Spring 2020 - PSYC 379 D100

Clinical Forensic Psychology (3)

Class Number: 8909

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    AQ 3154, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    SSCC 9002, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201 and 268. PSYC 241 is recommended.



Clinical approaches to the understanding of behavior in criminal and civil forensic settings. Topics related to the assessment, treatment, and management of people suffering from mental disorder.


Important Note about the Format of this Course This is a hybrid course, meaning that SOME OF THE CLASSES ARE IN-PERSON AND SOME ARE ONLINE. The dates for the in-person and online classes are clearly indicated in the syllabus below. On-line classes are highlighted in yellow. Online classes will be held through Canvas Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. It is very important to use Canvas Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and not the standard version.

Computer Literacy and Equipment
Students are expected to be computer literate and familiar with the internet. You will be familiarized with how to log into the online classes during the first class. Students will need access to a Mac or Windows-based computer with multi-media capability (including a headset with microphone), high-speed Internet access, and Chrome, Explorer, Firefox, or Safari


Clinical forensic psychologists are involved in conducting psychological assessments and treatment in legal, correctional, forensic and mental health settings. Assessment topics include risk for different forms of violence, identification of key risk factors such as psychopathy, and treatment needs of violent offenders. Clinical forensic psychologists also conduct research on these topics. This course will provide an overview of the primary areas within clinical forensic psychology, including: the phenomenology and assessment of risk for various forms of violence (i.e., interpersonal violence such as homicide and assault; sexual violence; intimate partner violence; stalking); major violence risk factors (i.e., psychopathy; certain forms of major mental illness; substance abuse); victimization by violence; youth violence; gang violence; criminal responsibility and fitness to stand trial; and violence reduction treatment. Course material will cover these issues both from a scientific and applied/clinical perspective.


  • Written Project (due the last day of class): 30%
  • Mid-Term Exam (February 25): 30%
  • Final Exam: 40%
  • Both exams will include multiple choice and written answers. The final exam is not cumulative. Make-up exams only will be given in the event of a documented emergency (e.g., documented illness, death of a family member). If you must miss an examination for an emergency, you should contact Dr. Douglas prior to the scheduled exam time or as soon as possible. In addition, you must provide written documentation of the emergency or event in order to schedule a make-up exam. If you miss an exam due to a medical illness, you must get your doctor to sign and complete the following Health Care Provider Form: http://students.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/students/pdf/healthcare-statement-general.pdf


Grade Disputes:
If you wish to dispute a grade assigned on an exam or on the written project, your dispute must be presented to Dr. Douglas in writing within one week of receiving the grade. You must include a specific rationale for why your answer is correct (e.g., a reference to a specific page in a reading). The review may lead to higher grades, lower grades, or no changes.  
Academic Dishonesty: Basically, don’t do it! Please review the following sites to ensure you understand what academic dishonesty is and how to avoid it: http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/plagiarism-tutorial  
Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.


Topics and Readings    
Date   Topic & Readings
Jan. 7 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Introduction to the Field of Clinical-Forensic Psychology; Landscape of Crime and Violence in Canada ·    No readings
Jan. 14 Online Class. Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility (Insanity Defence) ·    Zapf, P. A., Roesch, R., & Pirelli, G. (2013). Assessing competency to stand trial. In I. Weiner & R. K. Otto (Eds.), The handbook of forensic psychology (4th edition), pp. 281-314. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Chapter 11)  
Jan. 21 Online Class. Psychopathy, I ·    Edens, J. F., Skeem, J. L., & Kennealy, P. J. (2009) The Psychopathy Checklist in the courtroom: Consensus and controversies. In J. L. Skeem, K. S. Douglas, & S. O. Lilienfeld (Eds.), Psychological science in the courtroom: Consensus and controversy (pp. 175-201). New York, NY US: Guilford Press. (Chapter 8)
Jan. 28 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Psychopathy, II ·    Douglas, K. S., Vincent, G. M., & Edens, J. F. (2018). Risk for criminal recidivism: The role of psychopathy. In C. Patrick (Ed.), Handbook of psychopathy (2nd ed.) (pp. 682-709). New York, NY: Guilford.*
Feb. 4 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Violence Risk Assessment and Management, I ·    Guy, L. S., Douglas, K. S., & Hart, S. D. (2015). Risk assessment and communication. In B. Cutler & P. Zapf (Eds.), APA handbook of forensic psychology (Volume 1) (pp. 35-86). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Feb. 11 Online Class Violence Risk Assessment and Management, II ·       Douglas, K., S., & Skeem, J. L. (2005). Violence risk assessment: Getting specific about being dynamic. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 347-383. ·       Douglas, K. S., Nicholls, T. L., & Brink, J. (2017). An evaluation of strategies to reduce risk of violence among persons with mental illness. In P. M. Kleespies (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of behavioral emergencies and crises.  New York: Oxford University Press.*   
Feb 18 Reading break - no class
Feb. 25 In-Person Exam. Come to the Classroom Mid-Term
March 3 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Mental Disorder and Violence ·       Guy, L. S., & Douglas, K. S. (2015). Major mental disorder and violence. In C. A. Pietz & C. A. Mattson (Eds.), Violent offenders: Understanding and assessment (p. 77-98). New York, NY: Oxford.
March 10 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom The Psychology of Gangs ·       O’Brien, K., et al. (2013). Youth gang affiliation, violence, and criminal activities: A review of motivational, risk, and protective factors. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18, 417-425.
March 17 Online Class Young Offenders ·       Edens, J. F., & Vincent, G. M. (2008).Juvenile psychopathy: A clinical construct in need of restraint? Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 8, 186-197. ·       Boxer, P., & Goldstein, S. E. (2012). Treating juvenile offenders: Best practices and emerging critical issues. In E. L. Grigorenko (Ed.), Handbook of juvenile justice: Forensic psychology and psychiatry (pp. 323-340). New York, NY, US: Springer. (Chapter 21)  
March 24Online Class (A) Stalking; (B) Intimate Partner Violence March 24Online Class.(A) Stalking; (B) Intimate Partner Violence ·       Rosenfeld, B., Fava, J., & Galietta, M. (2009). Working with the stalking offender: Considerations for risk assessment and intervention. In J. L. Werth, E. R. Welfel, & G. A. H. Benjamin (Eds.), The duty to protect: Ethical, legal, and professional considerations for mental health professionals (pp. 95-109). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (Chapter 7) ·       Aldarondo, E. & Castro-Fernandez, M. (2011). Risk and protective factors for domestic violence perpetration. In J. W. White, M. P. Koss, & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Violence against women and children, Volume 1: Mapping the terrain (pp. 221-242). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (Chapter 10)
March 31 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Sexual Violence ·       Mann, R. E., Hanson, R. K., & Thornton, D. (2010). Assessing risk for sexual recidivism: Some proposals on the nature of psychologically meaningful risk factors. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 22, 191-217.
April 7 In-Person Class. Come to the Classroom Core Controversies and Future Directions in Forensic Psychology  No readings!

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html