Frequently asked questions

Are you experienced in writing for a legal audience?

Yes!  My practice is almost exclusively devoted to providing psychological evaluations for immigration court and I have worked with immigration attorneys from around the US on a range of cases, including extreme hardship, U visa, VAWA, asylum, and medical disability in naturalization cases.  In addition, I used to work as a Staff Psychologist at the Veterans Hospital, where I performed thousands of psychological evaluations for legal audiences.

Are you trained to do these evaluations?

Yes, I have received training in the documentation of torture and trauma through Physicians for Human Rights and training in forensic evaluations for undocumented immigrants through the American Psychological Association.  I have also completed trainings through the American Psychological Association’s Division of International Psychology and Physicians for Human Rights’ Forensic Training Institute in more specialized areas, including the evaluation of children seeking humanitarian protection.

Do you have experience working with immigrants and refugees?

Yes.  My current practice is devoted exclusively to working with immigrants and refugees, including providing psychological evaluations for immigration court and mental health training.  I have also worked at a nonprofit in Uganda serving refugees.

What does research show about the use of psychological evaluations in immigration court?

Research studies have demonstrated the utility of psychological evaluations in immigration cases.  For example, in a study of asylum seekers, 89% of those who received a medical evaluation from Physicians for Human Rights were granted asylum, versus the national average of 37.5% of US asylum seekers who did not receive PHR evaluations (Asylum Grant Rates Following Medical Evaluations of Maltreatment among Political Asylum Applicants in the United States.)

In a separate study, it was found that clients whose appeals included expert testimony from a mental health professional were significantly more likely to prevail than clients whose appeal did not include expert psychological testimony (Demonstrating Psychological Hardship: A Statistical Study of Psychological Evaluations in Hardship Waivers of Inadmissibility.)

Can you see the client for therapy and then write an evaluation?

I do not provide therapy for clients I see for immigration evaluations.  This is based on my strict adherence to maintaining objectivity in my role as an evaluator in immigration cases. Whereas treating providers are advocates for the clients they see in therapy, my role as an evaluator-only allows me to maintain the neutrality necessary to provide an unbiased report.

In addition, research indicates that for hardship cases, applicants were significantly more likely to prevail in appeals where psychological testimony was provided but they were no more likely to prevail if the testimony was provided by an evaluator or by someone with whom they had an ongoing therapeutic relationship.  (Demonstrating psychological hardship: A statistical study of psychological evaluations in hardship waivers of inadmissibility)

See Resources for more information

Will you allow me to review the report before final submission?

Yes, I always allow the attorney to review and provide feedback on my report prior to final submission.

How quickly can you get the client in for an evaluation?

I typically schedule clients within one to two weeks after the initial referral.  In cases where an expedited evaluation is required, I can work with the client and attorney to accommodate this.

How quickly will you have the report to me after you see the client?

Provided necessary medical records or other documentation is available, I typically send reports to attorneys within three business days after meeting with the client.

Are you willing to testify in court if needed?

Yes, I am available to provide expert testimony in Immigration Court.

Do you have a CV I can file with the court?

Yes, it is in PDF format here.

Do you see clients in immigration (ICE) detention?

Yes, I have met with several clients in immigration detention.

Are you experienced in working through interpreters?

Yes, I work with interpreters regularly in the immigration evaluations and mental health training I provide.

Do you see children?

Yes, I provide immigration evaluations for children and adolescents and have specialized training in the evaluation of unaccompanied minors.