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Biography

Greetings!

My name is Samantha Montgomery and I am a Graduate Student in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona States University. I am currently a Master's of Science in Forensic Psychology student in the Arizona State University Online Program which is to be completed by Summer 2021. Upon completion of my Master's program, I will immediately seek placement into the Doctoral Program of Law and Behavioral Science at Arizona State University. I am currently a Course Assistant for multiple professors at Arizona State University and am seeking freelance academic writing work to strengthen my resume and continue to hone in my technical writing skills for future research and grant opportunities.

I have several exceptional scientific essays completed in psychology, sociology and theoretical topics as graded excellent by my Master's program professors. I am an avid researchers with fantastic online access to ASU's library resources containing thousands of peer to peer journal reviews. Additionally, I am well versed in APA formatting, english grammar and spelling. Academia is my passion and scientific writing is a great love of mine. Should you choose me as your writing specialist, you will be met with excitement, enthusiasm and incredible focus on detail in order to exceed your expectations.

EDUCATION:  Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Arizona State University BLOG:  None provided
CERTIFICATIONS:  None provided CURRICULUM VITAE:  Must be logged in to view

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Writing Sample

Final Exam Questions

PSY546 – Advanced Forensic Psychology

Dr. Knowles

1. Discuss the meaning and importance (or lack of importance) of clinical diagnoses in forensic assessments.

The meaning, and importance, of a clinical diagnosis is determined by the context of the assessment conducted and completed. An assessment generated within a forensic setting does not primarily focus on the diagnosis of an individual. A forensic assessment has a different “scope” than a clinical assessment conducted for therapeutic purposes (Melton et al., 2018). Table 3.1 identifies scope as the first main difference between a clinical assessment and forensic assessment (Melton et al., 2018). Specially, Melton et al. (2018), states “Forensic evaluations more commonly address narrowly defined events or interactions of a nonclinical nature; clinical issues (e.g., diagnosis or treatment needs) are often background rather than foreground issues” (p. 43). 

To put it clearly, a forensic assessment narrows its focus strictly within the context of the legal system. In contrast, a therapeutic assessment is specific to diagnosing a patient and treating that diagnosis (Melton et al., 2018). Neal (2018), asserts that forensic psychologists serve the legal system, as well as society, rather than the individual being evaluated. This is a point of significance as the diagnosis, and treatment, of an individual is not of paramount importance to the legal issues at hand, nor the best interest of society. Novotney (2017), confers an important point regarding the employment of forensic psychologists and who the client is. A forensic psychologists’ client is the court or an attorney, not the evaluee of the assessment. It is important to note that determining who the client is, denotes where the ethical and confidentiality boundaries reside (Novotney, 2017).

All of the aforementioned material substantiates the legal boundaries surrounding possible forensic diagnoses and treatment, which are of secondary importance. Treatment of a forensic psychological nature is used to help the court resolve a psycho-legal issue rather than treat the evaluee as if they were a patient (Neal, 2017). 

*APA Reference section included in original document. Full writing sample PDF/word document available upon request.

2. Why and how does a psychologist use police reports and investigation information in forensic assessments?

The reasons why a psychologist uses third-party information, such as a police report and investigation information, during a forensic assessment, are clearly stated by Melton et al. (2018), as “a greater need for accuracy; differences in response style between persons in therapeutic and forensic evaluation contexts; and the greater scrutiny that evaluators’ conclusions receive in the legal arena” (p. 52). How does a forensic psychologist use a police report within the context of a forensic assessment?

The use of a police report, when conducting an evaluation, can be crucial in providing clarity about the mental state of the evaluee at the time of arrest (Melton et al., 2018).  An evaluation, known as the Model II: Institution based, outpatient, requires multiple sources of information to be reviewed. A police report is one of the main third-party information requested by the evaluator to support findings (Melton et al., 2018).

According to a study reviewed by Melton et al. (2018), when determining the competency of the consenter in a search and seizure evaluation, reviewing the police report was essential to determining who the main consenter was. Police reports and investigation information are also extremely important when determining dangerousness to others during a post-insanity-acquittal evaluation (Melton et al., 2018).

Lastly, it is important to mention that “Social service and police reports, in combination with parent interviews, may also be useful in identifying possible precipitants of maltreatment—information that is often helpful for both designing interventions and determining prognosis (Melton et al., 2018, p. 521). How is investigation information used during a forensic assessment? Investigative information is used when evaluating multiple  cases such as juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, child custody in divorce, mental state at the time of offense evaluations, a comparison of rehabilitative and retributive sentencing, presentencing, etc. (Melton et al., 2018).

A few final point in regards to the use of Investigative information are as follows: One, Melton et al. (2018), states that “Probably the least prejudicial use of probabilistic information is in connection with police investigation” (p. 15). Secondly, Investigative information is also crucial when the limits in the reconstructive context are apparent. Lastly, Investigative information, within the archival review of data, is important as to not influence future test results and is far superior than solely conducting psychological and medical tests (Melton et al., 2018). Police reports and investigative information are essential to forensic assessments as long as they are scanned for biased information prior to use. As importantly noticed within this brief overview, the importance of police reports and investigative information are particularly important when assessing legal matters such as juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, child custody in divorce, mental state at the time of offense evaluations, a comparison of rehabilitative and retributive sentencing, presentencing, etc. (Melton et al., 2018). The use of third-party information is crucial for the forensic assessment process and will continue to be crucial for years to come.

*APA Reference section included in original document. Full writing sample PDF/word document available upon request

3. Major differences exist between forensic evaluations and clinical evaluations.  Describe these differences.

There are several differences between forensic evaluations and clinical evaluations. However, the main differences between forensic evaluations and clinical evaluations are the scope, importance of client perspective, voluntariness, autonomy, threats to validity, relationship and dynamics and pace and setting (Melton et al., 2018). The evaluation of each main difference is of great importance as to solidify one’s clear and concise understand of the ethical values supporting each separate evaluation, whether it be forensic or clinical.

