Applying a Trauma-Informed Approach to Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Practical Considerations and Ethical Tensions

Date: Friday, June 3, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET
Credit: 4 CE Credit Hours

Cost of training and CE certificate: $100.00
CE Eligibility: APA Psychology, NBCC Counseling, ASWB Social Work

To be eligible for a certificate, you must attend the entire live training and complete an evaluation form within 24 hours following the live event.

Trauma-informed approaches with justice-involved individuals have gained currency in recent years. However, there has been little focus on applying trauma-informed practices to conducting forensic mental health assessments. Despite growing empirical support for forensic evaluators to receive adequate trauma training, this area constitutes a major knowledge gap for many practitioners. In this program, Dr. Goldenson will highlight the relevance of integrating the assessment of adverse childhood experiences and complex traumas into the mental health assessments of criminal justice-involved individuals. She will also discuss how to manage the ethical tensions inherent in the forensic role that can become amplified when evaluating trauma-affected examinees. Such tensions include:

·   Maintaining role clarity while developing sufficient rapport with the examinee
·   Mining data to inform opinions while ensuring the examinee is not subjected to undue distress or danger
·   Relying on expertise and knowledge about psychological testing and diagnosis while remaining open to new data
·   Attending to cultural differences.

Dr. Goldenson will use case examples to bring this material to life.

Training Topics Include:
1) Considering and mitigating power imbalances inherent in the forensic assessment process.
2) Taking nuanced approaches to the use of empathy in the forensic assessment context.
3) Observing and managing altered states of arousal and distress in examinees.
4) Gathering meaningful data on an examinee’s exposure in childhood to trauma and adversity.
5) Selecting and interpreting appropriate psychological tests with an understanding of their limitations.
6) Understanding diagnostic formulations beyond those of the DSM-5
7) Making meaningful treatment recommendations.
8) Considerations in providing feedback to examinees.

As a result of this training, participants will be better able to:
1) Describe the impact of adverse childhood experiences, maltreatment and other types of traumatic exposure on the developmental trajectories of criminal justice-involved individuals.
2) Explain how trauma symptoms are often misconstrued by counsel, triers of fact, and even some forensic mental health professionals.
3) Identify potential power imbalances inherent in the forensic evaluator’s role and cultivate trauma-informed strategies to mitigate these imbalances to the extent that this is possible.
4) Utilize critical thinking skills with respect to different forms of expressed empathy within the forensic evaluator role.
5) Describe how an examiner’s personal history and/or experiences of vicarious trauma can affect forensic evaluations. 
6) Identify non-verbal trauma symptoms in examinees and use this information to inform diagnostic opinions.

Four Hours of Training

The training session starts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and runs until 3:30 p.m. The charge is $100. Each registration includes a certificate, whether it be for CE credits hours or for attendance. To be eligible for a certificate, you must attend the entire live training and complete an evaluation form within 24 hours following the live event.

We can refund your training fee up to 24 hours prior to the start of the training.

Continuing Education Credit Hours

Continuing Excellence, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Continuing Excellence, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Applying a Trauma-Informed Approach to Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Practical Considerations and Ethical Tensions has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Continuing Excellence is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-3865.

Applying a Trauma-Informed Approach to Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Practical Considerations and Ethical Tensions, Course #4204, is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to be offered by Continuing Excellence LLC. as an individual course. Individual courses, not providers, are approved at the course level. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ACE course approval period: 05/06/2022 – 05/06/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 4 Clinical continuing education credits.

Notice to providers of New Jersey SW Continuing Education:
• ACE individual course approval meets the NJ Board of Social Work Examiners requirements for individual course approval pursuant to NJ Code 13:44G-6.4.16.
• Participation in the ASWB ACE Course Approval Program requires that the provider abide by all of the criteria set forth by New Jersey Administrative Code Title 13 Chapter 44 G Subchapter 6.

This program is co-sponsored by Safer Society Press and Continuing Excellence, LLC
Continuing Excellence, LLC
P.O. Box 134, East Middlebury, VT 05740
Tel: (802) 771-4155

Julie Goldenson, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, University of Toronto

Dr. Goldenson is a clinical and forensic psychologist, the president of the Ontario Psychological Association, and a professor at the University of Toronto.  She is also a member of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law in association with Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School and is the 2021 recipient of the Strasburger Award in recognition of her contributions to this program.  Dr. Goldenson completed a post-doctoral fellowship in forensic psychology in association with the Mental Health, Law and Policy Institute at Simon Fraser University and has interned and worked in a variety of psycho-legal contexts. She currently conducts forensic mental health assessments in her private practice and is retained in both criminal and civil matters.  Dr. Goldenson also remains actively engaged in research and has a number of first-author publications related to forensic psychological assessment, the psychological impact of trauma, domestic violence, female offenders, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and resilience among at-risk youth.

Additional Information

This training is for professionals working with people who have perpetrated abuse. Professionals who will benefit from this training include social workers, psychologists, clinical counselors, and interested paraprofessionals

Content Level
All Levels

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