Mental Health Evaluators

Richard F. Mollica

Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR is the Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico and completed his Psychiatry residency at Yale Medical School. While at Yale he also trained in epidemiology and received a philosophy degree from the Divinity School. In 1981, Dr. Mollica co-founded the Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC). Over the past two decades HPRT and IPC have pioneered the mental health care of survivors of mass violence and torture.

Exploring the Impact of Trauma on Therapists: Vicarious Resilience and Related Concepts in Training

An integrative training framework articulating multiple perspectives on the impact of trauma work is offered with a training/supervision exercise to address the complex and systemic relationships that affect therapists in both positive and negative manners. The concepts of vicarious trauma, vicarious resilience, compassion fatigue, resilience, posttraumatic growth, altruism born of suffering, and reciprocity are reviewed.

Testimony Example

Unauthenticated transcript of testimony by medical examiner Dr. Sondra Crosby in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the destroyer Cole. Dr. Crosby's direct examination begins on page 7; pertinent questions on page 10. An excellent example of the kinds of questions and kind of experience that an expert witness in torture treatment may encounter.

Introduction to Training for Mental Health Professionals Evaluating Torture Survivors for Asylum Claims

This mental health evaluator training section has been compiled through the combined efforts of Lisa Matos, Project Director of the Human Rights Clinic of HealthRight International, and participants in the National Capacity Building Project's 2011 institute: Torture Survivors Seeking Asylum: The Intersection of Forensic Mental Health Evaluation and Legal Representation.

Should discrepant accounts given by asylum seekers be taken as proof of deceit?

Jane Herlihy, DClinPsych and Stuart Turner, MD, BChir, MA. TORTURE Journal, Volume 16, No. 2, 2006

The consistency of an asylum-seeker’s account has become a central question in determining asylum status. One of the ways in which credibility is judged by decision makers is the assessment of the account given by the claimant of his or her experiences of persecution. The authors address one area of decision making regarding judgments of credibility which seems not to be based on the best scientific knowledge, but on incorrect lay assumptions about how memory works.

Note: The link below is to the

Expert Witness in Immigration Proceedings

Malphrus, Garry (2010), Immigration Law Advisor - A Monthly Legal Publication of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Vol. 4, No. 5, 1-14

This article examines case law from the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal circuit courts of appeals addressing the use of expert evidence in immigration proceedings, including questions of admissibility and weight. It also discusses the Federal Rules of Evidence regarding expert evidence as a possible guide to assist in navigating this terrain.

Secondary Traumatization and Burnout in Professionals Working with Torture Survivors

Birck, Angelika (2001), Traumatology, 7: 85-90

Abstract: Twenty-five professionals of the Treatment Center for Torture Victims in Berlin (BZFO) took part in a study about burnout, secondary traumatization and satisfaction with work. Burnout was very low, whereas PTSD-like symptoms were increased in mental health professionals as well as in administration staff. Beliefs about the value and safety of other people were most disrupted. Satisfaction with work was high.

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