2011 APS Forensic Psychology National Conference


All workshops will be held on Thursday 4 August 2011 at the conference venue, The Outrigger, Little Hastings Street, Noosa. Cost is per workshop as indicated on the registration form and conference website.

Please note that for delegates attending the workshops, morning tea/afternoon tea and lunch is provided.

All workshops will commence at 9am and conclude at 5pm.

It is anticipated that workshops will sell out quickly and delegates are advised to book early to secure a place as there is limited availability.

Workshop One

Diagnosis in flux: Best practices in forensic deployment of the DSM-5 and ICD-11

Karen Franklin

Psychiatric diagnoses are sometimes reified in court cases in order to further various legal outcomes, from longer (or shorter) prison sentences to monetary damages to lifetime incapacitation through civil commitment. With stakes high, it is no wonder that controversy exists as to the reliability and validity of certain lynchpin diagnoses in the expanding niches of forensic and correctional psychology.

This workshop will provide a framework to assist practitioners in understanding the current controversies surrounding the DSM, ICD, and other diagnostic systems, and applying psychiatric diagnoses in an ethical and professionally defensible manner in forensic work.

The workshop will begin with an overview of the history and development of formal diagnostic systems, limitations in diagnostic reliability and validity, and current proposals for modifications in the major diagnostic systems.

The remainder of the workshop will focus on diagnoses of primary import in forensic psychology. These include (1) antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy, (2) the sexual paraphilias, and (3) novel psychiatric disorders, among others. We will explore current controversies surrounding diagnoses and diagnostic proposals, and how these consequential labels may be applied in an ethically defensible manner that minimizes unintentional bias.

The primary goal of this workshop is to assist practitioners in thinking through both the context and consequences of psychiatric diagnoses in forensic and correctional settings. Participants will be assisted to develop their own standards that encourage ethical and professionally defensible practices in this controversial area.


Workshop Two

Advances in Assessment of Adolescents in Juvenile Justice

Thomas Grisso

This workshop describes advances during the past decade in assessing youths in juvenile justice settings. It is presented in four parts.

(A) Recent developmental research on the brain and behavior has dramatically increased our understanding of ways in which teens have not yet developed adult capacities for judgment and decision making. The workshop describes how these findings offer a conceptual background for forensic evaluations of adolescents.

(B) The question of youths' fitness to stand trial in delinquency court requires the application of concepts and methods not encountered in fitness evaluations of adults. The workshop discusses recent research on youths' trial fitness and its application in fitness evaluations, and describes recent guidelines for performing these evaluations from a developmental perspective.

(C) Recent research has provided new tools to improve estimates of risk of future recidivism and violence among delinquent youths. The workshop describes the benefits and limits of several of these tools, including measures of psychopathic traits in adolescents.

(D) Recent research has provided us a new appreciation of the prevalence and impact of mental disorders among youths in juvenile justice settings. The workshop examines new screening tools with which juvenile justice programs can identify youths with mental disorders, and it describes difficulties to overcome when assisting them to implement these tools.


Workshop Three

Forensic applications of the personality assessment inventory

Leslie C. Morey, PhD and John Edens

This workshop will: (1) review the basic design and structure of the PAI, as well as general interpretive strategies and guidelines; (2) provide basic interpretive guidelines for basic substantive scales and subscales of the PAI; (3) review interpretive strategies for the detection of various forms of response distortion on the PAI; (4) examine the utility of the PAI in identifying psychopathology and personality pathology in criminal populations; (5) summarise evidence concerning the utility of the PAI in identifying those at increased risk for recidivism and institutional misconduct; and (6) address issues concerning the uses and admissibility of the PAI in relation to legal cases.


Workshop Four

Assessing Families: Practical and Legal Considerations in the Family Court.

Don Thomson, Jenni Neoh, Phil Watts

There is no area of forensic assessment more complex than that of assessing a dysfunctional family for the family court. Whether the issues are about best arrangements for the children's future, or the safety of the children, a thorough assessment greatly assists the court. This workshop is designed to provide you with a working understanding of such assessments and develop the practical skills.

This workshop has the unique combination of two leading clinical practitioners and an eminent academic combining their approach to share knowledge and skills about the practical and legal implications of conducting family court assessments.

This workshop assumes good general clinical skills and some understanding of families as a system. It is designed to assist both those workers who are full-time in the area and those who want to understand more clearly the issues relevant to families involved in the court process, whether or not they intend to prepare court reports.

  • Dr Jennifer Neoh
    Dr Jennifer Neoh is a clinical psychologist whose private practice is focused entirely on a family law population. She works as a single expert and has completed over 500 psychological reports for the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court. Other areas of practice are family therapy where the complexity of the issues ranges from allegation of sexual abuse, and alienation of one of the parents. Her focus is on reportable non-confidential therapy which allows her to work closely with the Court to provide better outcomes for families.

    Dr Neoh has a number of publications based on her research into children's perspectives of shared parenting and allegations of sexual abuse. Other areas of interest are the educating of the community of the special competencies needed for working with families in family law and promoting the professional needs and supports for psychologists who work in family law.

  • Dr Phil Watts
    Dr Phil Watts, is a well known West Australian Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and is the author of "a Reliable Witness" (2004) and "Shared Care or Divide Lives" (in press). He is the past chairman of the WA Branch of the APS Forensic College. With over 20 years experience as a psychologist, the last 14 in private practice, he has a broad range of forensic and clinical experience. He runs a busy practice involving forensic assessment of families and individuals, and clinical treatment of adults. A significant aspect of his practice includes running training courses for various professions including psychologists, social workers, and lawyers. Due to popular demand, this is his fifth national training circuit providing practical skills training to psychologists and social workers.

    With nearly 800 appointments as "Single Expert" in the Family Court and 750 reports for other courts, he is highly experienced within the legal arena. He has given evidence in numerous trials in the Children's, Family, District and Supreme Courts. He has also appeared before the Criminal Injuries Compensation board and the Immigration Appeals Tribunal. An interesting peculiarity is that he actually enjoys giving evidence in court!


Back to top