Physical traumas such as a serious burn injury can be profoundly traumatic. Serious burns result in sudden unanticipated trauma related to the individual's exposure to a potentially life-threatening experience. One day the burn victim begins their day like any other, and by the end of the day the burn victim's life may be changed forever by the traumatic event experienced. A Forensic Psychological Expert utilizes well respected psychological tests to assess the emotional impact of such injuries. The psychological tests employed are statistically reliable and valid. The choice of valid and reliable psychological tests employed by a Forensic Psychologist are similar to tests used by a physician to diagnose diabetes or other medical disorders. Such tests offer norms that compare the individual in question to a large normative sample, in order to evaluate the burn victim's psychological functioning compared to that of the "normal" person.
When divorce occurs in the family, an inevitable loss occurs in the lives of the parents as well as children. Positive adjustment to divorce comes when both of the parents as well as the children develop healthy coping methods to deal with the loss. This enables both parents and children to move forward with their new lives. Unfortunately, many parents who suffer from their own disturbed attachment history or mental health issues, are unable to put aside their anger and constructively cope with the loss. In such cases, parents often undermine the children's relationship with the other parent, in order to express their own unresolved parental anger and sadness about the divorce.
Formerly this disorder has been referred to as Munchausen by Proxy and later, Factitious Disorder by Proxy. In the current version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic Criteria, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V), the disorder is referred to as Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, (DSM-V 300.19). The perpetrator and not the victim is given this diagnosis. The victim is given an abuse diagnosis.
In forensic interviews, where there are allegations of child sexual abuse, it is imperative that interviewers incorporate the current Professional Standards of Care in order to obtain forensically sound information from the alleged child victim. Interviews that produce unreliable information present significant risk to both the alleged victim as well as perpetrator. Those falsely accused suffer irreparable damage; the risks are equally significant if a perpetrator is allowed to continue to offend, simply because the interviewer used techniques that undermined the forensic reliability and credibility of the child's statements.
Forensic Psychologists can assist both Plaintiff and Defense lawyers in their assessment of the emotional damages related to traumatic injuries with adults as well as children. PTSD in children and teens is caused by events that have caused them or someone else to be killed or badly injured. Not all children develop PTSD after a traumatic injury. 3-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys develop PTSD in response to a traumatic experience. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors. Nearly 100% get PTSD if they see a parent being killed or if they see a sexual assault. 90% of sexually abused children develop PTSD; 77% of children who see a school shooting develop PTSD; and 35% of children who see violence in the area they live, develop PTSD (National Center for PTSD in Children and Teens).
Amputation is an injury involving loss of function, loss of sensation, and loss of body image. It is not surprising amputees often suffer psychological difficulties following such an event. Further, these psychological difficulties can also result in long term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the amputee. Often these psychological injuries and resultant PTSD can be difficult to explain to a jury. The forensic expert's presentation of psychological testing assessing potential PTSD is one part of proving or disproving damages. However, the forensic expert can better assist either the Defense or Plaintiff's attorney by addressing specific functions in the amputee that have been affected by the injury.