The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide

The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide

The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide

The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide

Synopsis

Psychopaths are difficult to ignore. They are involved in many of today's most serious problems: war, drugs, murder, and political corruption. As a construct, psychopathy has evolved far beyond its confusing origins in a melange of labels into an empirically measurable syndrome. The first text of its kind, The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide, translates the robust findings of the past 30 years into applied procedures and methods for all those whose work brings them into contact with this difficult population in mental health, correctional, or court settings. Synthesizing the latest information on assessing psychopathy in children, adolescents, and adults, it offers "standard of care" guidelines for the assessment of psychopathy in general and the use of the Hare Psychopathy checklists in particular. It further: * develops conceptual models for understanding the information processing and emotional experience of psychopaths, * addresses legal and ethical issues, * discusses implications for training and the effective integration of psychopathy assessment into general forensic practice-interviewing, predicting risk, evaluating the relationship of psychopathy to malingering, and writing reports, * describes dilemmas presented by the psychopath in the corporate setting and offers suggestions for managing them and for weighing the necessity of incorporating psychopathy assessment into institutional evaluation procedures, and * considers the relationship of psychopathy to sexual deviance, substance abuse, and the criminal personality. The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide constitutes a major new resource for anyone who seeks to make fast the link between research and practice. Experienced professionals and their trainees and students alike will learn much from it.

Excerpt

From November 27 to December 7, 1995, 85 participants from 15 countries met in Alvor, Portugal, under the support of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Advanced Study Institute (ASI) on psychopathy. This serene oceanside setting allowed participants to maintain high levels of energy and interest over 10 consecutive 9-hour days of lectures, meetings, and small-group discussions. Group discussion frequently continued into the late evening hours over plates of grilled swordfish and glasses of full-bodied port wine. Participants were provided with the state-of-the-art knowledge on current theory and research in psychopathy. Thirty-five published abstracts (Cooke,Forth,Newman, &Hare, 1996) and a text (Cooke,Forth, &Hare, 1998) attest to the importance of the information disseminated at the ASI conference.

The conference was stimulating and provocative. Difficult concepts, hard to fathom with one or two readings of the original manuscript or article, crystallized as authors articulated the process through which their research had developed. Sharing ideas and discussing research with participants who were concerned with "science, not politics" was welcomed and unexpected. The conference's apolitical atmosphere enlivened the intellectual process. Participants were informed of "what we currently know" and stimulated concerning "what we need to learn."

Despite a few "informal work groups (were) established to apply theory and research on psychopathy to practical issues" (Hare, 1998b, p. 2), the translation of theory and research into practice and intervention was less obvious. There were notable gaps between the ivory tower and the clinic. I came away from the NATO conference with a sense of urgency and a renewed conviction that 30 years of empirical findings investigating psychopathy begged for translation into applied procedures and methods for the practitioner.

This volume is a direct result of that conviction. The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide is an applied text.

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