Table 1

Differences Between Treatment and Forensic Roles of the Expert Consultant

TherapistsForensic Examiners
Who is the client?PatientAttorney or the court
GoalsProvide treatment and supportObjectively evaluate a defendant or claimant
DataAccept what the client saysCorroborate examinee's statements with collateral information
EmphasisTreatment, helpingAssessment of psycholegal matter at stake
TrustAssume basic honestyAssess for malingering or attempts to create a positive impression
AccountabilityAnticipate little challenge to conclusions, diagnosesAnticipate cross examination, consider alternative hypotheses, explanations
PrivilegeGoverned by therapist-client privilegeGoverned by attorney-client privilege, if any
Knowledge of legal mattersMay be unaware of legal standards, rules of evidenceFamiliar with case law governing the matter at hand. Daubert and Frye standards of evidence
AttitudeAvoid court appearancesAccept legal proceedings as part of the work; develop testimony skills
  • Data adapted from Greenberg and Shuman.26