immigration evaluation

Psychological Evaluations for Immigration, Why they are Needed

Why is a Psychological Evaluation for Immigration Needed? 

The general purpose of a psychological evaluation for immigration court is to document any mental health conditions or diagnoses and to describe, from a psychosocial perspective, how potential deportation would impact a client and their family.  There are thousands of people who are continually filing for different waivers and petitions.  Individuals are seeking means to get a reprieve of some sort due to various reasons. In this article, we highlight cases that necessitate a psychological evaluation.

Extreme Hardship Cases

There are instances where an individual is a sole breadwinner. In these cases where the individual has dependents who immediately rely on them for survival, the dependents may decide to apply for a waiver. These are said to be extreme hardship cases.

The exemption is due to the hardship the dependents may face or endure in any case the individual gets deported. The children or spouse of the individual may have to suffer from separation or job loss. The hardships are either typical or extreme, depending on the magnitude of the cases.

U Visa

A psychological evaluation is necessary for a situation where an individual is a victim of a severe crime in the US. These crimes may be rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture, domestic violence, or even cases of murder.

In the case of such crimes, the evaluation helps to determine the extent of mental or physical abuse. Once determined to be accurate, they get a U Visa though they are undocumented.

Political Asylum Cases

There are several cases where an individual may undergo harsh or unfair treatment in their country. This treatment may be due to a contrary opinion in politics, religion, gender, or even their identity along ethnic lines.

In the political asylum cases, the individual may develop disorders (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which harms them. The evaluation in this regard will help to establish the effects of the abuse experienced.

Spousal Abuse (Violence against Women Act)

This Spousal Abuse, Violence against Women Act, provides help to both the man and woman in the cases where they become victims of their U.S. citizen spouses’ mental or physical abuse. In this case, the victim stands a chance of becoming a permanent resident of the United States once the determination is affirmative.

This determination will be made possible through the psychological evaluation used to establish the impact of the abuse.

immigration evaluation


These are some of the cases where you may need to get a psychological evaluation to access the level of impact and fill in for a waiver or petition. You should also understand that the process of assessment helps to gather the necessary information needed and establish the best action to take with the help of a psychologist and your attorney.


To read more about Immigration evaluations, visit us here. 

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pre-surgical psychological evaluation

Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluations, What Are They?

Pre-Surgical Psychological Evaluations, What Are They?

We live in a world where surgeries are a common thing.  So what is a Pre-Surgical psychological evaluation?  Candidates for most types of surgeries will need to undergo a psychological evaluation before the procedure. This has become an essential requirement and a standard practice that has been taking place for years now. The process is meant to improve the overall outcome of the procedure and patient satisfaction. Surgeries that need pre-surgical evaluations include; cosmetic, bariatric surgery, organ transplant, etc.

Why Go Through a Pre-Surgical Evaluation

1. Your insurance company needs it

Your insurance company is going to cover the cost of the surgery, so they need you to see a psychologist assure them that you’re ready for the procedure. They won’t pay for it if you don’t understand everything, including post-surgery effects, potential complications, and the required follow-up.

2. The evaluation will help you identify ways to improve your post-surgery recovery.

Mental preparation for the surgery is important for physical preparedness and recovery. The process will help identify your weaknesses, strengths, and motivation and point out areas you need extra guidance.

3. Your surgeon needs it

A pre-surgical evaluation is what will help your surgeon understand your case, needs, and mental state. These help them know how to deal with you on the operating table and understand all the behaviors you’re likely to show after surgery.

4. Patients need it

The evaluation process is essential for patients to help them learn more about themselves, their mental triggers, habits, and come up with a plan for recovery.

pre-surgical psychologyFactors That Are Likely To Affect the Surgery

Several mental weaknesses can interfere with the surgery is not addressed beforehand. These include;

• Demoralization

• Stress

• Anxiety

• Low self-esteem

• Fear of pain

• Substance abuse history

• Anger

• Chronic psychiatric issues

What to Expect During Pre-Surgical Evaluations

• An interview with a clinician to discuss the background and history of the patient. The questions during this interview will entail medical history, social information, and psychological history.

• Learning more about the surgery by consulting with the physician or surgeon and asking all the necessary questions.

• Psychological tests to examine current psychological functioning of the surgery candidate

• After this, your psychologist prepares a report and sends it to the surgeon for further evaluation before commencing with the type of surgery you are having. 


To read more about our services, please visit us here. 

