Sadly, the real danger to you (in terms of your case) is not that the psychologist will care too much and intentionally draft a bad report to spite you but rather that he or she will care too little and deliver a perfunctory, impersonal report. Believe it or not, some psychologists copy and paste whole chunks of evaluations done on other parents and use them for patient after patient after patient.
Such a practice is abominable, but the blame does not rest solely with these corner-cutting psychologists. The expedited, paint-by-numbers process discourages original thinking; it’s sad, but not surprising that many psychologists surrender to the urge to self plagiarize.
Challenging the Diagnosis
The court may strongly consider the psychologist’s opinion about your situation, provided that he or she has a factual basis based on some psychological certainty. However, if the therapist uses certain facts to make a diagnosis, which your attorney later discredits or the court renders inadmissible, then that negative opinion about you can’t be used.
Your attorney can also use a lot of tactics to discredit the diagnosis:
- Maybe the psychologist has exceeded the scope of his or her expertise. A psychologist, for instance, is not qualified to make a psychiatric diagnosis.
- Maybe the diagnosis fails to meet criteria set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-V). Many mental health professionals have criticized the DSM, for various reasons; but in order for a diagnosis to stick — that is, for it to be used as evidence in court — it has to meet DSM criteria. The court will not accept related criteria established by other manuals, such as the ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision).
- Maybe the psychologist is biased. Your attorney might want to take a look at how frequently the therapist works with the division; an overly close, cozy relationship could indicate that the professional can’t be trusted as an objective source. For instance, what if the psychologist makes half his or her income working with the division? Exposing bias, a lack relevant expertise or an overly thin resume or work history can prevent sloppy or inappropriate evidence from being used against you.
For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.