Assessment Skills Lab I
Forensic psychological assessment differs in a number of important respects from that of psychological assessment (which occurs in a general clinical context). First of all, subjects are required to undergo a mental health assessment at the request of the court, which may adversely affect their willingness to participate and lead to distorted response styles. By contrast, in most other assessment contexts, the subject is seeking help and is open to discuss his/her problems with the assessor. Secondly, the forensic psychologist is asked to answer questions that are posed by the court, which requires the psychologist to ‘translate’ legal professionals questions into questions that a psychologist can answer. And finally, the forensic psychologist needs to be able to administer, code, and interpret specific forensic assessment instruments, relevant to the type of legal questions asked. Among these, the question of psychopathy is highly prominent. Forensic psychological assessment is a highly specialised form of psychological assessment. Questions posed to the assessment psychologist by the court are very different from the common questions in other fields of psychology. Examples include: Is there a relationship between the mental disorder of this subject and his behaviour at the crime scene? What is the risk of future re-offending in this arsonist? Should this sex-offender be allowed back into the community? The answers to these types of questions are never immediately at hand and require extensive knowledge of offender typologies, base rates of recidivism of different offender types, relationships between different mental disorder symptoms and offending behaviours, and extensive psychological assessment, employing the relevant forensic assessment tools. Students will receive specialised training in two essential forensic assessment instruments: the Psychopathy CheckList-Revised and the PCL: Youth Version. They will also learn how to write up the results of these assessments in a structured and transparent way in order to inform the court.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
Knowledge and skills with regard to: Specific requirements of personality assessment in a forensic context (e.g., multimethod assessment; the importance of collateral information; conducting a biographical interview with a forensic patient; use of semi-structured methods, founding of diagnostic conclusions in evidential facts); psychopathy assessment, i.e., students will be able to code the Psychopathy Check List-Revised and Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version on the basis of a videotaped semi-structured interview and file information, and ability to write a structured report on it.
Jackson, R.L. (ed). (2007). Learning forensic assessment. New York: Routledge; Heilbrun, K., Grisso, T., & Goldstein, A. M (2008). Foundations of forensic mental health assessment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. E-reader