Reclaiming Therapeutic Terminology: Clinical Versus Social Definitions
The average licensed master’s level social worker, professional counselor, or master’s level psychologist has been in school for at least six to seven years and possesses at least a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and completed supervised work experience. Not to mention they have prepared for, taken, and successfully passed the licensure exams in the state in which they reside. The average doctoral level licensed psychologist has gone to school for at least nine to eleven years, completed several unpaid and paid internship experiences and supervised clinical practice after graduation to become licensed, and passed the licensure exams. Professionals are trained to read, understand, and correctly interpret clinical scientifically valid research for the purpose of supporting interventions to effectively help clients and pass on knowledge.

When is Reunification Therapy Done? (And some helpful hints for success…)
Hopefully, reunification therapy (RT) is successful, and then it is obviously done. But for families who feel stuck in RT and like they are not making progress, the lament often becomes, “Are we done yet?!” Which is a fair question. Attorneys and judges also struggle with this question in cases where one or more family members are asking to stop RT.

Readiness vs Willingness In Reunification Therapy
Reunification therapy is a systemic process intended to rebalance the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent when one parent has not had contact with the child. The hope of reunification therapy is that it will result in the re-establishing of the parent/child relationship and that the family members will learn and practice skills leading to healthier functioning in the future.

What Is an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) and What Is It’s Purpose
An independent educational evaluation is an option for parents who disagree with the results of a psychoeducational evaluation conducted by school personnel, usually a school psychologist. The parents may believe their child was misdiagnosed or the evaluation did not cover all areas of suspected disability. The process is initiated when the parents request an IEE in writing.

Psychotherapy works! You (and Your Therapist) Can Change Your Personality & Behavior
As an attorney referring your client to therapy, or a judge considering ordering therapy, you may wonder if the client will really benefit from psychotherapy. Does psychotherapy work? If so, why does it work? How much can a person really change? And how does being ordered into therapy versus choosing it change the likelihood of change?

The Benefits of (Imperfect) Parent-Child Relationships
When any relationship becomes difficult, we might catch ourselves asking questions like: Why bother? Is this relationship really worth it? Would I be better off without this person in my life? Is there anything I can do to improve things between us, or should I just give up?

Childhood Sexual Development: When to Raise the Red Flag…It is Not as Often as You May Think

If your cases involve clients sharing concerns regarding sexualized behavior in their children, the following may be helpful in educating yourself, and provide good information to your clients.

Psychology and the Law: Psychologists’ Roles & Testimony in Legal Cases

“So…what exactly is a forensic psychologist?”

This is one of the most common questions we receive at Lepage Associates when clients or attorneys are looking for the best kind of support for their legal cases. Though the title “forensic psychologist” often conjures up misleading images from crime shows, psychologists can genuinely play a pivotal role in multiple parts of the legal process.

How Psychologists Must Respond to Record and/or Testimony Requests
Have you ever subpoenaed a therapist or evaluator for their records or testimony, only to be told ‘no’ and been left frustrated? Ever find yourself arguing with a psychologist to try to tell them why they must release their records or appear for testimony despite their refusal?

TB.I.F.F. – How To Respond To Antagonistic & Hostile Communication
Hostile comments can show up anywhere, including in emails, letters, on Facebook, comments to internet articles, and in-person. This can occur under any circumstances including but not limited to personal relationships, at work, with co-workers, with neighbors, with family members, with customer service personnel or even strangers.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test in Court Cases
Projective tests are used to gauge an individual’s thought patterns, processing, feelings, and needs through the person’s interpretation of ambiguous stimuli.

What Makes a Good Immigration Evaluation?
The process of seeking asylum or citizenship in the United States can be a challenging process on individuals and their families, particularly when rejection of those claims means splitting families apart.

What Makes a Good Reunification Therapy Order?
Reunification therapy (RT) is a form of family therapy, often court-ordered, when a parent-child contact problem has culminated in the child refusing to spend time with one parent. Reunification therapy can be ordered when the child is alienated from the rejected parent (that has a strained relationship with the child) by the favored parent (parent the child has a good relationship with).

Demystifying Reunification Therapy (RT): Roles & Responsibilities of the Therapist and Family Members
If the court has ordered or parties have consented to reunification therapy (RT), your clients may be looking to you as their attorney to explain to them what RT entails and what will be expected of them. Reunification therapy is a form of family therapy often court-ordered when a parent-child contact problem has culminated in the child refusing to spend time with one parent.

