Role of the Expert Witness in Establishing the Relationship Between Maternal Mental Illness & Criminally Charged Behaviour

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

6 Hours | 6 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Role of the Expert Witness in Establishing the Relationship Between Maternal Mental Illness & Criminally Charged Behaviour is presented by Gina Wong, PhD, and Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD.

This intermediate program is designed for mental health professionals interested in the intersection between maternal mental illness and the criminal justice system. Foundational theories relevant to motivations for maternal filicide are advanced. Utilizing actual forensic cases, training includes the clinical development of a maternal filicide case from initial contact through completion of the written report. Specific assessment and evaluation tools are summarized.

This program promotes a deeper understanding of the relationship between psychosocial history and future risk for maternal filicide. Attendees will become familiar with developing a reproductive road map in explaining a woman’s state of mind at the time of the commission of the filicidal act.

This program also focuses on the applied practice of principles specific to the field of maternal filicide. Didactic approaches are augmented by the inclusion of experiential learning through discussion of actual forensic cases.

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 are 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:

Describe the distinctions between the clinical role and the evaluator role

Describe various evidence-based theories pertaining to multiple motivations underlying maternal filicide

Identify the seminal research that lays the foundation for judicial thinking in forensic cases related to maternal filicide

Describe the discordance between laws of insanity and the mental health understanding of psychosis

Describe the neurobiological impact of complex and developmental trauma on the development of postpartum psychosis

Describe the steps involved from intake to completion of a written report

Identify the integral components of a thorough report

Describe the process of document review to inform the clinical evaluation

Describe the significance of psychosocial and psychiatric history as risk factors for maternal filicide

Explain the origins of a woman’s mental illness around childbearing through the creation of a reproductive roadmap


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. Navigating the Complexity of Postpartum Psychosis

2. Maternal Filicide and Postpartum Psychosis

3. Maternal Filicide Motives

4. Case Study: Ashley

5. Components of a Thorough Forensic Report

6. Document Review

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