testing, malingering screening, and a written report.
Violence Risk Assessment
Violence risk assessments are commonly relied on for release decisions from prisons and psychiatric facilities (both civil and forensic). Dr. Johnson utilizes the HCR-20-V3, which is a renowned structural professional judgment tool that identifies risk factors present in a case. The results guide risk formulation (i.e., understanding why someone is violent), and the development of a risk management plan to mitigate risk.
According to the DSM, malingering is the "intentional production of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms, motivated by external incentives such as avoiding military duty, avoiding work, obtaining financial compensation, evading criminal prosecution, or obtaining drugs." Malingered psychiatric conditions may include dissociative identity disorder, psychosis, suicidality/mood disorders, and PTSD. Other malingered conditions may include amnesia, cognitive deficits, dementia, and sleep disorders.
Mental capacity is the ability to make a decision. If a person lacks capacity, they have an impairment or disturbance that leaves them unable to make a decision. The loss of capacity could be partial or temporary. It is possible for a person to lack capacity to make one specific decision but not about another. Examples of capacity evaluations include, medical consent, sexual consent, financial capacity, testamentary capacity (i.e., wills), driving capacity, independent living, and capacity to testify. Often, a capacity assessment includes cognitive testing and an evaluation of functional impairments.
This type of assessment assists the courts in determining whether someone may have been legally insane (i.e., not criminally responsible) at the time of their crime. According to the M'Naghten Rule, "every man is to be presumed to be sane, and... that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong."
An effective expert witness understands the level of preparation needed for testimony. For direct examination, Dr. Johnson will prepare and organize questions for the retaining attorney, and will make herself available for pre-trial preparations. She is skilled at being an honest, confident, and likable teacher for the trier of fact. Advanced concepts will be broken down and simplified into concise narratives. During cross-examination, Dr. Johnson is adept at maintaining her composure and professionalism while being asked leading questions, and having opinions/methodologies attacked. She listens, refrains from becoming defensive, stays within the limits of her expertise, and adheres to the facts of the case.
Dr. Johnson is an engaging, dynamic and interactive speaker that will provide education while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. She will travel to your location and deliver the results you desire. Attendees will leave feeling inspired and confident, with advanced knowledge of the discussion topic. Examples of previous presentations have included Motivational Interviewing to Bring About Change, Being an Expert Witness, Evaluating Competency to Stand Trial, and Forensic Court Report Writing.