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Forensic Services

Psychological Evaluations

Adult Sex Offender Risk Assessments

Evaluations on adults who have been charged or convicted of a sexual offense typically include a comprehensive record review, one or more clinical interview(s) with the offender, a battery of psychological testing, and the use of empirically validated actuarial instruments to assess risk to reoffend. The final report will offer a diagnosis, opinion on the individuals risk to reoffend, level of psychopathy and sexual deviancy, treatment amenability and other recommendations as appropriate.

Evaluations on Juveniles Who Have Sexually Offended

Evaluations on juveniles who have sexually offended typically include a comprehensive record review, a clinical interview with the offender, collateral interviews with other significant parties (e.g., adults responsible for the juvenile’s care, mental health professionals who provide services to the juvenile, residential treatment staff, probation officer, etc), psychological testing, and empirically guided structured checklists of static and dynamic risk factors.

The resultant report would likely identify possible psychosexual disturbances, any predisposition towards sexually abusive behavior (estimated risk to reoffend), as well as, recommendations that are appropriately matched to the juvenile’s needs.

Given there is no empirical data that supports the predictive validity of actuarial risk assessment tools for juveniles, the overall risk estimate is based on the various sources of information and clinical judgment.

Sexually Dangerous Individual Evaluations / Civil Commitment

Dr. Stacey Benson has been providing independent evaluations for individuals civilly committed at the North Dakota State Hospital since 2004. To date, she has completed over 200 SDI evaluations and testified on these cases all over the state.

These evaluations include a comprehensive review of all available records, psychological testing (when appropriate), scoring of various instruments used in the determination of ones risk to reoffend (Static 99R, Stable 2007, SRA:FV, SAPROF, SVR:20 etc), clinical interview with the respondent, collateral contact with treatment providers, friends, family and support people in the community, diagnoses and opinion regarding whether the respondent meets criteria for a Sexually Dangerous Individual as defined by North Dakota Century Code 25-03.3-11.

The final report is typically over 50 pages in length and provides detailed information on the individual, their past history and their progress in treatment.

Parental Capacity

Parental Capacity evaluations are comprehensive evaluations of a parent to help determine parenting strengths, parenting deficits, and potential for abuse and neglect.    It answers questions like; Does the parent have an understanding of the developmental capabilities and limitations of their child?    Can they provide safe and adequate caregiving?  What is the liklihood that the child might be exposed to abuse, neglect or other danger while in the household?  What mental health or substance use issues are present in the parent and how do they impact parenting? What is the parents ability to offer empathy, positive reciprocity, attunement, nurturance, and help the child establish healthy boundaries. The evaluation process also includes  recommendations for how to remediate any identified deficits or vulnerabilities, in order to help the parent be most successful in their parenting role.

Violence Assessments (Domestic Violence, Workplace Violence, School Violence)

Please call 701.297.7540 if you have any questions

Threat Assessments

Please call 701.297.7540 if you have any questions

Competency to Stand Trial

Competence to Stand Trial / Fitness to Proceed evaluations are an examination of the defendant’s present capacity to understand the proceedings against him or her and the capacity to assist in his or her defense.  An individual is fit to proceed in North Dakota if they have sufficient present ability to consult with the individual’s counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against them.

General Competencies (Wills, etc)

Please call 701.297.7540 if you have any questions

Criminal Responsibility

An evaluation for criminal responsibility aims to determine if, as a result of mental disease or defect existing at the time the conduct occurred, the individual who committed the crime lacked substantial capacity to comprehend the harmful nature or consequences of their conduct, or the conduct was the result of a loss or serious distortion of the individual’s capacity to recognize reality; and that they acted willfully and were not under the influence of the voluntary use of chemicals at the time.

Psychological Injuries (abuse / trauma)

Psychological injury refers to psychological conditions (such as depression, anxiety, PTSD etc)  that arise following a traumatic event (such as abuse) or physical injury (such as in a car accident).  The evaluation seeks to determine if a causal link can be found between the current mental state and the identified event.  Examples of Psychological Injury evaluations might be evaluating someone who was abused within their church and are now seeking damages from the church to pay for their counseling, or evaluating someone who was injured in a plane crash where negligence was found on the part of the aircraft company, and they are seeking damages to help pay for medical bills, therapy and other related expenses.  A psychological injury evaluation can help determine if there is a likely connection between the event and current functioning, and can help determine the likely treatment recommendations to restore the person to what their functioning level was before the event.

Fitness for Duty and Return to Work

fitness for duty evaluation helps employers determine if an individual is physically, mentally, or emotionally capable of carrying out the daily tasks associated with their potential job duties.  Or for Return to Work evaluations, we help employers determine if individuals who were found to be temporarily not be capable of doing their assigned duties, are now ready to return to their previous position.   We have done fitness for duty evaluations on candidates seeking sensitive employment positions within the military and government, police officers, security guards, and for religious professionals in various positions.

