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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Presenting evidence in court can be a daunting challenge both from a scientific and professional standpoint. This book is part of a two-volume series on causality, psychology, and law that has the broad intent of informing psychologists and lawyers about the interaction between mental health and evidence law.
Purpose: The need to keep abreast of the relevant legal standards and expectations has never been more critical and this book aims to provide guidance to psychologists presenting evidence in court as it applies to psychological injury.
Audience: Psychologists appear to be the main audience for this book, but lawyers also may find it of interest to gain a different perspective on psychological injury. Students of these disciplines and anyone involved in presenting evidence in court would find the general legal information helpful.
Features: The information in this book is fairly specific on many topics, but it never becomes tedious. There are introductory and concluding statements for the chapters that help to keep the reader focused on the main points. For novice readers, there is a good introduction to case law regarding evidence in court and a dictionary of terms located in one of the early chapters. The middle chapters cover specific psychological injuries that are common to forensic practice, including posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and mild traumatic brain injury. In addition to these specific topics, there are more general topics on assessments in a legal context and presenting evidence in court. Finally, there is a fairly robust section on malingering as related to the three main psychological injuries discussed previously. There are plenty of references to court cases that have precedence, as well as other relevant references to the psychological injuries themselves, although the first volume in this series provides a more thorough review of the literature.
Assessment: This is a fantastic introduction to the interface between psychology and the law. It contains enough general information that novices will have a secure foundation before delving into specific topics, and more advanced readers can easily skip ahead to the chapters particular to psychological injury and malingering. It would be folly for anyone involved in presenting psychological evidence in court to be without this volume (and perhaps the first volume as well).