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Defense Attorneys: How to Obtain a Psychological Assessment for your Client to Determine his Sanity

Aug 4, 2008
Have you made the decision to have your clients mental status evaluated? Have you found yourself having difficulties preparing a defense?

If that is the case, you may want to check out what options are available to you when it comes to seeking and finding a mental health assessment expert. Through this article, you are provided with the guidance that you will need in order to identify those mental health experts who will be of the greatest use and service to you and your clients.

When you are looking to find a consulting psychologist to assist you with assessing a clients mental state, the first factor to keep in mind is the reputation of a particular professional. Obviously, when you are dealing with subjects as important, sensitive and potentially life-changing as your clients culpability in committing a crime or fitness to stand trial, you want to make sure that you connect with a reputable practitioner.

As with other areas in todays world, there are less experienced professionals who inject themselves into the field of forensic psychology, the psychological evaluation of the criminal defendant. Therefore, be cautious about the consulting psychologists that you consider engaging for your clients assessments.

Ask how many years the psychologist has been practicing. At least 15 years is appropriate and check with your state Board of Psychology to determine if any disciplinary action has ever been taken against him.

In addition, make certain that you connect with a professional who does not have the reputation of being a commercial purveyor of testing services to lawyers. Practitioners who run testing or assessment mills can be superficial, careless, impatient and unavailable by phone and email.

Their arrogant and haughty attitude can be a real turn-off to your client who can be resistant to giving such personal information to someone who is offensive and whom he does not already know. The ability to develop a genuine rapport with your client is imperative to eliciting useful information from him.

The psychologists clinical experience is particularly important when it comes to dealing with issues relating to psychological assessment. Therefore, you will be best served by making sure that your consultant has a practice which is largely clinical and treatment-oriented.

Clinicians are best at developing that all-important rapport with your client, and when testing is only part of their practice, they justifiably create the impression of being a well-rounded and seasoned practitioner, rather than that of being the operator of an assessment mill.

In your analysis of various professionals rendering assessment services, you will want to consider their credentials. For instance, typically a psychiatrist has only about three years of training in mental health, which is obtained during the residency.

The overwhelming majority of their training is in chemistry, biology and general medicine. They mainly prescribe medication, do very little counseling or psychotherapy and receive no specialized training in psychological testing and assessment.

On the other hand, the psychologist has the bulk of his training in counseling, psychology, mental health and psychological assessment. This is obtained during his last 2 years of college, his 3 to 4 years of graduate and professional school and his internship.

Where psychological assessment is concerned, there is no question that the consulting psychologist will be more suitable to the assessment needs of your practice. Therefore, make sure that those professionals who you are considering have their doctoral degree in psychology and are licensed to practice independently.

The Internet rapidly has become a valuable tool for lawyers who are in need of psychological services for their clients. There are a number of different resources available to you today in this regard.

You will find that by accessing the web site of the American Psychological Association or your states psychological association, you will be in an excellent position to make wise and faster decisions pertaining to your practices needs for mental health assessment services.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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