THE CLINICAL EXAMINATION
"So, after one session with the patient, you're prepared to testify in this case?"
After the doctor has been qualified by the court to testify as an expert witness, the next series of questions is directed at the actual examination of the client. In nearly every instance, the lawyers have a copy of the mental health evaluation, that includes a description of the evaluation procedures. You will be asked to explain how the examination was conducted, what findings were obtained, and what conclusions were reached.
The attorney who called the witness to testify proceeds with the direct examination. Standard questions are asked of a psychologist (or psychiatrist) in order to reveal the process that led to the witness' professional conclusions. For ease of reading, the following example consists of the minimum basic questions rather than a more detailed and prolonged direct examination.
Q. Doctor, in your practice, have you had occasion to see Ms. Annette Anderson?
Q. When did you first see her?
A. On August 9, 19__.
Q. Was she referred to you by anyone?
A. Yes, she was referred by her gynecologist, Dr. Jean Bernstein.