Self-Awareness and Self-Analysis (Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity)
The case study analyzed involved Ms A who struggles with substance abuse problem and diminished capacity. Therefore, making it challenging to provide adequate and appropriate care to her child. Forensic psychological assessment of the patient indicates significant mental incapacity and substance abuse. consequently, which could increase the risk of abuse and neglect if given custody of her child who is currently under child protective services (CPS). Basically, I selected the case study since its context requires in-depth psychological assessment (Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity).
This assessment aligns with my practice as a forensic psychologist and preparation of expert witness testimony. For example, the patient’s mental health and substance abuse problem must be assessed. More so when preparing expert witness testimony to be used during child custody deliberations at the court. In this case, the case provides ample opportunities to familiarize with the administration, interpretation, and presentation of evidence obtained from the forensic assessment tools.
Also, I selected the case since it requires the design and application of treatment strategies for the patient’s mental incapacity and substance abuse problem. It expands my understanding and helps fulfill my obligation of identifying suitable treatment strategies and interventions for patients. Consequently, after the psychological assessment, such as the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques recommended for the patient (Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity).
Moreover, the case required application of code of ethics. More so, which could sharpen my comprehension and integration of American Psychological Association (APA) ethical standards in forensic practice, such as confidentiality and informed consent. I considered the case an opportunity to understand the role of ethics in preparing expert witness testimony such as during psychological assessment to ensure validity, reliability, and admissibility of the collected evidence(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity).
Theory and Application (Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity)
Psychological assessment of Ms A’s mental capacity and substance use problem involved the application of psychoanalysis and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theories. These theories were used to explore the context of Ms A’s mental incapacity and substance abuse problem. Moreover, ensuring development of an admissible and reliable expert witness testimony. For instance, Thomas (2021) explains that the theory of psychoanalysis assumes that individual’s personalities are attributed to inner struggles, of the mind, such as repressed childhood memories or thoughts.
Based on the theory, it is evident that Ms A was affected adverse childhood experiences leading to mental incapacity and the need to use illicit substances to cope with the adverse memories. Consequently, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory assumes that social interactions consisting of social learning processes like mentorship¸ influences an individual’s mental development (Tzuriel & Tzuriel, 2021). Based on the theory, Ms A’s cognitive development diminished due to inadequate social interactions and mentorship activities. Also due to predisposing her to extreme paranoia, reduced self-esteem, and troubled concentration(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity). .
Besides, the mindfulness and CBT treatment interventions treatment strategies also employed Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning. The theory of psychoanalysis informed the use of CBT strategy. Consequently, which focused on restructuring and improving an individual’s understanding of their emotions and unconscious behavioral patterns, leading to the development of positive behaviors (Polak et al., 2020). The mindfulness technique suggested, like meditation, also improved individual’s unconscious thought patterns, which were affected by adverse childhood experiences highlighted in the psychoanalysis theory(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity). .
Also, Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning informed the choice of CBT and mindfulness treatment interventions. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning assumes that individuals learn and change behaviors based on reinforcement and punishment (Schlinger, 2021). In this case, CBT techniques can be used to punish Ms A’s low self-esteem and desire for substance abuse. Hence, eliminating negative behaviors that could influence child abuse and neglect. Therefore, I can use the forensic theories in future practice as a forensic psychologist during patient’s psychological assessment and suggestion of treatment strategies to improve their conditions(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity).
I encountered potential ethical violation during patient assessment where I almost shared patients’ confidential information while consulting an experienced forensic psychologist. The psychologist reminded me of the potential ethical violation, ensuring integrity of Ms A privacy. As a result, I believe that the APA ethical codes are necessary in forensic psychology since it helped maintain integrity of the patient’s information, whose disclosure could have rendered the expert witness testimony invalid and inadmissible in court(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity).
Besides, I have learned the principle of informed consent, which require psychologist to disclose every information about the assessment procedures to the patient (Lazaridis, 2023). Some assessment tools like Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) may trigger repressed trauma, which can deteriorate the patient’s mental health. In this case, informed consent integrate the concept of psychoanalysis theory by ensuring that the assessment tools do not trigger repressed childhood memories.
Besides, I also learned the need for competency during psychological assessment. As a forensic psychologist, I should maintain objectivity, integrity, and appropriately administer psychological assessment tools and suggest patient treatment strategies while respecting the client’s status, irrespective of age, gender, or identity (Bipeta, 2019)(Substance Abuse and Mental Incapacity)
The competency standard align with the skinner’s theory of operant conditioning which assume that people learn and change behaviors based on reinforcement and punishment (Schlinger, 2021). In this case, maintaining competence and objectivity can help me influence positive behavior in the patient for improved cognitive functioning and management of the substance abuse problem. Thus, I can apply the patient confidentiality, informed consent, and competency standards to improve future practice as a forensic psychologist.
Lazaridis, C. (2023). Informed consent and decision-making for patients with acquired cognitive impairment. Neurologic Clinics, 41(3), 433-442. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ncl.2023.03.001
Schlinger, H. D. (2021). The impact of BF Skinner’s science of operant learning on early childhood research, theory, treatment, and care. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 1089-1106. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2020.1855155
Thomas, K. (2021). Psychodynamics: The Freudian approach. In I. Roth (Ed). Introduction to Psychology (pp. 131-187). Psychology Press.
Tzuriel, D., & Tzuriel, D. (2021). The Socio-Cultural Theory of Vygotsky. Mediated Learning and Cognitive Modifiability, 53-66. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75692-5_3
Bipeta, R. (2019). Legal and ethical aspects of mental health care. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 41(2), 108-112. https://doi.org/10.4103%2FIJPSYM.IJPSYM_59_19
Polak, K., Meyer, B. L., Neale, Z. E., & Reisweber, J. (2020). Program evaluation of group transcending self therapy: An integrative modular cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance use disorders. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 14, 1178221820947653. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178221820947653