The Law and its Practice:
In Court, from the Supreme Court down through all of the Appeals, Appellate, to the District(s) and other local courts, including military courts (under the Uniform Code of Military Justice), picking and choosing competent, qualified, expert witnesses – medical and all other is essential toward providing proper case law. It may even be more essential when cases go to Appeals courts and are specifically challenged…"for cause”.
Note: Having ‘Board Certification’ may not be as important as choosing the proper certified, credentialed - medical support specialist, and/or other specialized care-giver(s).
Whose life is it anyway?
This guide is an important initial step in your process to properly familiarize yourself for selection of a competent person to help you with your case – no matter if you are choosing a capable medical surrogate, a medical care-giver, a forensic psychologist, a second opinion professional; or, when you are a prosecutor, the defender, or the accused.
Necessary Clinical and Historical Behavioral Background (Psychology)
The word "personality" (Latin persona), means…mask. Historically, in the ancient theatre, ‘mask’ was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, or any players, but it was a convention employed to represent or typify that character’s persona. Pioneering American psychologist, Gordon Allport (1897 - 1967) described two major ways to study personality, the nomothetic and the idiographic. General Note: Professor G. Allport (pub. 1937) rejected both a psychoanalytic approach (too deep) and a behavioral approach (too shallow) to personality. He emphasized the uniqueness of each individual, and the importance of the present context, as opposed to past history, for understanding an individual’s personality. Over many decades, looking at the individuals past personality in the context of their present behavior has been adopted by most behaviorists.
[The two major ways to study personality:
A. Nomothetic psychology - general laws that can be applied to many different people; the principle of Self-Actualization (the motive to realise all of one's potentialities); or, the traits of Extraversion/Introversion. Extraversion-Introversion (traits) are a central dimension of human personality. Self-actualization has been used in various (psychology) theories, often varying in slightly different ways. Another significant prominent trait found in nearly all models is Neuroticism, (emotional instability) – or, the evaluation of specific lack of it.
B. Idiographic psychology - understanding unique aspects of particular individual(s).]
More things to consider regarding the study of personality:
Note #1: In modern psychology, trait theory (dispositions) is a major approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, usually of a Group, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. Traits are relatively stable over time, differing among individuals (e.g., some people are outgoing whereas others are shy); traits can influence behavior.
Note #2: Central traits (a general characteristic found in some degree in every person. These are the basic building blocks that shape most of our individual behavior; although they are not as overwhelming as cardinal traits – e.g., a central trait might be… truthful-ness) are basic to an individual's personality, whereas Secondary traits (characteristics seen only in certain individual circumstances - such as particular likes or dislikes that a very close friend, associate, or ‘a lover’ may know or enjoy; so aspects must be defined, evaluated and included - in order to provide a complete visualization of an individual’s human complexity) are much more peripheral.
Common traits are those recognized within a culture (whole group) and will oft vary between cultures. (e.g., eastern and western, Islam and Christian, et al.).
Cardinal traits (dominate and shape a person's behavior; they are quite rare as most people lack a single theme that shapes their lives) are those by which an individual may be strongly identified; however, with nearly an unlimited number of potential traits - personality usually ‘statistically analyzed’ (group) in factor analysis has been demonstrated in one of three group clusters (including a compiled list of 4500 ‘trait like words’), reliably correlated together. Professor Allport (and his brother) were among the first researchers to draw a distinction between Motive and Drive; suggesting that ‘a drive’ formed as a reaction to ‘a motive’ may outgrow the motive - as a reason. ‘The drive’, then, is autonomous and distinct from ‘the motive’, whether it is instinct or any for any other reason/cause.
This is approach, while not necessarily specified empirically, is inclusive - in most Behaviorist analysis especially when evaluating deviant or questionable behavior.
Note #3: There is no consensus on the definition of "personality" in psychology. The major theories include biological, behaviorist, dispositional (trait perspective), humanistic, psychodynamic, and the social learning perspective. From a legal/court viewpoint, it is essential to know that most researchers, clinicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists do not explicitly identify themselves with any one certain perspective; often taking an eclectic approach; may disqualify them as expert witnesses, et al..
Note #4: Some modern research approach is empirically driven such as the "Big 5" personality model (this model is now the most widely accepted and used model of personality though, of course, many other systems are used); whereas other research emphasizes theory development - such as with psychodynamics. There is also a substantial emphasis on the applied field of personality testing (again, primarily with Group-oriented results) .
Note #5: Dr. Manclaw (the “4th Psychology®…Toward a Spiritual Psychology of Being”) says a person’s soul is the whole pattern of their Enlightenment which includes their unique behavior, thought, and emotion and may be best seen in their ‘eyes’ (appearance, gaze, inner-being, and stare).
Note #6: For more than the past 50 years, Self-actualization (organismic theory) has been considered by most researchers and practitioners as the ‘Master Motive’ – the only real motive a person has (with all others merely manifestations of it). This concept was brought to prominence in Abraham Maslow's ‘hierarchy of needs’ theory, (Maslow’s “3rd Psychology®…toward a Psychology of Being”), as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled and the "actualisation" of the full personal potential takes place.]
Choosing a qualified Psychological Expert Witness, et al., may be most important or one of the most important things that you ever choose to do. Again, whose life is it anyway?
Whether it is a very involved medical treatment protocol with many extenuating medical or legal issues, or whether it is a straight forward issue, choose well or go to, and spend the necessary time, to find a competent professional; or, in order to help prepare to make the choice for one.
Some issues have very important patients’ rights issues, to the patient’s clinical treatment programs, to all doctors, care-givers and healthcare professionals; and, to all lawyers, courts at local, district, appelate and perhaps even at the Supreme Court level.
Please help yourself; get involved!
[Article is a work product, research prepared in Doctorate Thesis – (including a 3000 hour, supervised practicum) by Forensic Psychologist Dr. Ron Manclaw, D.Div. Pastoral Care - UB University of Georgia at Stone Mountain to be published within the: 4th Psychology®…toward a Spiritual Psychology of Being. Dr. Manclaw is a fully qualified expert witness for FIGA, the State of Florida. He’s a sworn ad Litum to the Chief Judge in Broward County, Florida. Dr. Manclaw is the elected Senior Chaplain of HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Network – WORLDWIDE, Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida (in the Kinder Family Counseling Services, Inc. division)
Web-Sites: opendoorministry.com or hpcnw.com