Dr. John Markey

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What is a Forensic Psychologist?

A Forensic Psychologist is a licensed Psychologist, who specializes in assessing, evaluating and treating individuals, couples and families who have been involved with the criminal or civil legal systems.

What is Forensic Psychology?

Forensic Psychology is an area of psychology specifically geared to individuals involved in the legal system, either criminally or civilly. This could involve someone facing criminal charges or someone who has recently been released from incarceration. This could also pertain to someone who is involved in divorce, spousal support, guardianship and/or conservatorship proceedings.

How is it determined that a Forensic Psychologist is needed?

In most cases, a defense attorney and/or a prosecuting attorney make the decision to hire the services of an expert, in the form of a Forensic Psychologist. They make this determination, based on evidence and findings of the criminal investigation, as well as the potential defense which may be utilized in legal proceedings.

What types of legal cases might benefit from a Forensic Psychologist?

Honestly, all legal cases could benefit from a Forensic Psychologist. A Forensic Psychologist assesses and evaluates the facts and those involved in the legal case, offering an unbiased and objective opinion.

Are there professional ethics to which a Forensic Psychologist must adhere?

Yes and they can be read here.

Is a Forensic Psychologist an “advocate” for one side in legal matters?

No. Although the Forensic Psychologist may be hired as an expert by one side, he/she does not serve as an advocate. His/Her job is to answer the referral questions only, no matter which side the findings support.

Is a Forensic Psychologist different than a Forensic Psychiatrist?

Yes. A Forensic Psychologist has obtained a Psy.D or Ph.D. A Foresnic Psychiatrist has obtained an MD or DO. One main difference between the two is that a Psychiatrist can prescribe medications and a Psychologist cannot.

What are the licensing requirements for Psychologists in Pennsylvania?

A) Doctoral program must be accredited by the APA or designated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board/National Register Designation Project.

B) Complete the equivalent of one year of full-time supervised professional experience prior to degree being granted and again after degree is granted.

C) Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and the Pennsylvania Psychology Law Examination.

What type of education is required to become a Forensic Psychologist?

A Forensic Psychologist must obtain a doctorate degree in psychology, complete a pre-doctoral internship and a postdoctoral fellowship and obtain a license in the state in which he/she chooses to practice.

What is a forensic evaluation?

This is a full psychological evaluation, which may include psychodiagnostic testing in some situations. It focuses on the history, mental status and behaviors of the person being evaluated, specifically as it related to the individual's mental health and legal involvement.

Is the information I provide confidential?

No. Any and all information disclosed during the forensic evaluation will be incorporated into the final report. The report is provided only to the referring entity, however that entity may release the report to other entities, as needed or required.

Do I have exclusive control of the forensic evaluation findings?

No. The findings are the findings and cannot be changed at the request of anyone involved, with the exception of misinformation. At the onset of the evaluation, Dr. Markey is responsible for explaining the limits of confidentiality, as the report will always be released to the referring entity. The report will also be released to anyone, as court ordered if such an order is the reason for the referral.

What is involved in a forensic evaluation?

A forensic evaluation is very detailed and involves much time and diligence by the Forensic Psychologist. Dr. Markey spends a minimum of 10 hours per evaluation, however the average tends to be 15 hours. Depending on the type of evaluation requested, there could be just one face to face meeting with the individual or several, ranging from one hour to several hours. Any prior and current medical records are obtained by Dr. Markey and reviewed. If testing is administered, time is spent on the scoring and interpretation of the data. A full typed report is then provided to the referring entity. Depending on the type of evaluation requested and the results, expert testimony may be need and Dr. Markey will be present in court to provide such testimony.

How do I know if I need a forensic evaluation?

This is something that a judge will court order at his /her discretion or that a defense or prosecuting attorney will request. At times, a forensic evaluation is required by an individual’s Probation Officer as well. If you have legal counsel, it is always best to consult him/her so you are aware of exactly what you are in need of.

Why is a forensic evaluation important?

A forensic evaluation can assist the court process in many different ways, which is individualized and specific to each legal case. The main importance is for a trained and licensed professional to evaluate and offer an objective professional perspective.

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