Applied Forensic Clinical Experience
1. Range of Evaluations
The resident will perform or participate in performing forensic evaluations under supervision for each of the following issues:
- Competency to stand trial
- Criminal responsibility
- Violence risk assessment
- Prisoners in need of treatment
- Civil commitment
- Commitment of substance abusers
- There may bean opportunity to participate in competency restoration groups
2. Autonomy and Level of Expertise in Evaluations
For the types of evaluations delineated above, the resident will perform a sufficient number under supervision to be capable of functioning by the end of the training year at a high level of competence, responsibility and autonomy. In these areas, the resident will be encouraged as soon as possible in the year to have primary responsibility, under proper supervision, for all aspects of the evaluation process (that is: problem formulation, data collection, interpretation, and report writing). By the end of the year the resident will be expected to pass a written examination of forensic practice in Massachusetts and to prepare reports at a level of quality required for certification as a Designated Forensic Psychologist in Massachusetts. The resident should also be qualified to take the written examination of the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP).
3. Breadth and Focus
Residents will obtain forensic evaluation experience in inpatient forensic evaluation settings as well as court clinics. Although the majority of the clinical experience is with individuals involved with the criminal justice system, experiences are also provided with civil populations (for instance, assessing need for civil commitment, assessing need for involuntary substance treatment, consulting with inpatient settings regarding risk of violence of civil patients) as well as potential opportunities with other populations.
4. Forensic Consultation
The resident will be exposed to, and gain some experience in, providing consultation to other mental health professionals on clinical questions related to legal issues. This will occur in the context of Forensic Team consultations to inpatient treatment teams, community providers, and by experience in consulting to courts through court clinic placements.
5. Expert Testimony
The resident will gain exposure to, and experience in, providing expert testimony to courts. These opportunities will arise in the context of civil and criminal evaluations at Bridgewater State Hospital, DMH hospitals, at court clinics, and by observation of core faculty when they are called to testify in their own evaluation cases. In addition, the resident will participate in mock trial exercises and receive feedback from both mental health and legal professionals.