Court-Involved Clinical Psychology

I wrote this email to an attorney. I am sharing it more broadly here on my blog:

I am defining a role – a court-involved clinical psychologist – treatment not custody.
It’s a dangerous world for us here – the pathology is dangerous and opposing counsel wants to discredit us in any way possible.
That’s why no one comes. We’ve abandoned you to your own “special” psychologists and they are the worst imaginable. We don’t care. If you threaten us… we won’t come – good luck.
It’s a passive-aggressive response from clinical psychologists – fine – we don’t care, good luck with your own “special” psychologists, and then we walk away – We’re Pilate washing our hands of the courts and allowing the sacrifice of the innocent, of our children… until you’re finished and you want our help.
I’m the first back because this is my pathology. I’m a trauma psychologist out of foster care, I’m not from here, I’m from there and I’ve come back.
It is immensely dangerous for me here. The pathology wants my license, the opposing counsel wants my license, the DV-monkeys want my license, the forensic psychologists want my license (witness Oregon). No one will work with these families, and I am alone and entirely exposed to a lot of people who want to hurt me for what I’m doing in the courts.
We, the clinical psychologists, don’t care about you or the families in the courts. I am NOT putting my license on the line for this nightmare conflict that no one wants to solve – so we’ve given you your own “special” psychologists… leave me alone. They will not come because you threaten their license. If you lost your law license whenever you lost a case in the family courts, would you work in the family courts if you always had to win, with so many people actively going after your law license all the time?
It’s a passive-aggressive thing from clinical psychology to the courts… screw you… we’re not coming. Good luck.
I’m back. My task is to make it safe for the others to return. Walk where I walk, step where I step, and you’ll be safe.
I’m a “judge” in healthcare – I’m a doctor – same level in my system as judges in yours. We don’t have attorney-advocate roles, we don’t need advocates in healthcare, my diagnosis is always accurate (if there’s a question, I get an immediate appellate decision from a second-opinion consult), we turned that role into nurses to assist in our care.
Judge & attorney – Doctor & nurse
As a court-involved clinical psychologist, I’m one “judge” talking across systems to another judge. I’m not part of your attorney taking-side thing.
I’m a doctor. I always stay a doctor. When I move systems I become evidence, but I’m still a doctor-in-evidence, I’m never part of your system. Forensic psychologists forgot that and have lost their way.
I don’t work for you or your client – I work for the child, that’s who holds my “duty of care” obligations as a doctor (like parens patriae for my counterpart). In a family my client is always the child, and then it broadens out. When the court is involved, I get a second client, the Court.
I now have two clients, the child in the matter and the Court. I don’t work for you or your client, you’re the ones who are the connection from one “judge” in healthcare to the judge in the legal system.
I have to do right by the child – I have to do right by the Court. Sometimes the parent-attorney may not like everything I say to the Court, but I have an obligation to the Court as my client to not take sides –  a “judge”-to-judge obligation as a doctor. I’m treatment not custody.
Because of that, the Court can trust my opinion as a doctor, and it can rely on my doctor-opinions from the “judge” in healthcare for its decisions – I don’t intrude on the Court’s jurisdiction, I’m entirely treatment. I remain in my world and role.
The reason the attorney-and-parent want me involved is not because I’m on their side, but exactly because I’m not – they may not like everything I say, but the Court will appreciate my role. It’s to the Court’s decision not mine. The legal system has advocates, they’re called attorneys. I remain contained in my role.
As a doctor reviewing my own in my healthcare system, I’m an appellate judge. I can apply the criteria to the evidence and see if things were properly done. I’m not the trial “judge” – my strongest recommendation is that another “trial” in my system needs to be conducted, and I kick the decision-made back to a lower-“court” for retrial.
The appellate judge does not retry the case. Nor do I as a doctor, I don’t have “duty of care” for the family. I always have duty to protect obligations when I’m in any professional role.
I’m defining a role. I’m bringing my people back, the clinical psychologists – they will refuse to come – good luck.
I am focusing on the DBT therapists because they’re my trauma people – they’re tough enough for personality pathology, they have the model for personality pathology, and they won’t be afraid to come if they can bring their DBT model.
That’s where things stand.
The therapies that will be coming here once we get them here will be DBT first, “informed” by EFT. Either one of those as the point-person (if they agree) would serve for assessment with telehealth consultation support.
We are building the plane while flying it – we need local airports to land at – their current runways are too small. I can help them enlarge their runways to increase capacity – that’s the phase we’re in right now with mental health… it’s called “developing and increasing capacity” in the mental health system to meet the needs of the court.
I keep a Current Vitae on my Consulting Website – Attorney Resource page.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 18857

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s