Practitioner’s Bookshelf – Forensic Psychology, Part I

This issue features the first installment in our series on forensic psychology

By Marketing and Business Development Staff

October 14, 2011—In this recurring feature, we bring you new releases, best-of-class reference texts and resources you can recommend to your clients. Titles and descriptions come from both the APA Practice Organization’s Amazon Associates Store and APA Books. This month, we feature articles on forensic psychology, with volumes that cover the fundamentals of forensic assessment, expert witness work, professional issues and ethics.

Special thanks to Kasey Shienvold, PsyD, and Kirmach Natani, PhD, for their contributions to this edition of “The Practitioners Bookshelf.” In the next installments, we’ll focus on specific issues and populations, as well as the use of particular assessment instruments in forensic settings. What other books on forensic psychology have you found helpful and informative? Email us your suggestions.

Forensic Psychology Resources

General Resources

Handbook of Psychology, Forensic Psychology (Volume 11)
By Alan M. Goldstein
This book is intended to present the most up-to-date description of the field of forensic psychology. The chapters represent contemporary topics and areas of investigation in this exciting and rapidly expanding field. Topics were selected to reflect forensic psychology’s applicability to both civil and criminal justice systems. This comprehensive volume includes established theories and cutting-edge developments, presents the work of an international group of experts and explores the nature, origin, implications and future course of major unresolved issues in the area.

The Handbook of Forensic Psychology
By Irving B. Weiner and Allen K. Hess 
This is a fully-revised and updated version of the top academic work in forensic psychology. Focused mainly on the practical aspects of forensics, this volume provides all readers need to know to be effective practitioners. Detailed sections cover both civil and criminal forensic practice; forensic report writing; treating mental illness in the incarcerated; and ethical issues. Contributors are the best-known and most respected practitioners in the field from the US and Canada. All chapters are completely revised from the previous edition, including six which have new authors. Forensic psychology is one of the fastest-growing specialties in the field. Its practitioners are able to avoid managed care and structured settings, and they often focus on assessment, rather than long-term treatment of clients.

Psychological Evaluations for the Courts, Third Edition: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers
By Gary B. Melton, John Petrila, Norman G. Poythress and Christopher Slobogin
This is the definitive reference and text for both mental health and legal professionals. The authors offer a uniquely comprehensive discussion of the legal and clinical contexts of forensic assessment, along with best-practice guidelines for participating effectively and ethically in a wide range of criminal and civil proceedings. Presented are findings, instruments and procedures related to criminal and civil competencies, civil commitment, sentencing, personal injury claims, antidiscrimination laws, child custody, juvenile justice and more.

Handbook of Forensic Assessment: Psychological and Psychiatric Perspectives
By Eric Y. Drogin, Frank M. Dattilio, Robert L. Sadoff and Thomas G. Gutheil
The practitioner-oriented coverage in the Handbook of Forensic Assessment examines: the current state of psychology and psychiatry—including requisite clinical competencies, ethical guidelines and considerations of multidisciplinary collaboration; various approaches to assessments in criminal and civil matters; the principles of effective preparation, data collection and interpretation, as well as communication for each special situation; topics including competence to stand trial, sexual offender evaluations, addictions, child abuse and education; overarching practice issues, such as practice development, retention, compensation, consultation and forensic treatment; and includes sample reports that demonstrate the integrative potential of both psychology and psychiatry.

Principles of Forensic Mental Health Assessment
By Kirk Heilbrun
Unlike most of the literature in forensic mental health assessment, this book posits the existence of broad principles of forensic assessment that are applicable across different legal issues and are derived from and supported by sources of authority in ethics, law, science and professional practice. The author describes and analyzes 29 broad principles of forensic mental health assessment within this framework.

Foundations of Forensic Mental Health Assessment (Best Practices in Forensic Mental Health Assessment Series)
By Kirk Heilbrun, Thomas Grisso and Alan Goldstein
Forensic mental health assessment (FMHA) has grown into a specialization informed by research and professional guidelines. This series presents up-to-date information on the most important and frequently conducted forms of FMHA. The 19 topical volumes address best approaches to practice for particular types of evaluation in the criminal, civil and juvenile/family areas. Each volume contains a thorough discussion of the relevant legal and psychological concepts, followed by a step-by-step description of the assessment process from preparing for the evaluation to writing the report and testifying in court. Volumes include boxes that zero in on important information for use in evaluations, tips for best practice and cautions against common pitfalls, highlighting of relevant case law and statutes, a list of assessment tools for easy reference and a glossary of key terms for the particular topic. In making recommendations for best practice, authors consider empirical support, legal relevance and consistency with ethical and professional standards. This first volume in the series serves as an introduction to the field of FMHA, and provides an overview of the foundational concepts applied in the other 19 volumes.

Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook
By Kirk Heilbrun, Geoffrey Marczyk and David DeMatteo
Forensic mental health assessments are evaluations conducted by individuals from different disciplines on a variety of questions in civil, criminal and family law. A growing number of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, are being called upon to assess everything from an individual's competence to stand trial to the risk or threat of future violence, and asked to weigh in on cases ranging from murder and assault to malpractice and child custody. General principles have emerged to guide professionals conducting forensic mental health assessment. Forensic Mental Health Assessment: A Casebook illustrates those principles using relevant, real-world case material. Built around actual case reports from expert forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, the volume probes a broad range of legal questions through the detailed examination of more than 40 cases. Topics include Miranda rights waiver, competence to act as one's own attorney, competence to stand trial, juvenile commitment, sanity at the time of the offense, child custody, termination of parental rights, guardianship and malpractice. This is the first casebook focusing specifically on forensic assessment. It contains cases from a broad range of civil, criminal and family legal questions, described in case reports contributed by expert forensic psychologists and psychiatrists.

Evaluating Competencies: Forensic Assessments and Instruments
By Thomas Grisso
This book offers a conceptual model for understanding the nature of legal competencies. The model is interpreted to assist mental health professionals in designing and performing assessments for legal competencies defined in criminal and civil law, and to guide research that will improve the practice of evaluations for legal competencies. A special feature is the book's evaluative review of specialized forensic assessment instruments for each of several legal competencies. Three-fourths of the 37 instruments reviewed in this second edition are new.

Personality-Guided Forensic Psychology
By Robert J. Craig
The author discusses how personality-guided assessment is a useful tool in the multiple arenas in which forensic psychologists are active: child custody evaluation, fitness for duty evaluations, personal injury, domestic violence and many others. The volume begins with an overview of forensic psychology and the personality theories most relevant to forensic psychology. Chapters cover assessments ranging from relatively normal evaluations (police applicants and officers, custody and personal injury) to those in which severe pathology may come into play (domestic violence and homicide). The book offers a wealth of data on personality-test scores of chronic pain patients, patients who litigate, those who commit sexual or other physical abuse or murder and others.

The Evolution of Mental Health Law
Edited by Lynda E. Frost and Richard J. Bonnie
This volume chronicles a relatively new field that has developed around the goals of protecting the rights and needs of people with disabilities, defining the proper sphere of individualization in criminal justice, and drawing boundaries between science and morality in decision making. The editors have brought together leading specialists from the field's many domains, including lawyers, health policy specialists, forensic psychologists, law professors, psychiatrists and sociologists, who share their theoretical insights and empirical research of significant developments in mental health law and policy in the past 25 years. Particularly notable are chapters that examine shifts in attitudes toward the use of human participants in research; whether the statutory and regulatory framework of the increasingly privatized public mental health services system adequately protects patients' rights; how notions of therapeutic jurisprudence influence the behavior of judges and lawyers; and the means by which judges, lawyers and clinicians can work from a more therapeutic frame of reference in the context of civil commitment proceedings.

Taking Psychology and Law into the Twenty-First Century
By James R.P. Ogloff
During his term as President of APA-LS/Division 41, James Ogloff, PhD organized a comprehensive program of research reviews in the area of the law and psychology. Taking Psychology and Law into the Twenty-First Century is the product of that program. Top scholars contribute chapters covering a wide range of topics including jurisprudence, competency, children, forensic risk assessment, eyewitness testimony, jurors and juries, lawsuits and civil law. Also included is an introductory chapter by the editor. The result is a unique and comprehensive treatment of the issues at the confluence of these disciplines.

Professional Issues and Ethics

Ethical Practice in Forensic Psychology: A Systematic Model for Decision Making
By Shane S. Bush, Mary A. Connell and Robert L. Denney
While most psychologists working in forensic contexts aspire to practice in a manner consistent with the highest ideals of ethical practice, they face numerous and complex concerns and may be unclear about how to apply the Ethics Code and Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists to their real-world issues. In this volume, the authors explore common ethical dilemmas forensic psychologists may encounter in procedures including referrals, evaluations, documentation of findings and opinions, and testimony and termination. The authors present and apply a practical ethical-decision making model to timely case vignettes in the areas of civil, criminal and child/family law to demonstrate how to approach the ethical challenges faced in forensic psychology; they also offer suggestions for addressing potential ethical misconduct by colleagues.

