Forensic Psychology: Internet Discussion with Cheryl Paradis

Author of The Measure of Madness

Cheryl Paradis, Psy.D., is the author of The Measure of Madness: Inside the Disturbed and Disturbing Criminal Mind. She has more than twenty years experience as a forensic psychologist and has evaluated thousands of seriously mentally ill and violent individuals. Her research has been published in journals such as Psychiatric Services and The Journal of Psychiatry and Law and she blogs for Psychology Today. She has testified in both the New York State and federal court systems as an expert in psychological and neuropsychological testing. She is an associate professor of psychology at Marymount Manhattan College and clinical associate professor at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

Forensic psychologists are often misrepresented in the media. Psychologists who work with the legal system and apply psychological principles in evaluating defendants are practicing forensic psychology. Seldom do we get a realistic idea of the actual, difficult work that forensic psychologists do. Dr. Paradis has changed that and has written a book that engages her audience regarding how she thinks about criminal defendants with mental illness, whether she is working for the prosecution or the defense. She describes using psychological testing and reviewing document after document to assist her in making decisions and advising attorneys and courts. Dr. Paradis has brought the case study approach alive. She describes individuals she has evaluated for competency to stand trial and insanity pleas who are unique, frightening, fascinating and challenging. While the majority of her book is a description of her work with disturbed adults, she also has chapters on her work with juveniles, as well as malingering. This book has been used for a forensic psychology course she teaches. I would highly recommend it for students of forensic psychology as well as seasoned clinicians.

We had the pleasure of Dr. Paradis joining us from New York, via Skype on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, for a lively and interesting discussion. She was generous with her time. Everyone in our group enjoyed and learned from her discussion. Her book can be found on Amazon.