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Coping with being quarantined with teens or tweens

How to Cope with being Quarantined with Teens or Tweens

How to Cope with being Quarantined with Teens or Tweens

The coronavirus has people quarantined at home by law and this can have families frustrated. Families are stuck at home together, and if you are quarantined with teens or tweens, you all may be having a difficult time coping with this new reality. Typically, parents and their children are away from each other for a healthy amount of time each day as teens go to school and parents go to work. Today with the new pandemic, we all are stuck at home. Going to the mall, hanging out with friends, and leaving the house is no longer allowed. If you are quarantined with teens or tweens, here are some things you can do to help you both cope.

#1) Connect Virtually

It is important for everyone in the family to stay virtually connected to their friends and family who lives further away. The disease cannot be spread through the phone, computer, or other devices so there is no reason to not use them. Allow your children to spend time with friends virtually for a healthy amount of time each day. You should also use these devices to connect with extended family.

#2) Have Alone Time

While it would be nice to spend every minute with your child and find out everything about their lives, this is not how to cope with being quarantined. Everyone needs alone time and teens are no different. Make sure you give your teens and tweens some alone time throughout the day where they can reflect and rest.

#3) Talk About How To Copetalking with daughter

If you are quarantined with teens you are both likely having trouble coping. You should talk with them about how to cope with difficult situations. You can use this time during the coronavirus to teach your children about life lessons. Helping them understand different methods of coping can help them in the long run.

#4) Take On A New Challenge

If you have been looking for a new project to do around the house this may be the perfect time to do it. Get your children involved and use it as a bonding experience. They may end up liking it more than you thought possible.

If you need help or need to talk, please click here.

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Self Care while isolated

Self-Care in a Time of Isolation

Self-care in a time of Isolation

Taking care of yourself while cut off from human contact is so important. Now, in our time of isolation, looking after yourself (self-care) and making sure you are safe is not just about your physical health, it is also about your mental health. Much like solitary confinement can make prisoners go a little stir crazy, a self-imposed period of quarantine can irreparably damage your psyche. If you ever feel like you need help, or even just someone to talk to, please avail yourself of the psychology resources around you.   

Reasons for Fragile Mental Health

There are many reasons why a period of isolating yourself from other humans can be detrimental to your mental health, necessitating some self-care. Not the least of which is the lack of human contact itself. Humans are naturally social creatures, being around other people is really important, They can not only offer conversation and be sounding boards for your ideas, but physical touch is really important for surviving in this world. For example, an old czar in Russia wanted to see how language came to be, so he told nurses not to talk to or touch a number of orphans he chose. Not a single infant survived long enough to utter a syllable.

Methods of Self Care

For many people this includes going to a spa, getting something done at a salon, or immersing themselves in a story at the movie theater. Unfortunately, all of those options are now closed to us, but you can practice it on your own. For one, a day of pampering with a hot, steamy bath and however you choose to make yourself feel better is called for. For others, it is getting their favorite food for takeout, or taking time to read a good book. These are all fantastic ideas that are really relaxing and do not require you to leave your home.Self Care while isolated

Self-care is something to be done before you help others. After all, how can you expect to adequately help others if you yourself are not in the right state of mind? Isolation can play dirty tricks on our minds, but with a little TLC and some professional help, you too can make it through this time in good health.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone, click here. 

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Children tested for ADHD?

Should I Have My Child Tested for ADHD?

Should I have my child tested for ADHD?

While a professional must diagnose Attention Hyperactivity Disorder in children, many parents notice signs and symptoms of the condition at home that often leads them to this doctor’s appointment and diagnosis. Parents often wonder if their child is simply growing up or if ADHD is the culprit of their behavior. Schedule an appointment if there is concern that your child may suffer from ADHD. Proper, timely treatment improves behavior, grades in school, relationships with other people, and offers many other benefits for children and parents and family members who are suffering from ADHD. if you notice any of the signs of ADHD in children below, schedule an appointment with the pediatrician for psychological evaluations and other tests.

– Constantly in motion, won’t sit down

– Disruptive in school, always talking

– Squirms and fidgets in their seats

– Easily distracted

– Interrupts other people

– Does Not finish tasks

Most children exhibit one or more behaviors above now and again. It is a normal part of being a kid and growing up. Most kids ‘grow out of it’ over time. But, some children and their behaviors cannot be overlooked and won’t simply go away over time. When the behaviors interfere with school, relationships, or cause parents to feel frustrated and overwhelmed due to its frequency, its cause for concern. Schedule an appointment with a pediatrician if there are any concerns. It is better to get a diagnosis and begin treatment than to allow the behaviors to continue negatively impacting life.

Children tested for ADHD?ADHD in Children: Psychological Evaluations

Doctors use a variety of information and tests to diagnose ADHD since there is not one specific test that can do the job. Most pediatricians work with a broad range of people who are regularly involved in the child’s life, including psychologists, parents, and teachers from school. A child must have six characteristics of ADHD to receive a diagnosis. Psychological evaluations are an important part of the ADHD diagnosis process. It provides doctors with a myriad of information that can help them better treat the child’s condition. The characteristics must have impacted the child/family for a period of six months or longer.

