I should discuss my consultation practice. You are a “vulnerable population” and I need to be careful with you.
You are what’s considered a “vulnerable population” in professional psychology because of your compromised autonomy in decision-making due to the court’s involvement in your lives, and because of the immense emotional distress and need you are experiencing.
That makes you vulnerable to exploitation.
Psychologists are not allowed to directly market to possible mental health clients because of your vulnerability. But we have to earn a living. Often the way we recruit into our practice is by giving lectures and talks to the target population of our referral base, such as to PTAs for a school=based practice, or to autism parent groups if that’s where we are, and we leave our cards in the back of the room for people to take.
We also collect into professional groups and then refer among our colleagues based on our personal connections within these groups, “You should go see so-n-so, they specialize in that.”
You families in the courts are even more vulnerable, and you qualify as a special designation within professional psychology – a “special population” (like prisoners) – because of your compromised autonomy in decision-making surrounding your life resulting from the court’s involvement.
You are vulnerable to exploitation – and – you are being financially exploited by all the professionals around you. They take your money and solve nothing. That’s called financial exploitation of a vulnerable population.
I need to tread carefully with you when I discuss my consulting practice. I make my living from you – and – you are a needy population and an especially vulnerable population.
I’m fine making my living from you – I’m a clinical psychologist, it’s my job. My current practice is fine without you entering my practice, there are enough clients coming to me that I do not necessarily need to recruit more – there is always a risk of exploitation with a vulnerable population.
Spousal Financial Abuse
The primary difficulty surrounding your vulnerability is the potential financial spousal abuse of the targeted parent by the narcissistic-borderline Dark Triad-Tetrad personality, using the court system and the high cost of attorneys to drain the targeted parent of the financial resources they need to protect themselves and their child.
To the extent that forensic custody evaluations charge parents from $20,000 to $40,000 for a custody evaluation that solves nothing, this represents financial exploitation of a vulnerable population by the forensic psychologists and participation in the spousal financial abuse of the targeted parent.
The forensic psychologists are participating in the spousal financial abuse of the targeted parent by exploiting the vulnerability of these parent rather than solving the pathology in the family. They take the parent’s money for an activity – but that activity solves nothing and the family continues to its destruction.
The forensic psychologists are participating in the financial spousal abuse of the targeted parent by the narcissistic-borderline Dark Triad-Tetrad personality parent. I won’t participate.
I make my living from your families – from human suffering – I’m a clinical psychologist, it’s my job to go to the suffering to help lessen it and hopefully end it. I’m a trauma psychologist out of foster care, this is my pathology, child abuse and complex trauma. Specifically, the trans-generational transmission of trauma.
We need outside and independent review of the practices in court-involved professional psychology – of everyone. You are a vulnerable population and you warrant professional designation as such, subject to additional safeguards and protections surrounding your compromised autonomy in decision-making regarding your life because of the court’s involvement.
We need to develop procedural safeguards and steps to protect this vulnerable population from exploitation of their vulnerability by the surrounding mental health professionals.
Until that occurs, how do you protect yourself from exploitation?
Get a second opinion for your decisions. Talk to a family member support person, discuss your options with your attorney. In the legal system, always follow the advice of your attorney. In the healthcare system, follow the advice of your doctor. If there is a question about their advice, get a second opinion.
You have a court-involved problem that needs a healthcare solution.
Dr. Childress Consulting Practice
I have a clinical psychology (treatment) consulting practice in the courts surrounding divorce, parent-child attachment pathology, and child custody conflict. I don’t do direct treatment anymore, I have no real-world office. I am an old clinical psychologist in a consulting practice now.
Once things settle-down in the family courts, I may develop a private online psychotherapy practice with something OTHER than court-involved family conflict.
Currently, I hold general public consultations the first week of every month at my online office (doxy.me/drchildress) with scheduling through my website. For non-California residents, I limit these general public consultations to one session (maybe two depending on circumstances).
Attorneys seeking consultation on any mental health issue (I am a full-service clinical psychologist in the domains of by expertise) can contact me directly through my email at: email@example.com.
I am typically engaged in three possible roles:
1) Content Expert Testimony – I am provided with no material specific to the situation and my testimony is limited to the knowledge domains of professional psychology.
I bill my expert testimony separately from any other scope-of-service agreement, and I bill in 4-hour blocks of time reserved from my schedule for testimony at my standard clinical rate.
2) Document Review & Consultation – I am provided with material from the attorney to review, typically surrounding mental health reports (and perhaps some additional material) to provide an opinion from clinical psychology on the material reviewed. My involvement is developed through a scope-of service-agreement developed with the attorney and their client.
I bill to the scope of service agreement, not to my hours. For my billing purposes, I think in small-package (one or two therapy reports with minimal additional information), or large-package (a forensic custody report or complex cases with extensive information needing to be reviewed). I provide the client with a set-fee for the scope of service sought, this provides the parent-client with a set cost for my involvement for the scope of service.
3) Second-Opinion Consultation on Active Assessment – In this role, I am engaged as a clinical consultant to the involved mental health professionals in conducting a current clinical assessment with the family. The Tele-Health Consulting Handout available on my ‘gold-trees’ Consulting website Attorney Resources section contains more information about options for my clinical second-opinion consultation with the involved mental health professionals.
You are a vulnerable population who warrant additional safeguards and protections from exploitation by the involved mental health professionals – I am an involved mental health professional.
Protections come from established standards of practice, such as those required by the APA ethics code. Additional protections are afforded by second-opinion consultations.
If you are considering involving Dr. Childress into your matter, I recommend you seek a second opinion from someone else that you trust – hopefully you trust your attorney, and that should be the person whose judgment you should rely on when navigating the legal system.
Other trusted family members or close friends can provide valuable counsel in decision-making.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 18857