Managing COVID Anxiety for Yourself and Your Clients in 2021
Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has upended personal and professional life in the U.S. COVID-19 has interrupted education, derailed personal finances, shuttered businesses and, of course, caused sickness and death. According to the American Psychological Association (2020), few are immune to the coronavirus’s mental health effects: nearly eight in ten Americans report significant pandemic-related stress, and stress has increased for most during the outbreak. While new vaccines bring hope for an end to the pandemic, attorneys currently must assist anxious clients, while themselves coping with challenging times and managing their own pandemic-related stress. Here are five helpful tips to manage personal and professional pandemic-related anxiety in the several months ahead while we await being vaccinated:

A Forensic Evaluator’s Perspective on Juvenile Transfer Evaluations The transfer evaluation of a child/adolescent to adult court requires a comprehensive psychological assessment. Given juvenile court is rehabilitative while adult court is punitive, a forensic psychologist must synthesize extensive data points including, but not limited, future risk, criminal history, psychological functioning, and amenability to treatment. The following information is necessary clinical information for a comprehensive transfer evaluation.

5 Questions Clients Should Ask To Ensure Their Evaluation Process Is Safe During COVID The world does not stop even as the pandemic drags on and most indicators suggest it will be at least one year, if not longer, before we are free from COVID or vaccinated against it. Court cases continue, and clients may need an evaluation for their court case now, not 1-2 years from now. Or if the case has been bumped, an evaluation can help attorneys work with clients on a settlement now using the evaluation results rather than waiting for a court date. (And if they still can’t settle, at least the evaluations are ready for court.)

How Do I Choose Which Evaluation Is Best For Me For Family Court? Every family and situation differs, but here are some important things to consider. The Custody Evaluation is by far the most comprehensive of all options, with the most sources of information and data points of any evaluation. Why is that important? How comprehensive an evaluation is matters greatly, as it increases the confidence level an evaluator can have in their conclusions and recommendations.

Competency To Stand Trial Evaluations
Anyone who has worked in a forensic field or mental health field in general is aware that we can see clients who struggle to comprehend the world around them. This can be especially difficult in legal situations when individuals with mental health concerns are asked to be accountable for their alleged actions and assist in their defense.

Five Ways Family Court Parties Can Make Progress In Their Cases During COVID-19
Your clients are likely looking to you as their attorneys to help them move forward in the midst of stay-at-home orders that make people feel stuck and worried. COVID-19 has brought many businesses to a halt, closed courts, and increased stress for people across the nation.

Custody Evaluations vs. Psychological Evaluations vs. Parental Capacity Evaluations… OH MY! There are many types of evaluations that can be used in a family court custody case, each yielding a different type of information. In this article we describe the most common evaluations used in custody cases, and discuss what you can expect to get out of each one.

Preparing Your Client for Reunification Therapy Often attorneys are the first person explaining reunification therapy to clients, and thus attorneys can play an important role in preparing their clients to be successful in the reunification therapy process.

Dissociation and Forensic Psychology How can you tell if a party is truly dissociating, or just pretending to do so to benefit their case? Since dissociation during a traumatic event is common, forensic psychologists play a vital role in determining credible reports of dissociation from cases of malingering in which individuals are looking to escape liability for violent actions.

Using a Forensic Psychologist in the Juvenile Justice System We are often asked by parents, attorneys, and other professionals how our forensic psychologists can be utilized in juvenile justice. We highlighted several types of services we provide below:

Reunification Therapy Popularity in Court Orders: A Deep Dive into RT Reunification therapy (RT) is a form of family therapy often court-ordered when a parent-child contact problem has culminated in the child refusing to spend time with one parent. This type of refusal is typically seen in separated or divorced families in which there is a favored parent and a rejected parent.

Should You Have Your Client Re-Tested, or Have a Previous Evaluation Reviewed? You have previous psychological testing on your client, yet your instincts tell you something isn’t quite right. So while instincts can clearly be incorrect, they also should not necessarily be ignored. This article presents some varied cases in which re-testing and/or reviews of previous testing revealed and provided information very important to the outcome of the cases.

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children Attorneys may come in contact with cases where a child has been traumatized. Effective treatment is important otherwise the trauma can impede normal development. This article discusses how understanding TF-CBT can help you make appropriate referrals when you learn a child has experienced trauma.

Coaching Clients to Effectively Use a Parenting Coordinator A PC can be most helpful with calming a hostile and chaotic family dynamic if both parents are willing to work with the PC and make changes within themselves. This article is aimed at helping prepare clients to work effectively with their PC.

Providing Clients Guidance on How to Best Approach Psychological Testing Clients coming in for psychological evaluations can frequently have little idea what to expect, and it can be an anxiety-inducing experience for them, considering the potential legal implications of an evaluation. This article describes some general guidelines for preparing clients for this process.

