Testifying as a Mental Health Professional:

From the Basics to Suggestions for Providing Effective Testimony

Presented by Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.

Mental health professionals are often called to testify in a variety of court proceedings involving family law, juvenile dependency, and guardianship issues. Testimony may be taken at a hearing or at a pre-trial proceeding such as a deposition. Alternatively, mental health professionals may be called upon to submit a written affidavit or declaration in lieu of providing oral testimony. Their role in any particular matter may range from that of a clinician, an expert, a consultant, to a rebuttal witness. The testimony of a mental health professional may significantly impact the outcome of a case. Mental health professionals who testify without any prior education and training may make mistakes which lead to complaints to their licensing boards or governing bodies.

This webinar will discuss the role of the mental health expert who is providing testimony, what is necessary to qualify as an expert and understanding the limitations of the mental health professional’s knowledge and experience, how to prepare to provide testimony, the fundamental rules to follow when testifying, how testifying may differ by type of proceeding (hearing vs. deposition), the type of assessment (comprehensive 730 vs. a limited or brief assessment) and differences in providing testimony in the courtroom or by video platform. If time permits, basic information about what to include in a declaration will also be discussed.

(all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance a week or two after the Webinar)

  • AFCC California Chapter Members:     $25*
  • Non-Members:     $50
  • Court and Non-Profit Employees who are also AFCC California Chapter Members:     Fee Waived**

*Discount code for California Chapter members is in the email you received announcing this program, or CLICK HERE to log onto the website and receive the code.  If you have never logged into the California Chapter site GO HERE for instructions to log in for the first time.

**For the Court and Non-Profit Employees (who are also AFCC California Chapter Members), USE THIS LINK to request code.  Please include copy of ID, letterhead, business card or other proof of employment.

Continuing Education:

This Webinar provides up to 1 hour of continuing education for the professional categories listed below.

Certificate of Attendance:  Attendees are supplied a certificate of attendance.  You must attend the entire live webinar to receive a certificate of attendance.

Attorneys: Our programs have consistently been approved by the California State Bar for general and family law specialization continuing legal education credit (MCLE & LSCLE (currently pending approval)). Program applies to specialization certification (LSCLE) in the following required topic: custody of children.  Attendees will be provided a MCLE reporting form once program has been approved by the bar.

Minor’s Counsel: The program meets the requirements for continuing education for minor’s counsel under California Rules of Court, Rule 5.242(c).

Psychologists: The webinar is eligible for up to 1 hour of continuing education for psychologists.  The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, California Chapter (AFCC-CA), is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists.  AFCC-CA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

LCSW and MFT: AFCC-CA is approved by the California Psychological Association (CPA) to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences now recognizes CPA continuing education credit for license renewal for LCSWs and MFTs. AFCC-CA maintains responsibility for the program and its contents.

California Child Custody Evaluators and Mediators: The course outlined in the agenda has been approved as corresponding to subject areas specified in California Rules of Court, Rule 5.210 and 5.225.  The views expressed in this training are those of the trainer and do not necessarily represent the official positions or policies of the Judicial Council of California.

Learning Objectives:

    • Participants will be able to differentiate between the various roles in which a mental health professional can be called to provide testimony.
    • Participants will be able to list proactive steps which can be taken to assist a mental health professional while testimony is being given.
    • Participants will be able to identify and apply fundamental principles to follow while testifying in a deposition or hearing.
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