Forensic Services

Forensic Services

Please note that our evaluations are based on best practices; that is, we use tests that are standardized, objective, valid, and reliable. We conduct assessments within the strict guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) and we strictly follow the Laws and Rules of the Florida Psychology Board. Please, have your attorney consult with us before arranging an evaluation. 

Other forensic services not listed here may be provided, please contact us. 

About the forensic psychological evaluation:

A general psychological evaluation typically assesses whether the individual in question suffers from any psychiatric condition or possesses specific personality characteristics that may impact the present legal concern. Usually, the court or attorney recommends such an evaluation, and their specific questions are addressed and answered.

The process typically includes a forensic interview with the individual in question, psychological testing, interview of collateral sources, review of relevant legal records, and review of physical and mental health records. A forensic report is written and provided to the attorney or the court.

Violence Risk Assessment:

The Violence Risk Assessment involves a psychological evaluation to assess the individual’s potential risk for violent behavior in the future, as well as his or her overall psychological functioning.

It is noted that consistently accurate predictions of future violence cannot be made by mental health professionals; whether a person will behave aggressively is a function of a variety of factors that include history, personal disposition, and situational variables (e.g., provocation) that cannot all be known in advance. However, it is possible to consider the available historical data, mental status features, and the anticipated placement/situational factors to estimate relative risk.

This type of assessment is usually requested by an attorney, the court, the employer, or the school, and it involves multiple components which include the following:

  • Forensic interview with the individual.
  • Forensic interview with collateral sources.
  • Psychological testing.
  • Review of physical and mental health records.
  • Review of legal records.

Guardianship Evaluation:

This type of evaluation is usually recommended when there are questions about the adult’s psychological ability for self-care, or the adult’s ability to make important decisions, handle their finances, or live safely on their own. The psychologist is usually consulted about these capacities.

This type of evaluation typically includes a clinical interview with the individual, family, friends, or other sources of collateral information. Psychological testing is involved in obtaining objective information regarding essential domains such as cognitive functioning and psychopathology. The psychologist also reviews physical and mental health records, as well as any pertinent legal records. 

Immigration Evaluation:

Purpose:

The purpose of a psychological evaluation for the immigration court varies from case to case (i.e., hardship vs. U visa vs. asylum). However, the main reason is to document any mental health conditions or diagnoses and to describe, from a psychosocial point of view, how potential deportation would impact the individual and their family.

What to expect of this process?

This process typically involves forensic interviews with the individual, psychological testing, review of legal and mental health records. This is an in-depth assessment that usually lasts about two to four hours, depending on the complexity of the situation. 

What to bring to the evaluation?

Many individuals have relevant medical and or school records; these may be very helpful. 

What happens after the evaluation?

Following the interview and administration of psychological testing, We score your tests and we analyze the results. The process also involves researching specific psychosocial factors that could affect you and your family if you were deported or not allowed in the U.S. A comprehensive report is drafted and provided to your attorney for review and approval. Once your attorney approves the report, a final one is sent to him or her. Writing a report may take four to five hours, depending on the complexity of the case.

Dr. Penate offer services in Spanish!

Fitness for Duty Evaluation:

Why conduct a fitness-for-duty evaluation?

An employer usually requests this type of evaluation. The assessment is sometimes required as a pre-employment condition in jobs that involve high-risk duties such as the police force or security. It can also be necessary if the individual was involved in an incident at work or school, or if the employee has displayed behavioral problems that raise concerns.  Therefore, the purpose of this evaluation is to determine the individual’s psychologically suitable to manage the duties of the job securely, as not to threaten the health or safety of him or herself, co-workers, or the general public.

What does a fitness-for-duty evaluation involve?

This evaluation typically involves forensic interviews with the individual and other sources of collateral information, psychological testing which will generate objective data of psychological adjustment, as well as a review of legal and mental health records. A variety of data sources will be needed. 

Types of fitness-for-duty evaluations:

Several evaluations fall in the fitness-for-duty evaluation category to include the following:

  • Post offer, Pre-placement evaluation helps the employer identify individuals at risk of harm if placed on the job, in which case, the offer of employment may be rescinded to protect the at-risk employee.  In the case of a disability, the testing can help identify specific accommodations for success on the job.
  • Post-employment fitness-for-duty evaluation is specific to identifying work-related deficits and allows the employer to intercede before an injury occurs.
  • Return to work (RTW) is a program established by businesses that allows the employee to remain at work or return safely to an appropriate job. The goal is to return the injured employee to the workplace as soon as they are medically able.

Workers Comp/Disability Evaluations:

This type of evaluation typically involves a psychological evaluation, which includes a clinical/forensic interview with the individual; additional interviews with collateral sources might be needed, as well as an in-depth review of medical and legal records. The evaluation also involves testing of the individual to assist in a Worker’s Compensation or disability claim. Psychological or neuropsychological testing is completed, and the selection of tests is dependent on the referral question and the nature of the claimed impairment.

We do not determine whether you qualify for benefits.