20 Hours | 20 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Trauma and Mental Disability Law is presented by Michael L. Perlin, JD, and Heather Ellis Cucolo in partnership with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates.

This program considers how issues involving trauma-induced mental disabilities (PTSD as an example) are dealt with in civil and criminal courts and other legal areas within the community.

The material is of primary interest to legal practitioners, mental health clinicians, forensic psychologists and other forensic mental health professionals, and disability advocates. In addition, the program includes a review of the policy and legal developments of various issues involving certain marginalized groups and populations, such as: children, veterans, those discharged from psychiatric institutions, survivors of domestic abuse, forensic patients, and prison inmates.

The program discusses how we treat trauma-related disabilities in civil and criminal courts, the role of trauma in the legal treatment of people with mental disabilities, the relationship between trauma and disability reduction, and the relationship between stigma and trauma. In addition, the course contextualizes all of these issues through the framework of therapeutic jurisprudence. Finally, it offers various therapeutic intervention points geared towards shifting the relationship between law, trauma, and people with mental disabilities.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

  • Describe the treatment of trauma-related disabilities in civil and criminal courts

  • Describe the role of trauma in the legal treatment of people with mental disabilities

  • Describe the relationship between trauma and disability subordination

  • Describe how trauma relates to issues of gender, race, youth & violence

  • Describe the relationship between trauma and issues of sanism and pretextuality

  • Describe therapeutic jurisprudence concepts to all the underlying issues

Presented By

Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD

Heather Ellis Cucolo is an adjunct professor in New York Law School’s online mental disability law program, has served as Acting Director of that program, and has contributed to the development of courses within the program as well as assisted in collaboration with Asia-Pacific partners to foster international distance learning. Professor Cucolo currently teaches the Americans with Disabilities Act, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Mental Disability Law and Sex Offenders to both law students, clinicians and other professionals.

Michael L. Perlin, JD

Michael L. Perlin is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS’s Online Mental Disability Law Program, and founding director of NYLS’s International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. He is also the co-founder of Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates. He has written 31 books and nearly 300 articles on all aspects of mental disability law, many of which deal with the overlap between mental disability law and criminal law and procedure.

Collect Badges, Earn Certificates

This is a badge-earning program, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Intended Audience

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

  • Experience Level

    This self-paced program 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


    • Review Before Proceeding

  • 2

    Understanding Trauma Introduction

    • Lesson 1 Video

    • Half-Wrecked Prejudice Leaped Forth

    • Increasing Law Students Effectiveness

    • "The Pain I Rise Above"

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 3

    Trauma & Mental Illness

    • Lesson 2 Video

    • Who's Pretending to Case for Him?

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 4

    Civil Commitment and Institutionalization

    • Lesson 3 Video

    • McCabe v Life-Line Ambulance Service Inc.

    • Ludwig v. Anderson

    • Linbrugger v. Abercia

    • Moore v. Wyoming Medical Cente

    • Federman v. County of Kern

    • NASMHPD Position Statement

    • Therapeutic Jurisprudence Perspective

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 5

    Professional Roles in the Process that Contribute to Trauma

    • Lesson 4 Video

    • Beck v. Wilson

    • Caroline C. By and Through Carter v. Johnson

    • Counsel in Right to Refuse Treatment Cases

    • Civil Commitment Cases

    • The Pedagogy of Trauma-Informed Lawyering

    • Trauma: What Lurks Beneath the Surface

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 6

    Problem Solving Courts

    • Lesson 5 Video

    • Mental Health Courts

    • Who Will Judge the Many

    • "The Judge, He Cast His Robe Aside"

    • Developments in Mental Health Law

    • John Brown Went off to War

    • Investigating the Programmatic Attack

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 7

    Forensic Mental Health Law- Part 1

    • Lesson 6 Video

    • Dusky v. U.S

    • Jackson v. Indiana

    • Oregon Advocacy Center v. Mink

    • Reforming Competence Restoration

    • You Might Have Drugs at Your Command

    • Mental Health in Solitary

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 8

    Forensic Mental Health Law- Part 2

    • Lesson 7 Video

    • Insanity defense myths

    • Basic Principles of Therapeutic Jurisprudence

    • PTSD in Criminal Cases

    • Mental Illness Effect on Segregation

    • James R. Johnson

    • Lambright v. Schriro

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 9

    Stigma and Anti-discrimination law

    • Lesson 8 Video

    • Findings and purpose

    • Substance Abuse Families and the Courts

    • Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman

    • Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring

    • Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey

    • The Impact of PTSD on Criminal Sentencing

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 10

    International Human Rights Law

    • Lesson 9 Video

    • Representing Clients with Limited Competency

    • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    • International Human Rights Standards

    • The Future of Guardianship Law

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 11

    Therapeutic Jurisprudence

    • Lesson 10 Video

    • Anger, Shock, Fear, and Trauma

    • Have You Seen Dignity

    • Changing of the Guards

    • In Defence of the Injured

    • The Learned-Helpless Lawyer

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 12


    • Instructions

    • 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!

Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates

We are proud to partner with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, LLC for this training. MDLPA is a boutique educational training company that offers specialized mental disability law consulting, the creation or enhancement of distance learning programs, in-house or online courses, and day or weekend training seminars to reputable organizations, educational institutions, professional groups and advocacy groups focused on providing advanced knowledge and skills to persons working with marginalized populations.NYSAP professionals have played a key role for 25 years in research on juveniles’ competence to stand trial and in developing juvenile competence standards for forensic clinical practice, law, and policy. In response to the growing demand for juvenile competence evaluations nationally, we provide consultation to assist agencies in developing or refining their juvenile competence service delivery system, as well as creating and conducting quality assurance procedures. We train clinicians and juvenile justice stakeholders (e.g., judges, attorneys, and community partners) in practice standards for conducting high quality juvenile competence evaluations.

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