Best Practices in Competence to Stand Trial Self-Paced

Best Practices in Competence to Stand Trial Self-Paced


20 Hours | 20 CEs (CEUs)

Program Description

This self-paced training program on Best Practices in the Evaluation of Competence to Stand Trial is presented by Dr. Patricia Zapf.

One of the primary foundations of criminal law is that all defendants have a right to a fair trial. Towards this end, upwards of 60,000 evaluations of competency to stand trial are conducted annually in the USA. Research has shown that the opinion of the evaluator in these evaluations is accepted by the courts upwards of 95% of the time. Thus, it is imperative that these evaluations be conducted using best practices. Two important sources have recently been recognized as setting the foundation for best practices in competency evaluation. This training program provides a strong foundation for any mental health professional involved in or wishing to become involved in the evaluation of adjudicative competence.

This training program covers the legal foundations for adjudicative competence, including new developments in the conceptualization of the Dusky standard, as well as practical and theoretical issues in competency evaluation. Competency assessment instruments are reviewed in depth as are report writing and expert testimony. The trainee is taken through the foundations for competency evaluation, the specific abilities to be evaluated, how to formulate a case conceptualization and ultimate opinion regarding a defendant’s adjudicative competence, how to communicate opinions about competence in the written report and through expert testimony.

The fee for this training program is $500 and includes all materials.

Intended Audience

This training program is intended for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals who conduct competency evaluations for the criminal courts or those who would like to expand their practice to offer evaluations of adjudicative competence. This training program is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:


  • Describe important legal cases that deal with issues relevant to the interpretation adjudicative competence standards and statutes
  • Describe the developments in the conceptualization of the Dusky Standard
  • Describe the research on evaluations of adjudicative competence
  • Describe theoretical issues in competency evaluation
  • Describe the most recent clinical guidance on competency evaluation
  • Describe the best practices model
  • Describe the administration procedures for various competency assessment instruments
  • Describe the psychometric properties of CAIs
  • Describe the process for case and opinion formulation
  • Describe the process of communicating opinions regarding criminal competence
  • Describe required, appropriate, and inappropriate report contents
  • Describe opinions about competence in the written report and through expert testimony

    About Dr. Patricia Zapf

    Dr. Patricia Zapf obtained her PhD in Clinical Forensic psychology from Simon Fraser University in Canada and currently holds the position of Professor in the Department of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. She is the Editor of the American Psychology-Law Society book series; Associate Editor of Law and Human Behavior; and is on the Editorial Boards of 5 journals in psychology and law. Dr. Zapf serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services and is the past President of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS; Division 41, APA).
    Dr. Zapf has published 8 books and manuals and over 85 articles and chapters, mainly on the assessment and conceptualization of criminal competencies. She was appointed Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Distinguished Member of the American Psychology-Law Society in 2006 for outstanding contributions to the field of law and psychology for her work in competency evaluation. In addition to her research, she serves as consultant to various criminal justice and policy organizations and has a private practice in forensic assessment. She has conducted over 2500 forensic evaluations in both the United States and Canada and has served as an expert witness in a number of cases, including the competency hearing of Jose Padilla.
    Dr. Zapf is the author of Best Practices in Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial; editor of Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law: A Handbook for Lawyers; and Editor-in-Chief of the APA Handbook of Forensic Psychology. She served on the National Judicial College’s Mental Competency—Best Practices Model panel of experts and travels throughout the United States and Internationally to train legal and mental health professionals on best practices in forensic evaluation.

    “This program was very helpful to me and very well organized. Reading materials were very useful. I particularly appreciated an opportunity to address issues and questions pertaining to an ongoing evaluation that I was conducting at the time, and to receive comprehensive guidance from the course instructor. Thank you! I will definitely consider other courses offered by CONCEPT.” – Psychologist in Private Practice

    “I absolutely loved it!!!! Couldn’t have been more happy with the content and delivery. Dr. Zapf is inspiring and reminds me to do great work.” -Early Career Psychologist

    “Fantastic program! I felt the use of examples was very helpful and I thought that the downloads and other materials were very helpful.” -State Forensic Evaluator

    Continuing Education Credit

    This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 20 CE hours upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

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

    Your satisfaction with our programs, products and services is important to us; however, because these are immediately made available to you upon registration and payment, we do not issue refunds. Should you find that a particular program, product or service is not the right fit for you, we will assist you in crediting your registration towards another one of our offerings that might better suit you.

    We specialize in training groups — from a handful to hundreds — and are happy to contact you to discuss your group training needs.

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