Friday, October 24, 2008

What I Learned Part 2

Click here for Part 1

So today I started out with a presentation on ethics training in forensic psychiatry. The most useful portion of that was an overview of teaching techniques used to bring out ethics discussion among students. The presenter gave demonstrations of mock trial testimony, videotaped assessments and vignettes involving ethical issues. I thought that was a nice way to keep people engaged and to challenge them a little bit.

Next was a presentation on neonaticide. It started with a presentation of a neonaticide case, then went on to a discussion of national 'safe haven' laws and judicial waiver laws for teenage abortion. A survey of courts in one state revealed that nearly two-thirds of the courts responsible for providing judicial waivers were not educated themselves in the waiver laws. (This reminded me of one of the presentations from yesterday---only 5% of surveyed judges knew what a 'standard error' was in relation to scientific tests, although all judges were responsible for being able to interpret scientific evidence.) The neonaticide talk ended with a videotaped interview of a woman who had committed neonaticide over 20 years before. I've interviewed neonaticide perpetrators so that itself wasn't new to me, but I did enjoy seeing a video of a young Phil Resnick doing the interview. I learned that if neonaticide perpetrators go on to have additional children they generally don't have parenting issues and don't reoffend. (I don't know what base rate data they have on that though.)

The poster sessions were better today. I liked the summary statistics of one state's competency referrals; only about 5% of all defendants were referred for evaluation of competency to stand trial, and on the average it took two months of treatment to restore the defendants who were found incompetent. One rather clever poster presented the results of a study done in Arkansas, where they looked at PRITE scores for psych residents before and after the founding of a forensic psychiatry fellowship. They found that the forensic psychiatry subscale of the PRITE improved significantly when comparing two year pre- and post-fellowship data.

In the afternoon I attended the peer review session that examined and critiqued videotaped testimony. I give extra brownie points to the AAPL members who volunteer their work product for review---the audience is NOT an easy crowd. But it's a good educational experience.

Finally, I attended the session on evaluation of chronic pain and disability. This is not something I commonly do, which was why I thought it would be good to attend. I received an excellent review of the neuroanatomy of pain as well as an overview of how to do a thorough impairment/disability evaluation. One of the speakers presented a meta-analysis of studies looking at litigation and compensation in relation to chronic pain. Not too surprisingly, there was a correlation between levels of reported pain, impairment, and the amount of compensation.

So that was Friday. Tomorrow: forensic aspects of clinical vampirism (I can't wait), false confessions, new landmark cases and computers. Stay tuned.

Click HERE to see what ClinkShrink learns in Part 3.


Sara said...

1. Neonaticide - does that mean mothers, or fathers/stepfathers too?

2. What the hell is clinical vampirism? Can't wait.

ClinkShrink said...

The presentation was specifically about mothers, although there was an interesting suggestion that the law was sexist with this regard. Mothers who kill newborns are generally treated more leniently than fathers who kill newborns even when both are suffering from the same Axis I disorder.

Novalis said...

I would assume that due to the impending recession, disability applications will go through the roof the next couple of years. Levels of perceived pain/disability increase not only in correlation with the potential payoff, but also in correlation with the inability to find a decent job.

Anonymous said...

Novalis, unless they're applying for Worker's Comp (or perhaps SSI), they will still have to go through the onerous and lengthy process of Social Security review, which most often concludes with denial for the original application and initial appeal.

The process of receiving a hearing before an administrative judge takes approximately another 9-12 months beyond that. In all, most people report waiting 2-3 years before receiving benefits, so it won't be a quick fix for any but the most obviously disabled.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting conference. I had a question for clinkshrink if he/she could email me (address is under contacts on my website).