Getting Started in Forensic Psychology Practice: How to Create a Forensic Specialty in Your Mental Health Practice
By Eric G. Mart
Getting Started in Forensic Psychology Practice is the first book of its kind aimed at those mental health professionals and recent graduates interested in entering the growing and lucrative field of forensic psychology. User-friendly and full of helpful tips, this handy guide provides readers with tools and techniques for starting a thriving forensic psychology practice, or incorporating a forensic specialty into a current practice. This comprehensive resource includes information on: the difference between clinical and forensic practice; advantages and disadvantages of forensic practice; preparing for forensic psychological practice; planning a forensic psychology business; how to market a practice; what lawyers look for in forensic psychologists as expert witnesses; ethics, professional competence, and risk management issues; performing evaluations; and testifying in court and depositions. In addition, the book also features several helpful appendices that include sample evaluations and reports, as well as detailed discussions of child custody evaluation and assessment.

Clinicians in Court: A Guide to Subpoenas, Depositions, Testifying, and Everything Else You Need to Know
By Allan E. Barsky and Jonathan W. Gould
Mental health and human service professionals are often called on to give evidence or expert testimony in a range of circumstances, including family law and child welfare trials, mental health hearings, malpractice lawsuits, criminal trials, government hearings and private arbitration. Interacting with the legal system poses many potential challenges, but adequate preparation and a basic understanding of legal processes and terminology can make the experience a more positive one. This volume provides practical information and proven guidelines to help clinicians from any background understand their role in legal proceedings, and participate effectively, ethically and with minimal stress. Special features include helpful checklists and samples of affidavits, retainer agreements and other materials that can be adapted for use in the reader's own practice.

Testifying in Court: Guidelines and Maxims for the Expert Witness
By Stanley L. Brodsky
In brief, informal chapters, each arranged topically around one practical principle, the author helps both the veteran expert witness and the novice identify effective modes of preparation for offering testimony, understanding the courtroom milieu and evaluating the effectiveness of testimony before and after the actual experience.

The Expert Expert Witness: More Maxims and Guidelines for Testifying in Court
By Stanley L. Brodsky
In this practical and entertaining book for forensic psychologists, the author describes court work and the legal context in a yarn-spinning style that is friendly, informal and more explanatory than adversarial, bringing gentleness and humor to a potentially combative arena. Brief topic-focused chapters, each summed up with a maxim, teach readers a great deal about the typical ploys and techniques used by attorneys to draw out information, either supportive or contradictory. In addition to offering principles, lessons and maxims, this volume addresses specific questions, challenging testimony and worst-case scenarios, many posed by people who have contacted the author about their own courtroom snafus. While clearly recognizing the gravity of the expert witness role and the oath of honesty, Brodsky emphasizes the exhilarating intellectual and professional challenge involved in mastering the courtroom setting.

Coping With Cross-Examination and Other Pathways to Effective Testimony
By Stanley L. Brodsky
In his latest collection of essays for forensic psychologists, Stanley L. Brodsky, PhD extends the lessons of his popular Testifying in Court series by focusing on the cross-examination, the trial phase that expert witnesses dread most. A leading teacher, scholar and expert witness, Dr. Brodsky offers lessons and advice from the trenches to defuse the vulnerability psychologists may feel on the witness stand. More than 50 brief essays, each summarized by a maxim, teach readers about the typical techniques attorneys use to challenge experts' credibility and the basis of their opinions. Pointers on preparation and effective narrative style are included, backed by findings from the emerging literature on the assessment of expert testimony.

Principles and Practice of Trial Consultation
By Stanley L. Brodsky
A pragmatic guide to a growing area of professional practice, this book describes the multiple roles of the trial consultant and provides tools for carrying them out competently and ethically. Leading authority Stanley L. Brodsky, PhD uses examples from actual trials and depositions to illustrate how knowledge and skills from psychology and related fields are applied in the legal context. He shows how to use scientific methods and findings to assist with jury selection, help attorneys focus their arguments, prepare witnesses for the rigors of cross-examination and conduct change of venue evaluations. The examples are drawn from a wide range of civil and criminal cases. In addition to behavioral scientists, legal professionals will also find important insights and strategies in this book.


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