Global Institute for Behavior Practitioners and Examiners
Hello, my name is Michael Moates I am a Licensed Behavior Analyst, Adjunct College Professor of Psychology, and non-profit leader. I am here representing my organization GIBPE which is a non-profit that recognizes the challenges of general specialties of mental health working with various populations.
As with many specialities in the behavioral and mental health realm, it is important to make sure that those who testify as expert witnesses are not general practitioners but rather specialized in this subject area.
Psychologists who testify in the court system need to be able to address multiple areas including forensic assessment, Virginia law, clinical psychology (since Virginia licenses Applied Psychologists), etc.
A general psychologist may not be aware of the consequences of what they say in court and this is extremely important when evaluating cases because you have to way the values of one situation versus another.
I would take the petition a step further to:
Determine the qualifications of an expert witness, in this case a psychologist, and the requirements of practice.
Many states and organizations do this do this including:
American Board of Professional Psychology - https://www.dsh.ca.gov/Publications/docs/Regulations/2018_01_05/AB_1962_Education_and_Training_Draft_Regulations.pdf
American Psychological Association - https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/forensic-psychology
Some psychologist finish their doctorate in 5 years and there is no way they have the ability to cover everything that is needed to testify in court. Making a wrong recommendation can have life altering consequences and the board should take that into consideration when making its decision.
Michael Moates, MA, QBA, LBA, QMHP-Trainee
Executive Director, Global Institute for Behavior Practitioners and Examiners