Frequently Used Terms

Frequently Used Terms

The identification of an examinee’s potential mitigating and aggravating factors from a medico-legal perspective that may assist the court or attorney. 

Basic behaviors through daily, adaptive living skills. 

 Determines if an individual is aware of their needs and resources, and are they able to make informed decisions about them, such as wills and medical directives. Also called testamentary competency.

Face-to-face interaction with an examinee that includes noting the presenting problem and its history, as well as inquiry into various domains of their background (e.g., family of origin, education, occupation, treatment).

Determining if juveniles function as others of the same chronological age, and if they have the understanding and abilities to warrant transfer to adult court to be tried as adults.

 A defendant must understand their legal situation (charges, penalties, options) and be able to assist their attorney in a reasonable and rational manner. Also called capacity to proceed to trial.

When an appropriate trial-level or supra-judicial bodies appoint examiners to conduct specialized evaluations.

Sometimes used in place of mental state; mental state being broader to encompass cognitive and thinking state and brain-behavior functioning in addition to emotions.

When admitted by the court, testimony that is based on an accepted area of expertise and that may answer opinion questions that lay or fact witnesses may not.

Some tests require face-to-face administration.

Consultation with parties in order to identify clinical, medical, and psychological information in matters before adjudicating systems (administrative, licensing, civil, criminal).

In forensic evaluations the client is the court, attorney, or some third party. In clinical evaluations the client is the individual.

A clinical interview that is broadened to include inquiries into relevant adjudicatory topics (juvenile competency, civil competency, capacity to proceed to trial on criminal matters, mental state at the time of a criminal offense).

A psychologists with post-graduate training and experience in providing services within a medico-legal setting.

Persons or agencies that may provide services unique to forensic issues, such as competency or capacity restoration services.

IMEs are specialized medico-legal evaluations conducted on behalf of a third party in order to get an objective understanding about an employee, claimant, or litigant.

In most states, an affirmative defense raised by the defendant that asserts due to mental disorder they were not able to understand what they were doing or they are unable to understand the wrongfulness of their actions at the time of a criminal offense.

A full assessment of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health in juveniles. This evaluation assesses cognitive immaturity, trauma history, neurodevelopmental disorders, and mental disorder, and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Programs designed to identify and intervene with juveniles charged with crimes, who can benefit from remediation or treatment in lieu of incarceration.

The intentional exaggeration or fabrication of signs or symptoms of a medical or other disorder.

A psychologist with specialized training and experience in medicine and medical settings

Term of art that encompasses the application of clinical, medical, and psychological data to matters before adjudicating systems (administrative, licensing, civil, criminal).

Term of art in the court system that refers to diversion away from incarceration in lieu of treatment or remedication.

A disturbance or deficiency in cognitive, emotional, adaptive, or functional ability.

Refers to brain-behavior domains including attention, concentration, memory, visual-motor skills, problem-solving, and other.

The cause of a significant disruption in a physiological or psychological system or process.

May assist in teasing out the expression of existent signs and symptoms of trauma or abuse.

Risk assessment from a social, behavioral, or clinical psychological perspective.

The identification of static and dynamic factors that help understand an examinee’s increased or decreased risk (self/other violence, recidivism, prognosis for treatment).

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