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Advanced Issues in Maternal Mental Health Forensics

Presented By Gina Wong, PhD | Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD
Gina Wong, PhD Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD

3 Hours | 3 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Advanced Issues in Maternal Mental Health Forensics is presented by Gina Wong, PhD, and Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD.

Designed for professionals interested in advancing their understanding of psycho-legal issues pertaining to maternal mental illness, this program provides a nuanced understanding of relevant issues in forensic settings, utilizing actual cases.

This interdisciplinary program addresses a range of topics, including altruistic filicide, pseudocyesis, paternal filicide, and unperceived pregnancies (pregnancy denial), as well as child abuse and neglect leading to injury or the death of a child. The role of complex and developmental trauma and its neurobiological impact on maternal mental illness is also addressed.

The program content focuses on advanced issues in maternal mental health forensics as they relate to practice, education, and research. Augmented by real case examples and the instructors' combined breadth of experience as forensic expert witnesses, this training provides a nuanced understanding of maternal filicide and other crimes perpetrated by mothers in the throes of mental illness.

Maternal mental Health and Its Application to Forensics: Training the Expert Witness series overview

Series Overview: More psychiatric admissions are around the childbearing years than at any other time in the female life cycle. Women’s reproductive mental health is a highly specialized field of study with an increasingly critical role in the arena of criminal justice. This four-program series introduces participants to the foundations of maternal mental health as it applies to forensics and women who are criminally charged for harm to their child/children. Each program furthers the current empirically based understanding of maternal mental health forensics and promotes accepted standards and protocols in this emerging specialty. This series advances fundamental clinical, legal, and sociocultural perspectives in addition to encouraging critical dialogue in this evolving field. Basic diagnosis and assessment, the expert witness's role in evaluation and report writing, and advanced training in expert testimony is included. Case analysis and discussion are integral parts of the didactic learning inherent in this program.

Programs in this series include:

  1. Basic Diagnosis and Assessment of Maternal Mental Illness in the Forensic Arena
  2. Role of the Expert Witness in Establishing the Relationship Between Maternal Mental Illness & Criminally Charged Behaviour
  3. Advanced Issues in Maternal Mental Health Forensics
  4. Advanced Training in Maternal Mental Health Forensics and Courtroom Testimony

  5. Program Materials

    The materials listed below are not included with the program purchase and must be purchased separately.

    Strongly Recommended
    Foundational Texts

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

CE / CPD Credit

APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Identify the differences in motivations between paternal and maternal filicide cases through evidence-based research and actual cases

Describe the role of childhood trauma and its connection to altruistic filicide cases through case examples

Describe the relationship between a woman’s reproductive history and later psychiatric illnesses that increases vulnerability to criminal behavior

Describe the implications of intergenerational trauma on attachment security and its relationship to impoverished brain development and lower executive functioning skills

Identify the symptom presentation and the demographic profile of women with unperceived pregnancies

Formulate an understanding of how the birth of a baby can act as a catalyst for criminal behavior that does not involve infanticide (e.g., kidnapping, homicide of other victims)

Describe the role of media in affecting public perception on cases of maternal and paternal filicid


Presented By

Gina Wong, PhD

Dr. Gina Wong, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta, Canada, and a professor at Athabasca University. She specializes in perinatal and reproductive mental health and has researched perinatal mood and anxiety disorders from narrative perspectives. She educates, consults, and trains in the f...

Presented By

Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD

Dr. Diana Lynn Barnes, Psy.D., PMH-C, LMFT practices in Los Angeles, California. She has been a forensic expert in the specialized area of maternal mental illness for over 20 years. She is frequently retained by legal counsel on cases of pregnancy denial and neonaticide, postpartum psychosis, and in...


1. Program Introduction

2. Understanding Trauma's Impact: From Brain Development to Altruistic Filicide and Postpartum Psychosis

3. Unforeseen Motherhood: Exploring the Catalyst Role of Infants

4. Exploring Filicide: Media Representations and Motives

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

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CE Credit

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