LIVE: Eight Best Practices to Improve Forensic Psychological Assessments

August 6, 2024  |  9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Pacific

Presented By Tess M.S Neal, PhD
Tess M.S Neal, PhD

August 6, 2024
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Pacific

4 Hours | 4 CEs

$200 Registration | $175 Early Registration (July 30th) | Live Virtual Training via Zoom

Tess M.S Neal, PhD, presents a live virtual professional training program on the Eight Best Practices to Improve Forensic Psychological Assessments.

The focus of this training will review the state of forensic mental health assessment. It will begin with a discussion of the rationale and development of the project; Eight Best Practices to Improve Forensic Psychological Assessments. Dr. Neal will provide an overview of forensic psychology’s history and discuss its possible future with multiple audiences in mind. This training will distill decades of scholarship from and about fundamental basic science and forensic science, clinical and forensic psychology, and the law of expert evidence into eight best practices for the validity of a forensic psychological assessment. There will be further discussion on the best practices that should apply when a psychological assessment relies on science's norms, values, and esteem to inform legal processes.

The presentation is based on a free article recently published in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. Portions of this original synthesis were prepared simultaneously for this article and for a report commissioned by the independent public inquiry by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia called the Mass Casualty Commission. Drs. Martire and Neal served as expert consultants in the inquiry process. Our reports and testimony are publicly available.

The eight key considerations include:

  1. foundational validity of the assessment;
  2. validity of the assessment as applied;
  3. management and mitigation of bias;
  4. attention to quality assurance;
  5. appropriate communication of data, results, and opinions;
  6. explicit consideration of limitations and assumptions;
  7. weighing of alternative views or disagreements; and
  8. adherence to ethical obligations, professional guidelines, codes of conduct, and rules of evidence.

Dr. Neal will then introduce a free resource developed and posted online on the open science framework with 117 specific questions that practitioners (psychologists, lawyers, judges) can ask as they read through any particular psychological assessment: these questions make concrete the 8 best practices as they would apply to any given case.

This training discusses how the authors used this framework in a specific high-profile case to date: as part of our expert testimony in the Mass Casualty Commission in Canada to evaluate the quality of a psychological autopsy that was used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the aftermath of Canada's deadliest mass shooting. That expert testimony is publicly available if people are interested in the content - we'll share information about how to access more information about the case, this particular psychological assessment of interest, and our analysis of its quality through this framework.

Participants are encouraged to bring a copy of their own most recent report to evaluate with the 117 questions we developed. If participants are unable to bring a report, then a sample will be provided for them.

There will be designated time to consider how the questions apply to their work. The training will end with discussing the process and soliciting people's ideas for moving the field further.

This training is intended for all career stages, specialty areas, and environments involving mental health & law.

Intended Audience

This live program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

Experience Level

This live 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.

Presented By

Tess M.S Neal, PhD

Tess M.S. Neal, PhD is an associate professor of psychology and serves as a Dean’s Professor at Iowa State University. Before moving to Iowa in Fall 2023, she was tenured at Arizona State University, where she was the founding director of the Future of Forensic Science Initiative. She is a scientist...

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe how strategies borrowed from open science, forensic science, judgment and decision making, clinical and forensic psychology, and the law of expert evidence can be used to evaluate and improve the validity of forensic psychological assessment

Describe eight best practices to evaluate the rigor and value of a forensic psychological assessment

Describe three free high-quality resources for improving forensic psychological assessment practice

Describe the differences in the foundational validity from the applied validity of a psychological assessment

Describe how to minimize bias in assessment practices

Describe weaknesses of how the law has evaluated psychological assessment evidence

Identify at least 3 specific areas for effective cross-examination of psychological assessments in legal contexts

Demonstrate one’s own practices to align with and exceed standards of practice and promote improvement in the field


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Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Have a sudden change of plans and are unable to attend live? No worries; you will be given access to the on-demand version of the program once available. Please note if you attend live, no access to the recording will be given.

Event Conduct

Event Conduct

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