Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Psychologists as Golems?

Event Name/Location

XXXVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health

Event Location / Date(s)

Prague, Czech Republic

Presentation Date


Document Type



Family Court has been broken for a long time despite the many attempts to fix its problems. For example, children in the U.S. and other countries do not have legal rights to have their wishes represented. Rarely are the decisions handed down in the child’s best interests even with a system of Guardian ad Litems and mental health clinicians available to the judge. Often those in the court are ignorant of the developmental needs of a child or of the danger to the child’s psyche by an abusive parent. All too often, parents’ rights of access to a child are given more attention than the child’s safety. The long history of holding mothers responsible for everything that happens to a child may let the fathers go without careful scrutiny. In many jurisdictions there is no official recording of the proceedings so appeals are not possible even if the parties could afford them. In this presentation, I will point out the ways to correct some of these issues by using the TJ model used in criminal courts. This will require family courts to be less focused on equity and more on using the court’s power to be therapeutic.