Forensic Psychology

How Dr. Janene M. Donarski Will Work For You

Why Forensic Psychology may be an Advantage in Legal Issues

Forensic psychologists are most commonly licensed psychologists who specialize in applying psychological knowledge to legal matters, both in the criminal and civil arenas.

Forensic psychologists assist in a wide variety of legal matters, including:

  • Independent Psychological/Neuropsychological Examinations
  • Mental State Examinations of criminal defendants (insanity, competency to stand trial, etc.)
  • Child custody/family law
  • Violence risk assessment
  • Civil law (personal injury cases)
  • Social science research

(e.g., explaining a scholarly topic such as memory research/recidivism to a jury)

  • Explaining complex behaviors and brain issues in a comprehensive manner for the jury to


  • Mediation/dispute resolution
  • Jury selection… and much more

Where to Use Forensic Psychologists

Forensic psychology is the interaction of the practice or study of psychology and the law. Psychologists find work in prisons, jails, rehabilitation centers, police departments, law firms, schools, government agencies, or in private practice, just to name a few. The broad definition of forensic psychology emphasizes the application of research and experimentation in other areas of psychology (e.g., cognitive psychology, social psychology) to the legal arena. This would include applying results from studies in areas such as cognitive psychology to legal questions. Examples of the studies we apply to our forensic psychology include E. Loftus’ studies on eyewitness identification and S. Ceci’s research on children’s memory, suggestibility and competence to testify.

Dr. Janene M. Donarski provides an uncommonly thorough approach to psychological assessments and neuropsychological examinations. This approach allows well informed diagnostic decisions and highly individualized recommendations. A neuropsychological examination and consult provides a comprehensive and detailed description of the unique behavioral, cognitive and psychological functioning of the brain and consequences of brain trauma. This assessment documents functional strengths and weaknesses to identify rehabilitation resources to help the individual adjust to or compensate for disabilities. Scientific techniques are used to infer preexisting characteristics and to provide an index of the extent and type of changes brought about by an injury. Prognosis for recovery or adaptability can be similarly inferred and documented.

Because assessment requires a thorough understanding of many aspects of the individual, there can be up to 14 hours of testing. Consequently, testing and interview sessions are broken into manageable lengths of time.

Examples of Reasons for Neuropsychological and Psychological Evaluations

  • Michigan Mental Health Court
  • Custody/Parenting Evaluation
  • Geriatric Services
  • Recommendations based on psychological findings
  • Malingering/ Competency/ Capacity to Stand Trial
  • Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
  • Involuntary Treatment/ Involuntary Hospitalization
  • Alternative Treatment Orders – Outpatient treatment
  • Guardianship (full/partial)
  • Adaptive Behavioral Assessments
  • Intellectual Assessments
  • Occupational Assessments
  • Social Security Disability (SSD) / Social Security Income (SSI)
  • School Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Sexual Abuse/ Recidivism
  • Influential components that affect jury

The Report

Neuropsychological and Psychological assessment reports allow juries, judges and treatment specialists to gain a thorough understanding of important history, psychological functioning, symptoms and diagnostic considerations in a short amount of time. This can dramatically alter and accelerate a case allowing clients to progress further than would otherwise be possible.

We can work directly with doctors and will conduct Independent Medical Examinations/Evaluations.