Screening for Homeland Security and other sensitive positions

Please call 701.297.7540 if you have any questions

Therapeutic Interventions

Treatment for those who have engaged in sexually harmful behaviors

This is not the same as sex offender treatment for convicted sex offenders.  This service is not provided at our clinic.  Our intake coordinator can help direct you to an organization that can provide this level of care.

Time 4 U — a group for Partners of Men with Sexual Boundary Problems / Hypersexuality

Have you been hurt by someone else’s sexual behavior?  Do you feel lost, hopeless, unattractive, embarrassed?  Are you blaming yourself and wondering what you did wrong to cause this to happen?   Most women in this position feel confusion, pain, shame, loss  and overwhelming, heart breaking, betrayal.  Learning to put the pieces back together after chronic, betrayal trauma can be a long and complicated journey.  You will likely feel a range of emotions and thoughts, sometimes you may have many conflicting emotions in the same day.  It can make you feel like you are going crazy.  But you’re not crazy, you’re having a normal response to an abnormal situation, to the lies, the deception, the gas-lighting.
Time 4 U can help you find your way back.  You and your therapist will explore the beliefs you hold about your partners behavior.  You will learn that it is not your fault, that you are not responsible for your partners choices.  In therapy you will process the pain of this discovery, establish healthy boundaries, set limits, engage in self-care, strengthen your support system and make some difficult decisions.    Let us help you through this difficult time.    Call to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today…for a better tomorrow.

Domestic Violence Assessment and Treatment

Benson Psychological Services (BPS) is now accepting referrals for domestic violence assessment and treatment. Referrals for Domestic Violence Assessment go through a clinical interview and are required to complete questionnaires and assessment instruments about intimate partner violence and their use of anger. The evaluator also reviews relevant court documents. Results are interpreted and an evaluation is returned to the referring agency with recommendations for type of treatment.

The assessment instruments are specifically chosen for evaluating people who have been charged with Domestic Violence. The instruments include: the Domestic Violence Inventory, the Psychopathy Checklist Revised 2nd Edition, and the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales.

Treatment at BPS entails a 24-week (48-hour) program which follows the Duluth Model’s Manual (Creating a Process of Change for Men who Batter). The treatment format is group therapy which meets weekly for two hours. It is designed to meet the requirements for domestic violence treatment set forth by the state statutes of Minnesota and North Dakota. The primary focus is based on understanding domestic violence as a way of gaining power and control over a partner. Treatment success hinges on changing the belief system from one that uses physical violence, emotional abuse, minimization, economic abuse, intimidation, isolation, male privilege and/or coercion and threats to gain power and control. In place of maladaptive beliefs, emphasis is placed on learning respect, trust and support, shared parenting, honesty and accountability, economic partnership and negotiation.

Hypersexuality / Internet Porn

  • Are you spending more time on the computer, to the detriment of your marriage, family, or career?
  • Do you hide from your spouse or partner the amount of time you spend on the computer on sex related sites?
  • Have you tried (unsuccessfully) to cut down on the amount of time you spend on sex related Internet sites?
  • Have you found yourself searching for more and more “unusual” sites?
  • Do you spend more than 11 hours a week on online sexual pursuits?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a problem with online sexual compulsion.

Family Reunification in cases such as sexual abuse / neglect, return from foster care, parental alienation etc

Reunification therapy helps to create a new plan for your family system. Reunification Therapy is most likely ordered in complex situation, high conflict cases.  Research has shown that the amount of conflict before and during separation is one of the most powerful predictors of mental health problem in children from divorced families, and that children who refuse or resist contact with a parent often go on to suffer many emotional problems as adults.  Whenever possible, having a healthy, positive and secure relationship with both parents is the ideal situation for children to thrive.  Reunification Therapy (RT) requires a court order which will stipulate the expectation of cooperation by both parents, the courts expectation of treatment goals and interventions, who is responsible for payment of fees, the discretion allowed to the Reunification Specialist to make recommendations in this process etc.  Reunification Therapy is one of the most challenging and difficult therapies for many reasons. Common challenges include parents who may be angry with each other, one or both parents and/or the child(ren) may be wary of the reunification process, children often do not want to attend the therapy or the visitations, and parents may feel upset, and like they are not being heard if things are not going in the way they had hoped.  In order to ensure that everyone understands and agrees ahead of time how this process will go, we have a very lengthy contract that outlines clearly the role of the custodial parent, the role of the estranged parent, the role of the children, the role of the reunification specialist, and the role of each parents individual therapist.   It also covers questions about costs, time lines, etc.

Dr. Stacey Benson

Dr. Jessica Mugge