1215 Louisiana Ave., Suite 100, Winter Park, FL 32789
What is a forensic psychological evaluation? A forensic evaluation is psychological testing or assessment performed for a specific purpose related to a legal issue. Dr. McHugh administers psychological testing for a variety of forensic purposes, including:
Personal injury / Psychological injury
Criminal mitigation / Diminished capacity
Competency to stand trial
Sentencing / dispositional assessment
Child abuse allegations (parents and children)
Termination of parental rights
Visitation risk assessments
Adoption readiness evaluations
These assessments are available for children, juveniles and adults. Some require a court order. In addition to administering and interpreting forensic psychological evaluations, Dr. McHugh is able to provide expert testimony about her conclusions. She is experienced in assisting attorneys in understanding mental health issues relating to the legal process and in providing testimony that may assist the court in decision-making.
Personal injury and psychological injury evaluations Psychological trauma can result from witnessing or experiencing an event that causes physical injury or death, or extreme emotional distress. Psychological trauma may result in a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- which is the most commonly expected diagnosis -- but it can also cause depression, simple phobias, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, or other symptoms. The evaluation of possible malingering (feigning a mental illness) is also considered in psychological evaluations in personal injury cases.
Possible reasons for psychological consultation in personal injury cases:
Evaluations of individuals involved in traumatic events to assess their psychological functioning, and to determine if they have any psychological impairment that is a direct result of that trauma.
Evaluation of the impact of trauma on pre-existing psychological conditions to determine if the trauma has exacerbated those conditions.
Second opinion evaluations on individuals who have already been identified as experiencing the effects of psychological trauma. This is often called an IME (Independent Medical Exam) by insurance carriers, even if the assessment is psychological rather than medical. The goal may be to confirm or challenge the earlier findings, to evaluate the causal relationship between a traumatic event and the psychological problem identified, to assess the effects of treatment, or to determine if additional treatment is indicated or warranted.
Treatment may be provided to individuals following identification of psychological trauma. This may be done in conjunction with an evaluation to identify the psychological trauma, or after a diagnosis has been made by another psychologist or other health professional.
Attorneys, treatment centers and other agencies may contact Dr. McHugh to discuss their specific needs.