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Custody Newsletter Volume #10
Dr. Stephen S. Honor is on the National Board of Advisors of the Professional Academy of Custody Evaluators, Inc.
He has written what I think all custody evaluators will consider important, timely, and somewhat controversial. Dr. Honor calls upon us to standardize the comprehensive custody evaluation. He feels strongly about what should be included in anything that is referred to as a comprehensive custody evaluation. He speaks about "informed" consent. While all "consent" procedures imply the person giving consent knows what he or she is consenting to, "informed consent" originates in a surgeon to patient model. In it, the surgeon spells out to the patient just what will be involved in an upcoming operation. Benefits and risks are spelled out in detail. In this way, the patient can make an "informed" decision about the prospective operation. This would imply that when we seek consent of a parent, or of a parent for a child, for participation in a custody evaluation, we should spell out in great detail exactly what each participant will be in for. Do any of us do this? Perhaps of greatest controversy are Dr. Honor's thoughts on certain limited forms of participation in the custody evaluation. They seek some kind of normative "fairness" (and of course, as in Dr. Honor's thesis, want to make sure that no comparative statements are made from insufficient data). I, personally, have always favored expanded participation of the mental health professional since to me, this is what due process is all about. I have always been greatly concerned with the influence of very personal and subjective biases in the way custody data are aggregated. A "neutral" bilateral evaluation offers no protection against this. While I certainly do not want to see a return to the "one-sided" evaluation, I favor a participant being allowed to bring forward any fact that he or she thinks is important. Hence I agree with Dr. Honor's main thesis of what should constitute a comprehensive evaluation, but I would not like to see our participation limited to this role. These are important themes and deserve our careful consideration. Dr. Honor, who is in the independent practice of forensic and neuropsychology on Long Island in New York, is board certified in Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Behavioral Medicine. His article deserves diligent thought and response. In writing his contribution, he claims it is neither a "scholarly pursuit" nor based on research on statistics. He depends on his own experience. And while shortly hereafter the Custody Newsletter will become the Custody Journal, based in part on refereed materials, Dr. Honor's piece demonstrates EXACTLY why the Custody Newsletter was founded to begin with: to provide a forum for experienced custody evaluators to communicate with one another without statistics. AUTHOR: Stephen Honor, Ph.D. 222 Middles Country Road #215 Smithtown, NY 11787 (516) 979-6226
Stephen Honor, Ph.D.
222 Middle Country Rd. #215 Smithtown, NY 11787 516-979-6226
Stephen Honor, Ph.D. 222 Middle Country Rd. #215 Smithtown, NY 11787 516-979-6226
Division 40 of the American Psychological Association
Stephen Honor, Ph.D. (2000-2003) Federal Advocay Coordinator: 222 Middle Country Road Smithtown, NY 11787 TEL: (516) 979-6226 FAX: 516-979-6482