Psychological Forensic Evaluations Knowing when and how to obtain a forensic evaluation – which typically goes beyond the scope of a basic clinical interview or a non-forensic psychological evaluation – could make or break your case. This article discusses several things you should look for in a forensic evaluation.

DUI Assessments
Clients often get referred to our practice who are asked to undergo an evaluation related to a DUI/DWI offense. This article shares a little about what that entails, so you can know what your clients may expect when they seek an evaluation from a private practice following a DUI.

Benefits and Concerns of Using a Parent Coordinator (PC) in High-Conflict Divorce
In high-conflict divorce it can be difficult for parents to make joint decisions regarding their children. When parents seem more invested in winning the conflict than in finding resolution for the sake of the child, it’s time to consider a Parenting Coordinator (PC). This article discusses the role of the PC and the significant benefits gained when one is utilized.

Supporting Clients Through Immigration Experiences
An immigration experience, especially one precipitated by persecution or trauma, is a jarring, life- and identity-altering experience. Being in a helping relationship with someone in such a critical and sensitive life period can be a powerful experience. An evaluation of their trauma symptoms and diagnosis, and resultantly the anticipated effects should they be denied asylum, can be of great benefit to the court in understanding the complexities of the case. In this article, we discuss many of the important factors to be considered when working with this population.

Description of Tests Commonly Used in Psychological Evaluations, Risk Assessments, and/or Custody Evaluations
When thinking that a psychological evaluation of your client, or the other party, may be helpful to your case, ever wish you knew more about what tests might be given? While many if not most evaluations do not include a description of tests used, at Lepage Associates we think it is helpful for the readers to understand more about the tests used and thus we include a description of all tests used on every evaluation we do. Read on to find a description of some of the most common tests used in evaluations.

Interviewing Children: Tips for Attorneys
As an attorney there may be times you have to interview a child. Understanding some general helpful strategies as well as basic developmental tendencies about different age groups can help you decide how to conduct an interview with a child.

Mental Health Parity and Access to Care
Working in the legal profession increases the odds of working with a client who is struggling to cope with stress and potentially other mental health concerns. Understanding their barriers to access and how to overcome them can result in improved outcomes. This article looks at how mental health parity and access to care have made significant gains with room for continued improvement.

Insurance for Court-Ordered Services
One of the most common questions about court-ordered services pertains to insurance coverage. This article discusses the factors used to determine whether services could be reimbursed by insurance and the criteria that must exist. Also included is helpful information regarding what services do not qualify and the reasons why.

Mental Health Leading Cause of Disability
Attorneys are regularly in contact with people experiencing a high amount of stress in their life. Would you be surprised to know that 25% of all adults and 20% of all children meet criteria for a mental health disorder in any given year? Did you know that mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability, and that talk therapy has been empirically-validated to treat mental health disorders? In this article, Dr. Tina Lepage looks at these statistics and how you can help your clients.

Helping Your Clients Navigate Adoption
In this article, Dr. Julia Jacobs describes the common issues that face parents who are going through the adoption process, how evaluations can help these families, and how to help them cope after they have adopted a child into their family.

Custody Evaluations: A Team Approach versus Individual Evaluator
In this article, Dr. Lepage describes the custody evaluation process and how multiple evaluators benefit the family and process.

How to Tactfully & Effectively Refer Clients to Therapy
In this article, we describe ways to encourage your client to attend therapy, to include tips for wording as well as resources to have available for clients.

Domestic Violence Risk Assessment
In this article, we describe the characteristics of abusers and how risk of re-offense is evaluated.

Psychological Evaluations and Divorce: Psychologist’s Language/Naming of Reports
In this article, we provide examples of concerns and requests for psychological evaluations seen in high conflict divorce proceedings. Read here to decide what evaluation is best for your client.

Sexual Offender Risk Assessments
In this article, we discuss the different factors involved in sexual offender recidivism as well as actuarial assessments that are used in these evaluations.

Child Custody Evaluations
In this article, we discuss the different types of psychological tests used in child custody evaluations, to include both traditional psychological tests as well as those developed specifically to assess parenting capacity.

The Group Dynamics & Individual Factors of Teen Violence
In this article, we describe how group dynamics interact with factors such as family history, temperament, and individual risk factors to lead a teenager to engage in violence.

Psychological Forensic Evaluations
In this article from Lawyer’s Weekly, it discusses what to look for in a forensic psychological evaluation, and distinguishes between different types of evaluations and how a psychologist can be helpful in criminal legal cases.

Understanding PTSD for Attorneys
In this article from Lawyer’s Weekly, it defines the diagnosis of PTSD, discusses its causes, and looks at it from the angle of a functional analysis, i.e., explains how you know if it interferes with someone’s functioning.


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