Our book was published in March 2018!
Teaching Psychology & Law
“I suggest we replace the word "screening" with the word "listening." Screening is something you give to someone, while listening is something you do with someone.”
As nationwide efforts continue toward trauma-informed child welfare and juvenile justice systems, we are working to identify more comprehensive trauma assessment methods for at-risk and juvenile justice-involved youth. The focus of this project is to figure out whether the right people are asking the right questions in the right ways in order to best understand the life experiences and circumstances that place youth at risk. In addition to exploring the effectiveness of a variety of quantitative and qualitative trauma assessment methods, we are also examining differences between urban and rural youth and discrepancy between youth and their parents/caregivers in reporting trauma history and impact.
Over the last twenty years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of course offerings and training opportunities in psychology and law as part of undergraduate curricula, as well as at the high school and graduate school levels. As more courses, trainings, and seminars are offered to meet the increasing demand, it is important to incorporate effective methods of teaching psycho-legal course material. In collaboration with Dr. Christina L. Riggs Romaine and Dr. Melinda Wolbransky, we recently completed a two-year, multi-site empirical evaluation of the effectiveness of incorporating experiential activities into Psychology and Law courses. Given that the field of forensic psychology is relatively small when compared to other psychology subspecialties, many undergraduate psychology departments do not have a faculty member with specific psycho-legal or forensic training. To meet this need, and also provide the experienced psychologist with specialized materials, we wrote a teaching activities book for college and university instructors, which provides a wide variety of experiential and simulation activities covering all of the topics typically included in forensic psychology and psychology and law textbooks. For additional information, check out this article on experiential learning in undergraduate psychology and law courses and this blog post on the importance of experiential learning activities.
Child Custody Evaluation
Psychology, Law, & Trauma Lab
In collaboration with Dr. David Weinstock and Dr. John Moran, this project incorporates the well-established structured professional judgment framework used in criminal forensic assessment contexts to develop a more comprehensive and empirically-based family assessment tool. Following an extensive review of the empirical literature and completion of expert focus groups, a pilot version of the family assessment tool is currently in development and will soon be piloted to determine feasibility, factor structure, and inter-rater reliability. Funded by the Wheatridge Ministries - O.P. Kretzmann Memorial Fund for the Healing Arts & Sciences, this project is intended to serve as a first step toward the long-term goal of validating and disseminating the tool to mental health professionals who work with court-involved families.