Frequently Asked Questions
Here's a bit about my professional background and interests. Duke University trained as a doctoral psychologist, I've practiced clinical psychology and medical psychology In North Carolina since 1980. Along the way I've obtained additional training in police and public safety psychology, and in forensic psychology. With support from supervisors and mentors, I've become a board certified (ABPP) specialist in both forensic and police/public safety psychology. Click here for my CV.
In 1999 I returned to undergraduate school for basic science and pre-med courses, followed by medical training as a PA-C from 2002-2005 at East Carolina University. I bring a medical approach to my clinical psychological and consultation work, and a psychological foundation to my experiences practicing clinical medicine in family medicine and psychiatry. Over my career I've practiced in both inpatient and outpatient medical settings, and I've been on the staff of Forsyth Medical Center since 1981.
After medical training I founded The FMRT Group in late 2005 and early 2006. FMRT coordinates medical and psychological support for safety-sensitive employers including law enforcement and public safety agencies. FMRT proudly serves several hundred safety-sensitive employers in North and South Carolina, and around the nation.
Finally, while I've always been a practicing clinician, over the years I've enjoyed having opportunities to serve as a counselor and visiting professor in psychology, behavioral, and clinical medicine in several university and medical school settings in the US and the Caribbean. As I look to the future I anticipate continuing these "sabbatical" opportunities.
I'm a student interested in a forensic psychology career. What advice do you have?
Be very clear that the work is not what is depicted on television and in the movies. Then, please know that you must first be trained as a psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) to further specialize in forensic, or other, specialty areas in psychology. There are only about 400 board-certified forensic psychologists, and about 75 board-certified police psychologists in the nation.
Students, do your homework and use the mainstream links on our "resources" page to learn about psychology as a profession, and about forensic and police psychology as areas for specialization. Good luck, and follow your interests! Do be very suspicious about free-standng "forensic" and other psychology programs that don't qualify you for licensure in your state. Also be wary of the many web sites that promote forensic and police psychology as "profiling" and criminal case investigation. Also, be critical about sensational books written about these psychological specialities by non-psychologists. (Our request of you: Please don't contact us for "interviews" for your classes. We receive 5-10 calls or emails for such requests per month and are not able to commit the time to respond.)
What advice do you have about careers in psychology and medicine?
Based upon our experiences in psychology and medicine (PA-C), we believe there will be many opportunities 1) for psychologists with specialty training/experience, 2) psychologists with specialty training/experience in primary care settings (clinical health psychology) and 3) for PA-Cs and NP-Cs with training/experience in behavioral health challenges.
Forensic, and police and public safety psychology are areas in the profession that are expanding. Both combine clinical, counseling, assessment, and I-O psychology skills in the support of the legal system and the agencies and individuals who provide our safety and security. (Contrary to the 24/7 media driving public perception, we continue to live in the safest era of homo sapien history!)
Finally, neuroscience and the gut microbiome - in our opinion - will continue to be rapidly expanding frontiers impacting clinical and research medicine and behavioral health over the next decade. When asked about choosing a major, we suggest consideration of a double major in biology and psychology - then finding an area of interest/passion and going for it!
What is involved in a complex evaluation?
In order to address specific medico-legal referral questions from a variety of referral sources, our complex evaluations may include interviews and mental status examinations with an individual, collateral information from others about the individual, psychological and neuropsychological testing, review of relevant background records, and sometimes medical laboratory testing and focused medical examination.
Do you accept insurance?
No. Health insurance companies do not provide coverage for medico-legal evaluations, In addition, for the last eighteen years we have chosen to avoid the problems associated with billing, panels, conflicts of interest, and "decision-making by clerks" that come with accepting health care insurance. Due to our level of training and experience in both psychology and medicine we do not accept referrals for complex evaluations for reduced fees. In addition, we do not provide evaluation services under any “managed care” or “subcontractor” arrangements that require reduced fees.