A mental health professional is trained to understand interpersonal and interfamilial relationships which is a necessity in identifying dysfunctional or concerning thought processes, perceptions, relationships, and the needs of children at varying developmental stages. All of these are what is evaluated in conducting, evaluating and assessing child custody, social investigations and parenting plan evaluations. The mental health professional can best identify and determine the most appropriate types of Child Custody Assessments or instruments that meet the individualized need of each family based on patterns of interactions, communications, abuse, mental health or substance related needs.
The Social investigation or Child Custody assessments used to determine recommendations are extremely important in order to make a successful comprehensive evaluation. The child custody assessments we use encompass parent and child unconscious perceptions, awareness, competencies and estrangement/alienation patterns. We administer research based child custody assessments and instruments but do not conduct psychological assessments such as the MMPI or the MCMI-III, as a standard part of a social investigation. However, if we believe there is a serious need for psychological testing, we will either arrange for the administration of more extensive testing or refer the administration of that testing out to a forensic psychologist to conduct extensive testing.