ALICIA PELLEGRIN, PhD
Forensic Psychologist
Specializing in IMEs, Family Law, and Criminal Forensic Psychological Evaluations
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ALICIA PELLEGRIN, PhD

Forensic Psychologist

Specializing in IMEs, Family Law, and Criminal Forensic Psychological Evaluations

ABOUT ME

ABOUT ME

Expertise

Forensic Psychology

Languages

English

Hobbies

Yoga, Pilates, Reading, Grandkids

Availability

M-F | 8AM-5PM

Dr. Pellegrin serves southeastern Louisiana and southern Arizona and is a licensed clinical psychologist in both states, specializing in forensic evaluations. She has over 20 years’ experience working as a full-time forensic psychologist and has served as a court appointed evaluator as well as working on a privately retained basis. During that time, she has been involved in over 1000 cases in the areas of family, civil, and criminal law.


Hello and thank you for visiting my website. I hope that it gives you some idea of the scope of services I perform and the manner in which I do them.

We mention it elsewhere, but I believe it is worth repeating, that the pandemic has changed much in the way that medical services are now provided, and this is also true for forensic psychological evaluations. Out of necessity, new ways of providing necessary services have been developed, with no diminution in the quality of the services offered.

Because of the development of telehealth platforms, which means that location is no longer a factor, I have successfully conducted forensic psychological evaluations throughout the country. If you would like to know more about how this works, get in touch with me, and I will be glad to discuss the process with you.

Forensic psychological evaluations is my full time job. I no longer do clinical (therapeutic) work, which means that when you retain me, your case represents my primary focus and is not a sideline that must be fit in to a full schedule of therapy clients. By focusing solely on forensic evaluations, I am also better able to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field, so that I can provide the very best and most comprehensive services.

Even though I no longer do clinical work, my clinical training and experience are invaluable in conducting forensic assessments. I am able to use my clinical skills to make those whom I am evaluating feel comfortable, thereby willing to share their often difficult and emotionally laden stories. It is the case in conducting forensic evaluations that those being evaluated are almost always understandably apprehensive and, oftentimes, confused as to what is happening. It is important that they be put at ease so that they can provide the best information in order to provide the most accurate evaluation.

Yours truly,

WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY

EXPERIENCE

EXPERIENCE

Dr. Pellegrin earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. Her extensive training and experience has resulted not only in her being a sought after forensic psychologist, but she has also lectured on various topics before national, state, and local legal and psychological organizations. Dr, Pellegrin is also published in peer reviewed professional journals.

SERVICES

SERVICES

Dr. Pellegrin has extensive experience in family, civil, and criminal law. She has conducted over 800 court appointed custody (legal decision making) evaluations, as well as being retained on a private basis. She has been accepted in civil, family, and criminal courts as an expert in the areas of child sexual abuse, sexual offender evaluations, and risk assessments. She also has extensive experience providing independent medical evaluations for both plaintiff and defendant, as well as working with federal, state and local prosecutors.

Forensic Evaluations

Both clinical and forensic psychologists perform evaluative methods with their clients, but their ethical obligations are different. While clinical psychology consists of applying psychological research techniques and principles in the treatment and analysis of human behavior, forensic psychology applies this knowledge to making legal decisions. During clinical evaluation, the clinician is an advocate for the client and acts as such. In a forensic evaluation, the evaluator is an objective investigator, and the client is often the Court.

In clinical settings, the psychologist often operates in a “helping” role. The psychologist is there to assist the person being evaluated and will provide recommendations directly to the person, typically in the service of helping to identify and address their clinical problems with the goal of improving. A forensic psychological evaluation, however, is not therapeutic in nature. The results, opinions, and recommendations that flow from the evaluation are intended for the Court and could conceivably harm the legal case of the individual being evaluated. Although most psychologists in clinical roles see themselves as supportive and closely allied with their patient, the forensic psychologist maintains more of a distance in order to maintain neutrality. This is to preserve objectivity and minimize bias. Though the forensic opinion may ultimately assist the evaluated individual, the forensic psychologist's role is one of neutrality.

During clinical evaluations, the psychologist serves in a supportive role to the client. By way of contrast, most forensic evaluations aim at solving legal matters or meeting particular legal conditions and regulations, with psychologists maintaining an objective stance as a ‘friend of the Court’ helping the trier of fact by providing relevant information about the relevant legal issues.

Malingering is the exaggeration or feigning of mental health symptoms for the purpose of an external gain. Though there is a possibility of malingering in any setting, this potential is substantially higher in forensic settings than in general clinical settings. A good forensic psychologist maintains a healthy skepticism and always considers the possibility of feigning/exaggeration and assesses for it in the evaluative process by providing scientifically based opinions regarding the validity of the examinee’s evaluation results.