To see more about our team, click here.

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a brief history on forensic psychology

A Brief History on Forensic Psychology

A Snapshot Of Forensic Psychology’s History

Over the last decade, forensic psychology has become more popular in crime cases and life in general. By merging psychology with the legal system, we get a scope inside the minds of others and what causes them to act in certain ways. For centuries, this has been one of the broadest fields of study. Psychologists can be found in environments such as prisons, juvenile detention facilities, elementary schools. There are also licensed professionals who also have practices for general psych needs and services. A brief history on forensic psychology will highlight some of the field’s turning points and influences.

The Early Studies Of Psychology

In the late 1800s, Wilhelm Wundt established his first laboratory in Germany. His early work created a foundation for future psychologists to carry the studies forward. James Cattell was one of the successors to Wundt. While a professor at the University of Columbia, he challenged his classes mentally through lectures and psychological evaluations; determining that psychological evaluations could be complex in the courtroom. This theory would be taken a step further by Alfred Binet. By replicating previous studies on the subject, Binet used intelligence testing to find correlations between psychology and criminal law. This included testing the witness’s recollection of events and information. The psychologist determined that emotions can influence the accuracy of a witness’s testimony. These results motivated the psychologist to create the first applied psychology journal.

a brief history on forensic psychologyPsychology In Criminal Trials

During 1896, Albert Notzing gave a court testimony during a murder trial discussed suggestibility. The psychologist states that psychological evaluation can create bridges to a witness’s testimony. Less than 20 years later, a German psychologist named Hugo Munsterberg wrote a book advocating the use of forensic psychology throughout all legal systems. He believed that common applications warranted by psychology in everyday life is the basis on which forensic psychology is built.

Increase Of Psychology’s Popularity

After World War II, the field of psychology saw a significant increase in popularity. Inside courtrooms, psychological evaluations became common and psychologists were frequent expert witnesses. The turning point for the field came during 1954. Brown v. the Board of Education saw numerous psychologists testifying; proving to be credible witnesses based on their expertise about the subject. A brief history of forensic psychology illustrates growth in psychology over the past few decades.

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violence risk assessment

Violence Risk Assessments: Why they Work!

So what exactly are Risk Assessments? 

There are so many facets to mental health. Some are definitely genetic, and others are environmental. There are inherited diseases, symptoms, and behaviors. The fact remains is that we care about humanity, and have been developing ways to help those who are violence-prone. When a patient or client appears to be violence-prone there is a beneficial tool that evaluates such individuals. After all, the key is to get to the root of violence-prone individuals and understand the causation. Now, violence risk assessments are utilized by health care providers to establish a common frame of reference. One major focus is to employ psychological evaluations, with a view toward whether the patient might be at risk to be combative, employ assaults, or homicide. There is a scale that evaluates the degree of danger.

Now, it is imperative to note that some of the assessment tools might be difficult to use in an emergency room situation. Often, there is no time to start lengthy psychological evaluations. Another factor is that in an emergency department setting, the medical history of a patient might very well be unavailable!

What is the call to action?  Everything comes together with a plan.

It is with medical wisdom that one understands risk assessments are not a substitute for clinician gestalt. However, they do perform a valuable insight into patient diagnosis and mental health improvement. One must be aware that psychological evaluations and violence risk assessments do take time, and are not intended for imminent risk. The intention of risk assessments is to prevent future happenings and the potential for problems! Remember the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? It is true with universal precautions, and it is true in wholesome mental health situations. If a potential problem is helped early on, the assessments are worth their weight in gold!

Be aware of what to look for in problematic patients. 

When checking out a patient for behaviors, it is an observational duty to be alert concerning an individual’s indicators such as:


violent threats





destroying property

violence risk assessmentThese traits are informational indicators to help with the evaluations. Remember, when dealing with risk assessments, and the prone to violence, every patient should be treated with respect, care, and professionalism. One never knows the complete picture of what a person has gone through, what is part of their DNA inheritance, and what is environmental. In the end, these assessments do help in a positive way, to diagnose with a view toward good mental health, and happy life. Risk assessments can identify those at risk before a terrible event takes place and help provide treatment.

Explore more here.

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Sex offenders evaluations

What You Need to Know about Sex Offender Evaluations

What Are Sex Offender Evaluations?