What does “scope” mean within a forensic evaluation context? The scope addresses the main reason for why either a forensic assessment or a clinical assessment is conducted. The main concept of a forensic assessment is to provide information to the courts, regarding a psycho-legal matter specific to the evaluee, in order to help generate a final decision by the legal system (Melton et al., 2018). The main reason for a clinical assessment is to determine a patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan. The client in a forensic assessment is the courts, or an attorney, not the evaluee. The client in a clinical assessment is the patient being evaluated (Melton et al., 2018). The second difference, between a forensic and clinical evaluation, is the importance of the client/evaluee’s perspective. During a clinical evaluation, the client’s perspective is of central importance in order to allow the clinician to properly diagnose the patient and provide an accurate treatment plan. In contrast, a forensic assessment is legal by nature and the evaluee’s perspective is not central to the assessment Melton et al., 2018). Why is the evaluee’s perspective of secondary importance in a forensic assessment? When a forensic assessment is conducted, the client is the referring attorney or court of the assessment of an evaluee specific to a legal matter in which they are involved (Melton et al., 2018). The third difference is voluntariness. In regards to a clinical assessment, the patient usually chooses or “voluntarily” participates and requests the assessment. However, in the case of a forensic assessment, the evaluee is less likely to volunteer information unless directed by a judge, jury, employer, etc. The lack of voluntariness within the context of a forensic assessment is mostly due to the matter at hand which is legal by nature (Melton et al., 2018). The fourth difference is autonomy. The autonomy of an individual is their choice to make an informed decision. Autonomy of an individual is embraced and encouraged within the setting of a clinical evaluation. Within the setting of a forensic evaluations, autonomy is challenged due to scheduling conflicts, which makes access to evaluee’s difficult (Melton et al., 2018). The fifth difference is threats to validity. Threats to validity or the incorporation of misinformation is less likely to occur during a clinical evaluation rather than a forensic evaluation (Melton et al., 2018). The sixth difference is the relationship and dynamics of the evaluators and evaluee’s roles. During a clinical evaluation, the therapists produces empathy and actively builds a trusting relationship to allow for a treatment plan to work. Due to the like of voluntariness and concerns for threats to validity, a forensic evaluator cannot risk building an empathetic relationship with an evaluee. The ethics surrounding a forensic examination display concerns for manipulation, confidentiality limitations and a generation of conflicting loyalties to the forensic evaluator, which spawns a less warm connection between the evaluee and the evaluator (Melton et al., 2018). The last major difference is the pace and setting of the assessment. A clinical evaluation usually has a relaxing and warm environment which encourages an open and patient specific pace. A forensic evaluation must be conducted within strict scheduling constraints and must be paced with efficiency as well as accuracy in mind (Melton et al., 2018). These seven differences are the major differences between forensic evaluations and clinical evaluations.

 *APA Reference section included in original document. Full writing sample PDF/word document available upon request

4. Dr. Kirkland, a psychologist, has been providing counseling for the Smith family for some time and knows the family well.  Despite counseling, the marriage falls apart and Mr. and Mrs. Smith decide to divorce.  Child custody arrangements cannot be agreed upon by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the court must decide these arrangements.  The court asks Dr. Kirkland if he would agree to conduct a child custody evaluation of the family the help the court determine custody arrangements.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement and indicate in your discussion whether Dr. Kirkland should accept or decline the referral.

What is a dual forensic-therapeutic relationship? Why is it an important concept when evaluating the conundrum Dr. Kirkland faces in the above question posed? A dual forensic-therapeutic relationship is created when a therapeutic clinician is treating an existing patient, and receives a request to examine that same existing patient within a forensic capacity. Essentially, a forensic-therapeutic relationship is generated when a therapeutic clinician is asked to wear two hates. Each hat cares for one client. The therapeutic hat’s client is the patient seeking treatment. The forensic hat’s client is an attorney or the court system (Melton et al., 2018). A forensic-therapeutic relationship encourages a series of conflicts of interest which should preferably be avoided at all costs. There are very few situations in which a dual therapeutic-forensic role is somewhat acceptable. One specific situation involves a very small county where there is only one therapeutic clinician and no other available forensic evaluators. A therapeutic relationship should always take first precedence with the forensic role being declined. As a therapeutic clinician, you may decline the request to take on a forensic role, however this does not mean that you will not be summoned or subpoenaed to the court room (Melton et al., 2018).

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement and indicate in your discussion whether Dr. Kirkland should accept or decline the referral. There are no advantages to generating an ethical risk such as subjecting one’s expertise to a dual forensic-therapeutic relationship. There are multiple disadvantages to accepting both roles in a dual forensic-therapeutic relationship. These disadvantages include, but are not limited to, impaired judgement and objectivity (Neal, 2017). A multiple relationship, which is the same within a forensic-therapeutic context, may cause exploitation or irreparable harm. The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (EPPCC) and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists (SGFP) do not allow multiple relationships due to the ethical concern for patient privacy, as well as loyalty to the opposite clientele in each role (Neal, 2017). Without careful consideration, and privacy notification to the patient regard their therapist’s dual role obligation, can generate what is known as The Mental Health Professional as a Double Agent. A double agent is a professional who offers their services and then intentionally betrays their examinee. The consequences of a double agent determination would be detrimental to a clinician’s career. Dr. Kirkland should decline the referral (Melton et al., 2018).

 *APA Reference section included in original document. Full writing sample PDF/word document available upon request.

There were a total of 10 essay questions. However, for quick viewing I chose to include only four. If you would like to see the full writing sample. I will gladly provide it.