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MA Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Exam

MA Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Exam
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Argosy University Comprehensive Examination

MA Forensic Psychology

Fall C 2017

(Thursday, November 16-Wednesday, November 22)

Proposed Case Vignette for Comprehensive Examination

Please read the vignette carefully. Based on information provided in the vignette, please compose a well-written and organized response to each of the questions that follow:

Presentation of the Problem

Mr. S is a 38-year-old divorced male. His racial/ethnic background is mixed. He is half-Hispanic and half-Caucasian.

Mr. S was arrested and charged with Rape (by Forcible Compulsion), Rape (with Threat of Forcible Compulsion), Indecent Assault, False Imprisonment, Harassment, Possession of Marijuana, Sexual Assault, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Unlawful Restraint, Simple Assault, and Aggravated Assault (Serious Bodily Injury).

He was released on bail. But, upon his release, Mr. S continued to call and stalk the victim in the instant offense even though he was ordered to have no contact with the victim. He is currently incarcerated; his bail was revoked.

Description of the Instant Offense

The victim and Mr. S dated for about one year. They broke up about three months prior to the instant offense. She indicated they were no longer emotionally or sexually involved, but would maintain contact. Mr. S called the victim on the night of the offense and asked her to have dinner with him after she got off work. After dinner, she drove him home to drop him off and went in to have a drink. She then told him she had to get going and needed to get her purse.

Mr. S became very angry and told her that she was not going anywhere. He forcefully held her, hit her across the head and face, and threw her to the ground. She stated that he struck her first with an open hand, but as she resisted he then hit her with a closed fist. She ran for the phone and called home for help, but he grabbed the phone from her and threw it on the floor. They struggled and she kept trying to get away, and he threw her on the floor again. She grabbed the phone again and dialed 911, but he got the phone away again. He dragged her into the living room, repeatedly hitting her with his right hand across the left side of her head. He forcibly took off her clothes and raped her.

She ran from him, but he grabbed her by her hair and forced her upstairs and into the shower. He put soap on her and then she got out to urinate while he stood over her. She tried to run for the stairs and he blocked her and threw her into the bedroom. He screwed the door shut. Mr. S told the victim that he was going to teach her a lesson and that she would not screw with anyone else’s heart. She begged for him to stop and calm down, but Mr. S told the victim that he would have her whenever he wanted her.

She tried to dress as he was hitting her, but he ripped the clothes completely off and raped her again. He forced her to hold him stating that, if she didn’t, he would hit her. After waiting about one hour, he passed out, the victim escaped. The victim stated that throughout the ordeal, she begged and pleaded and screamed for him to stop, but he hit her in the mouth every time she did.

During the offenses, Mr. S repeatedly penetrated the victim vaginally (the victim could not recall how many times) and forced her to put his penis in her mouth. The victim stated that Mr. S’ actions were “very controlled, calculated, and violent.” He reportedly knew what he was doing, and remained very cold during the incident. The victim feels that Mr. S could “snap again at any moment.”

Historical Information

There are a lot of inconsistencies across sources of information. Mr. S appears to give different information to different people at different times.

He denied a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. But his father, who drank a lot, disciplined him by paddling him with a belt. At the time of his arrest, he was living alone—apparently in a rental home owned by his mother. His mother lived about one block away. Mr. S never really left home since he was always involved in the family business and lived on the family property.

Mr. S has one daughter from a relationship with his high school sweetheart. He was married to a woman who had two daughters. He was charged with domestic violence against one of these stepdaughters. The mother and stepdaughter moved out. He has had several other live-in relationships women and reportedly has had about 25 sexual partners in his lifetime. About half of these were “one-night stands.” He also admitted to having cheated on partners. He has defaulted on a few loans in the past and it does not appear that he ever paid child support.

Mr. S graduated high school and earned an associate’s degree and worked in the family-owned business. But, he was unemployed at the time of his arrest.

