Diagnostic Psychological Evaluations

A forensic psychologist takes information from multiple different sources including interviewing the client, reviewing test data from multiple psychological tests, and reviewing information provided from caseworkers, attorneys, courts, or other third parties to evaluate an individual.

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Parenting Skills & Substance Abuse

Many things can influence upon how one parents their children. Parenting skills can be impacted by things such as personality issues. Emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder affect how well a person copes with stress in dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting.
Intellectual issues can impact upon a parent’s ability to effectively parent their children. The more limited intellectual capacity can impact an individual’s ability to deal with the complexities of raising children. Substance abuse issues certainly can have an impact upon a person’s ability to parent. Alcohol and drugs impact can upon a person’s judgment and will lead to poor decision-making.

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Competency/
Guardianship

As the baby boomer population ages, issues of independent living and competency become increasingly important. Individuals who have developed dementia or other cognitive issues will begin to have difficulty with legal, financial, and medical decision-making. As the disease progresses, they will have difficulty with activities of daily living such as self-care, cooking, cleaning, and hygiene. The forensic psychologist role is to determine whether or not an individual has reached a level at which a Guardian needs to be appointed. If a family member is capable of providing guardianship, this would be preferred, but in many cases, Adult Protective Services needs to be contacted in order to appoint a neutral third party Guardian.

Free Consultation

Diagnostic Psychological Evaluations
A forensic psychologist takes information from multiple different sources including interviewing the client
Parenting Skills & Substance Abuse
Many things can influence upon how one parents their children. Parenting skills can be impacted by things such as
Competency/Guardianship
As the baby boomer population ages, issues of independent living and competency become increasingly important. Individuals

What comprises an evaluation?

The components of an evaluation varies based on the question that is being addressed. However, almost all evaluations have a structured interview to provide context to the individual’s personality

The most common evaluation that is provided to clients is the parenting skills evaluation, often combined with substance abuse issues. The components of a parenting skills evaluation are:

  • Clinical Interview
  • Rorschach®
  • Personality Assessment Inventory®
  • Parent-Child Relationship Inventory®

 

What We Do

We specialize:
  • Diagnostic psychological evaluations
  • Parenting skills & Substance abuse
  • Custody
  • Competency/guardianship
  • Independent living
  • Anger management
  • Mental injury issues

 

We use psychological tests and assessment instruments that have the highest validity and reliability

Our evaluations and testing instruments meet the evidentiary standards for the use of scientific evidence in the court

Parenting Skills

Many things can influence upon how one parents their children. