Forensic Evaluations

 There are as many types of forensic evaluations as there are reasons to conduct them. The most common reasons to request an evaluation are to explain unusual behaviors related to criminal acts, to assess competency to determine needed levels of care, and for family court matters. Dr. Coughlin provides assistance to attorneys representing clients in criminal matters by evaluating the client’s mental status and substance use issues, if any. She has collaborated with other specialists to assist separating families in developing Life Care Plans for special needs children. As a certified Guardian ad Litem, qualified parenting coordinator, and family therapist, Dr. Coughlin is uniquely qualified to assess the needs of individuals transitioning to coparent from separate households.

 When parents decide to separate, it can be helpful to have mental health and/or substance use evaluations. Addictive disorders often underlie the decision to separate. Sometimes there are unfounded allegations of substance misuse. Dr. Coughlin can provide evaluations to help. Assessment usually involves objective testing, one or more diagnostic interviews, and a published report. When needed, Dr. Coughlin will conduct collateral interviews to obtain additional information. This better ensures that recommendations for coparenting and treatment, if needed, protect the best interests of the children and assure their safety.
Mental health and substance use evaluations are often conducted independently of court orders. However, if you wish to present the results of the assessment to the court, it is advisable to allow Dr. Coughlin to consult with your attorney to determine the scope of the evaluation. Evaluations range in complexity from a simple diagnostic interview to extensive testing, document reviews, collateral references, and multiple interviews.

Evaluations cannot be completed once a person has begun psychotherapy with Dr. Coughlin. Occasionally, the doctor will be able to provide treatment after an evaluation, however, that must be agreed upon by the client and other parties to the case. Clients are encouraged to seek treatment with another provider when Dr. Coughlin has conducted the evaluation.