Sex offender evaluations are specific psychological evaluations and have become increasingly important in recent years. While law enforcement and the general public have become more aware of, and better equipped to combat sexual assault, this gives rise to other problems. There are now a higher number of sex offenders going through the legal system. As such, systems to identify, evaluate, track, incarcerate, or rehabilitate these individuals, are still being developed and refined. Exact policies differ from state to state, however many states now put non-violent or low-risk offenders in mental health facilities to help the rehabilitation process.

Unfortunately, the rate of recidivism is higher among sex offenders than it is for other types of criminals. As such, care needs to be taken when allocating resources to their confinement or rehabilitation. This is where sex offender evaluations come in.

How it works

Trained forensic psychologists use these evaluations to identify and record critical information about each offender. This information contributes to a number of larger databases which various law enforcement and legal agencies use to record or track information, and allocate resources more effectively.

The forensic psychologist’s primary goal during these psychological evaluations is to determine the risk of recidivism, danger to the community, competency, and criminal responsibility. All of this information helps to determine if an individual will be placed on his or her state’s sex offender registry. Any other data from these psychological evaluations will be recorded so that it is available to any number of legal or law enforcement agencies.

Sex offenders evaluations

In legal terms, competency refers to an offender’s ability to stand trial. It is determined by a person’s ability capacity to understand court proceedings and effectively consult with their legal counsel. The specifics to legal competence are dependent on the situation and the severity of the charges.

Criminal responsibility refers to the accused’s mental state at the time of the crime. This information helps determines whether they were in control of their actions and thus legally culpable.

The term recidivism defines a released offender’s chances of being convicted again for the same type of crime. This number is higher for sex offenders, who often have some sort of psychological element that motivates or reinforces their behavior.

For more information, check it out here.

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Understanding Psychological Evaluations

Understanding Psychological Evaluations

It’s important to understand psychological evaluations and how they can be beneficial for you.

The idea of seeking psychiatric care in Indiana may seem daunting if you are unfamiliar with what to expect. If you seek psychiatric care for yourself or your child, you or your child will need to undergo psychological evaluations as part of an intake process. Try not to be intimidated as this testing is important for your mental healthcare provider to know how to best treat you going forward.

What Is Psychological Evaluation?

When you are being assessed, some tools your care provider may use include:

  • Questionnaires
  • Checklists
  • School or medical records
  • Interviews
  • Observational data

These tools will give your care provider an in-depth picture of how to best help you. They will be able to put together a treatment plan that is optimized to meet your needs and get you feeling better.
The evaluations serve a similar purpose to blood tests or ultrasounds in a medical setting. This includes diagnosing, assessing, and treating a problem for the patient.
Each patient is unique, so the tools or combination of tools used in each of their psychological evaluations will be, as well.
These tests and tools are not pass or fail, and you can’t give a wrong answer. Being open and honest during your assessment will help you and your doctor set up proper treatment.

What Can Psychological Evaluations Do?

Some ways these results are used include:

  • Diagnosing learning disorders in children
  • Assessing the extent of brain injury or dementia/memory disorders
  • Diagnosing mood or emotion disorders

Understanding Psychological EvaluationsThese tests help doctors get down to the root cause of behaviors or diagnose them to move forward with treatment.
If you feel you might be interested in starting psychiatric care, you may wish to reach out to a mental health provider near you.

Questions? Want to book an appointment? Contact our Indiana office, here.
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Indiana Immigration Evaluations

Indiana Immigration Evaluations

The choice to immigrate to a new country can be as exciting as it is stressful. When people come to the United States, it can either be by necessity or by a personal decision. Despite the reason, it can be a change that can have an immense impact on the person who immigrates and their families. Given that this life change can affect people in a major way, it is important to have access to proper counseling and psychology services to maintain mental fitness for remaining in the United States. Indiana immigration evaluations are conducted to show that an immigrant is psychologically fit to continue living in the United States. At Gale Forensic Psychology, our professionals are meticulous and are detailed in our approach to performing evaluations that prove mental stability to an immigration court.

Indiana Immigration EvaluationsPsychology Evaluations

Once a client contacts our office for service, we begin the process of evaluations by first working with the attorney. A lawyer can provide the information we need, specifically stating why the evaluation is necessary. We also work with attorneys to draft our evaluations so that we use the correct language to clearly communicate our findings to the court. The process for working with the immigrant for Indiana immigration evaluations includes having interviews and tests so their mental stability can be proven. This includes asking specific questions, thoroughly discussing certain topics, and performing objective exercises to be able to learn more about the immigrant’s state of mind.

When Are Evaluations Needed?

Indiana immigration evaluations are used in a number of cases where the court must be shown that an immigrant is of sound mind and judgment. The types of cases where this is used include asylum applications, U visas, spousal abuse cases (Violence Against Women Act -VAWA), or cases of extreme hardship.

For more information contact Gale Forensic Psychology to learn more.

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