The Role of the Mental Health Professional

Use the menu at right to explore all of the mental health evaluator training resources in this section.

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Central American Victims of Gang Violence as Asylum Seekers: The Role of the Forensic Expert

Jesus-Rentas, G, Boehnlein, J, Sparr, L (2010) Journal of the American Academy Psychiatry Law 38:490–8, 2010

In recent years, mental health practitioners have become involved in the evaluation of asylum seekers who claim to be victims of torture and persecution because of their political points of view, or because of oppression in their country of origin. In this article, the authors explore the requirements for requesting asylum in the United States, the expectations of the immigration court and immigration attorneys, and the purpose and methodology of forensic consultation, through the case of a Central American asylum applicant.

Link: http://www.jaapl.org/content/38/4/490.full.pdf+html

Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law

The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law is a resource hub on traumatic memory and its effect on asylum claims.  Among other valuable resources, it shares scholarly papers by CSEL authors, which might otherwise require a paid journal subscription. 

Link: http://csel.org.uk

Forensic Dual or Multiple Relationships: Treating Clinician vs Forensic Expert

Zur, Offer. Dual Relationships: The ethical way

Listing of resources and articles on the role of Expert vs. Therapist.

Link: http://www.zurinstitute.com/forensic_multiple_relationships.html

Irreconcilable Conflict Between Therapeutic and Forensic Roles

Greenberg, S., Shuman, D, (1997), Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, February 1997 Vol. 28, No. 1, 50-57, American Psychological Association

The authors present the principles that underlie why combining clinical and forensic roles is conflicting and problematical, and stress the importance of avoiding such conflicts, avoiding the threat to the efficacy of therapy, avoiding the threat to the accuracy of judicial determinations, and avoiding deception when providing testimony.

Link: http://www.drbevsmallwood.com/Forensic_vs_Therapeutic.pdf

Sample Sequence for Mental Health Professional (MHP) Role in Asylum Process

Attachment(s): PDF icon Sample Sequence.pdf

Schedule of interaction points between lawyer and expert in preparing the case, National Capacity-building Project, 7/28/11, Materials from training institute: Torture Survivors Seeking Asylum:  The Intersection of Forensic Mental Health Evaluation and Legal Representation. (2011, 1 p.)

The Role of Mental Health Professionals in Political Asylum Processing

Meffert, Susan, Musalo, Karen, McNiel, Dale and Binder, Renée (2010), Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry, 38:479-489

The authors describe the legal context of asylum applications, identify concerns of particular legal importance that can be addressed by mental health evaluations of asylees, and discuss the role of mental health professionals in consultations with immigration attorneys, including training in safe and efficient interviewing of traumatized clients and development of skills to protect against the risk of burnout and secondary trauma among immigration attorneys.

Link: http://www.jaapl.org/content/38/4/479.full.pdf+html?sid=040ff850-a515-4ea0-b6e2-...