Forensic Psychology

Marc A. Martinez, PhD, ABPP

American Board of Forensic Psychology Specialist

 

Q. What is your practice like?

 

I am the owner of a private practice located in Rochester, NY.  The primary focus of my practice is devoted to forensic psychological evaluations of juveniles and adults involved in civil or criminal legal proceedings.  I specialize in evaluating risk for future sexual offense or general violence, targeted violence, competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and the feigning of mental illness or cognitive impairment.  My forensic services also include providing expert testimony, consultation, and professional trainings.  In my clinical practice, I provide individual therapy and evaluations of personality, mental illness, and learning impairments

 

Q.  What motivated you to seek board certification?

 

I attended my first American Academy of Forensic Psychology workshops in 2007 as a graduate student.  The workshops I attended were dedicated to an intensive survey of forensic psychology practice and the assessment of malingering.  During and following the workshop, I was very impressed by the quality of the instruction and knowledge of the presenters, who were all members of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.  It was at that time that I knew I wanted to become board certified in forensic psychology, with the hope that I would someday acquire a similar level of competency. 

 

Q.  What was the most challenging and/or surprising aspect of the board certification process?

 

I began preparing for board certification during graduate school by reading the materials on the American Board of Forensic Psychology recommended reading list.  Over the course of my preparation, I found managing my expectations of the written examination the most challenging aspect.  This was largely because of the daunting amount of material about which I needed to become proficient.  By using the recommended reading list as a guide and speaking with board certified forensic psychologists, I eventually developed the confidence to take the examination.  Looking back, I unexpectedly enjoyed the entire board certification process.  I found it challenging, fair, collegial, and very rewarding.  My only regret is that I did not begin sooner.

 

Q.  What advice would you give a candidate for board certification?

 

Prior to applying for board certification, I had the benefit of learning from several highly skilled forensic psychologistswhich I believe was invaluable in my preparation.  Their instruction led me to value the importance of the scientific method in forensic psychology practice and inspired me to strive continuously to improve my skills through ongoing education.  My mentors also emphasized the importance of maintaining a practice consistent with the ethical code of conduct and forensic psychology specialty guidelines.  For these reasons, I would advise a candidate for board certification to seek out as many training opportunities from skilled forensic psychologists as possible. 

 

 

Adrienne C. Davis, PhD ABPP

 

Q. What is your practice like? 

 

I am a forensic evaluator for the state of Georgia. My position at a forensic psychiatric hospital includes completing court-ordered evaluations of juvenile offenders.  These evaluations involve competency to stand trial and psychological evaluations to address dispositional issues. Occasionally we are asked to assist the Court in determining if a juvenile in superior court should be returned to juvenile court for adjudication.  I also maintain a private practice providing psychotherapy services for adolescents and adults with a variety of mental health issues. Since I maintain my license in California as well as Georgia, I am also appointed on capital cases there.

 

Q. What motivated you to seek board certification? 

 

My graduate degree was in clinical psychology but my first job after earning my doctorate was in the forensic arena working and training on the job with several forensic psychiatrists.  It was not a formal post-doc in forensic psychology but the training was excellent. For the next 25 years I practiced as a forensic psychologist and, along the way, attended many of the workshops offered by the American Academy of Forensic Psychology to stay current with the literature and status of the discipline. I was encouraged to apply for board certification by a board member. Although I had not been a student for over 25 years, I decided to take on the challenge because I wanted to improve my forensic foundation by studying case law, ethics, theory and principles, and other issues specific to forensic practice. 

 

Q. What were the most challenging and/or surprising aspects of the certification process?  

 

Once I made the decision to begin the process, I actually enjoyed reading the seminal cases that laid the foundation for mental health law generally and forensic practice specifically.  I realized how much I didn’t know.  I found the process an excellent way of solidifying my forensic career after over two decades of practice. In addition, it crystalized my understanding and appreciation of the legal and historical underpinnings of what psychologists have to offer the legal system.  I gained a better understanding of why we do what we do.

 

Q. What advice would you give a candidate applying for board certification?   

 

Go for it!  What you gain in terms of thoroughly understanding your professional identity as a forensic psychologist is priceless.  Remember that it is a lengthy process but well worth the investment of time and energy.

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