Psychological Injuries: Forensic Assessment, Treatment, and Law

Psychological Injuries: Forensic Assessment, Treatment, and Law

Psychological Injuries: Forensic Assessment, Treatment, and Law

Psychological Injuries: Forensic Assessment, Treatment, and Law

Excerpt

This book arose from William J. Koch's perception that the field of forensic mental health assessment has been largely insulated from current knowledge of the epidemiology, psychopathology, and treatment of trauma survivors. The term psychological injuries refers primarily to traumatically precipitated emotional disturbances that impair functioning and well-being. Researchers, insurers, employers, and the courts increasingly recognize the negative economic and health impact of emotional disorders. Not surprisingly, psychological injuries, particularly that of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are increasingly the subject of compensation requests or legal actions. However, assessment and treatment practices in most clinicians' and forensic evaluators' offices compare poorly to the current scientific understanding of such conditions, resulting in less than optimal opinion evidence and rehabilitative efforts. This book is meant to bridge the gap between common practice and current scientific knowledge.

The following pages address the history of psychological injuries from mental health and legal perspectives and review relevant statutory and case law. Subsequently, several chapters discuss assessment issues, including such topics as empirically based assessment tools, vulnerabilities in psychological evidence, and the assessment of malingering. One chapter provides case examples illustrating different challenges for forensic assessment, and discusses in detail cultural and gender issues that influence survivors' responses to trauma. Additionally, our cur-

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