Mr. S has been arrested three previous times as an adult. He has been charged with Domestic Battery (against his stepdaughter), Criminal Trespass, and Domestic Battery (against a girlfriend). He has received multiple speeding and other moving violations and has had his driver’s license suspended at least once. He likes to race motorcycles and has a history of two motorcycle accidents.

Mr. S began drinking alcohol and marijuana at age 16. Prior to his arrest, he was drinking alcohol a few times per week. He was reportedly drinking at the time of the instant offense. He used cocaine “quite a few times between the ages of 18 and 38.”

Based on the vignette provided, please compose a well-written and organized response to each of the following questions. When writing your responses, please:

· Use APA (6th edition) Style, with 1-inch margins, double-spaced, 12 font, with a reference list at the end.

· Write clearly and concisely.

· Cite appropriate, and especially current, literature (empirical and/or theoretical).

· Avoid all sexist idioms and allusions.

· Remember to demonstrate your multicultural competence where appropriate.

Psychological Theory and Practice

A. What assessments would you conduct to enhance your understanding of the problems of the person in the vignette and how would your choice of assessment(s) inform your diagnostic formation and treatment planning? Assessments may include structured or unstructured interviews, valid and reliable assessment measures, and/or formalized assessment procedures that may be conducted by yourself or by someone else referred by you.

B. Provide your diagnostic impressions (based on the DSM-5) for this individual. In narrative form, please describe how the individual meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s) chosen in addition to the differential diagnostic thought process that you used to reach your hypotheses. Be sure to include any additional (missing) information that is needed to either rule out or confirm your differential diagnoses impressions.

Legal Theory and Application

A. Explain the background, current presentation, and behavior of the person in the vignette utilizing biological, learning, and social theories on offenders to support your position. Do not simply restate the background information from the vignette. Instead, provide a theoretically-based discussion to understand the criminal behaviors of the person in the vignette.

B. Consider the type of crime in the vignette and discuss how that type of crime generally impacts a victim of it. Do not limit yourself to discussing just the victim in this vignette. Instead obtain scholarly sources for information on how this type of crime can affect any victim, their family members, and other members of society.

C. Describe the psycholegal standards and/or definitions for each of the following: competence to stand trial, duty to warn, and insanity. Identify and describe one or more landmark case(s) for each standard (at least three cases total). Describe the elements or issues that a mental health professional usually focuses on when assessing a person’s adjudicative competence, risk and insanity, and any additional items that might be especially important to focus on in the provided vignette.

Assessment, Research and Evaluation

A. Describe tests or assessment procedures you would employ to address the psycholegal issues of (competence to stand trial, risk of dangerousness, and insanity). You may refer to these from the Psychological Theory and Assessment Section “A” if you already covered them there. Discuss what the anticipated conclusions would be based upon information provided in the vignette.

B. Develop a research question and a testable research hypothesis regarding offenders or the type of crime that is discussed in the vignette (such as, addiction, recidivism, criminal behavior, etc.). Explain the variables in your question and the type of research study that could answer your question as well as why that research would make a contribution to the field of forensic psychology.

Leadership, Consultation, and Ethics

A. What are the ethical and legal dilemmas this vignette introduced? What would be your immediate steps and why? Please be specific and make sure that you describe your process of ethical decision making and the solutions/consequences to which this process might lead. Your discussion should be informed by the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code as well as the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

A. What diversity factors, cultural considerations, or other demographic variables pertaining to the person in the vignette would you take into account in rendering diagnoses, choosing assessment measures, forming case conceptualizations, and designing the treatment plan? Be sure to discuss cultural/diversity factors that could apply even if they are not explicitly mentioned in the vignette.

B. Your writing, use of citations, ability to form a logical argument, and proper APA Style, including the use of paraphrasing, will be evaluated as a measure of your interpersonal effectiveness. No response is required for “B”.

MA Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Exam
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