Clinical assessments and tests are confidential; however, any information obtained during a forensic evaluation ordered by a Court is not private. Psychologists also issue results of forensic evaluations ordered by an employer to the referral source, which limits the confidentiality of the findings. In cases of evaluations for pre-employment, the company or agency is the client, not the individual and therefore, may not be eligible to receive results.

A full forensic evaluation differs from a clinical evaluation in several ways. Among these are that a clinical evaluation assumes that it is in the client’s best interest to tell the clinical the truth. Whereas, a forensic evaluation, includes actively seeking information from more than one source that would differentially test plausible rival hypotheses. This means psychologists need to actively seek prior records. They also need to talk to people who know the client, to assess both pre- and post-functioning. These collateral contacts are not only family members with a vested interest in the client, but also professionals or disinterested parties who will provide impartial accounts of the client.

Psychological Testing

Psychological testing can provide important additional information so that the bulk of information is not based on the client’s self-report. Often multiple tests will be administered. A full battery should look at the client’s cognitive, emotional, and personality functioning. It is not merely preferred, but essential, that psychological opinions be supported by objective data from contemporary assessment tools. Empirically based forensic psychological evaluations are beneficial for both civil and criminal court. In civil cases, an independent medical examination may be required for cases involving personal injury, workers' compensation, or disability determination. In criminal cases, a psychological evaluation may be court ordered to determine competency to stand trial, legal insanity, risk for violence, or sexual dangerousness.

Psycho-Legal Consulting

When appointed by the Court to conduct a forensic evaluation, the Court is Dr. Pellegrin’s client. Consequently, she will not have substantive discussions with just one attorney. However, she is always willing to discuss her findings and recommendations with both attorneys in an effort to help arrive at a beneficial consent agreement. This can be especially helpful in matters of family law, allowing the parties to avoid adverse and costly trials.

When she is retained by an attorney to conduct an evaluation for the attorney’s client, Dr. Pellegrin consults with the attorney to understand the psycho-legal issues involved in the case and the nature of the evaluation to be conducted. After she has completed her evaluation, Dr. Pellegrin will consult with the attorney to discuss her finding orally before issuing her report. In some cases, and in consultation with the retaining attorney, a decision is made to not issue a report at all.

Child Custody (Legal Decision Making) Evaluations

The Courts, recognizing the importance of child development and/or mental health issues, and a child’s psychological needs, have utilized child custody evaluations to aid the Court identifying the facts at issue with the ultimate goal of determining what particular parenting plan or what recommendations are in the best interests of the child. A child custody evaluation is an objective assessment of the child’s needs and each parent's ability to meet those needs.

During the course of the evaluation, Dr. Pellegrin will assess each parent's individual strengths and weaknesses as they relate to their children, as well as factors that may make effective parenting or co-parenting a challenge. The comprehensive evaluation will include parent interviews, interviews with the child, observations of parent-child interaction, psychological testing, and interviews with individuals outside the family that may help provide important information.

Dr. Pellegrin will also investigate issues such as:

  • Allegations of physical or mental abuse and if these are directed at the child
  • Issues of mental health concerns of the parents and, if so, could these issues affect the care of the child?
  • Any special needs of the child and how are these needs being addressed in each household
  • Identification of key parenting differences and how are these may impact the child or children
Risk Assessment Evaluations

The ability to accurately assess the likelihood of future violent acts — and future criminal behavior more generally — is important to clinicians, policymakers and the public alike. In this context, risk assessment typically involves arriving at an estimate of the likelihood that an offender will recidivate (that is, revert to illegal behavior) after the individual experiences legal consequences or intervention for a prior criminal act.

Risk assessment serves many purposes throughout the adjudication process. It is often undertaken for dispositional purposes to help determine, for example, an appropriate sentence or custody level, or to inform the conditions of community supervision. In these situations, decisions are often predicated, at least in part, on the assessed likelihood of recidivism, with resources being allocated accordingly to promote community safety.

A comprehensive evaluation, based on the assessment of known risk factors, can assist both the prosecution and the defense to arrive at a just disposition of the case, will help to protect society, can achieve some measure of justice for the victim, and protect the rights of the accused.

Independent Medical Evaluations

An independent medical examination, or IME, is an evaluation of a person’s medical or mental health condition to assess whether they are eligible for disability benefits or compensation. An independent medical examination can serve several purposes. IME providers often evaluate workers’ compensation claims. An IME could also play a role in litigation involving psychiatric or physical injuries such as an individual who claims to have suffered traumatic brain injury or been the subject of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse.

CONTACT

CONTACT ME

Phone (AZ)

(520) 544-7978

Phone (LA)

(985) 789-9245

You may reach me by email at alicia@docpellegrin.com or by filling out and submitting the contact form below.


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