6 Hours | 6 CEs

This self-paced training program on Assessing Allegations of Trauma in Forensic Contexts is presented by Christina Pietz, PhD, ABPP.

Assessment of claims of emotional harm and trauma in therapeutic settings is very different from assessment of these matters in legal proceedings. This course provides an overview of the history and conception of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, including its introduction in the DSM-III. The diagnostic criteria of PTSD in the DSM-IV and DSM 5 are compared, and implications for forensic assessment are discussed. The challenges of assessing claims of emotional harm and trauma in forensic contexts are reviewed and best practices proposed, with specific consideration of the unique challenges that present in personal injury, disability, and criminal litigation. Thorough reviews of the Moral Emotional Numbing Test and Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS) are provided, as is a discussion of the utility of the MMPI-2 and PAI in assessment of complaints of emotional harm and trauma.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the development and history of the PTSD diagnosis

  • Describe the diagnosis and symptom picture of PTSD and related disorders

  • Describe the DSM-IV and DSM 5 criteria for PTSD

  • Describe special challenges of assessing persons alleging emotional harm or trauma in personal injury, disability, and criminal contexts

  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of tests frequently used to assess trauma complaints in forensic contexts

  • Describe best practices when assessing litigants reporting emotional harm or trauma

  • Describe special challenges of assessing complaints of emotional harm and trauma with persons from diverse backgrounds

  • Describe the delayed onset of PTSD

Presented By

Christina Pietz, PhD, ABPP

Christina A. Pietz, PhD, ABPP, is a Forensic Psychologist at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, MO, and at Burrell Behavioral Health. She has completed psychological evaluations for federal courts throughout the United States, and she has testified as an expert witness in federal court, state court, and military court. Dr. Pietz is also Director of Forensic Training at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology and Past President of the American Board of Forensic Psychology. Currently, she serves on the American Board of Psychology Board of Trustees as the representative for the American Board of Forensic Psychology.
  • Intended Audience

    This self-paced course is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This self-paced course is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

  • CE / CPD Credit

    APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.


  • 1


    • Overview

  • 2

    Lesson 1

    • Lesson 1 Video

    • Mental and Behavioral Disorders Worksheet

    • Lesson 1 Quiz

  • 3

    Lesson 2

    • Lesson 2 Video

    • Lesson 2 Quiz

  • 4

    Lesson 3

    • Lesson 3 Video

    • Multiple Data Sources

    • Lesson 3 Quiz

  • 5

    Lesson 4

    • Lesson 4 Video

    • CAPS-5 Manual

    • Case Example

    • References

    • Lesson 4 Quiz

  • 6

    Course Evaluation

    • Evaluation

    • Submission Verification

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

  • Expert Instructors

    Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

  • CE Credit

    Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

  • Convenience & Flexibility

    Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

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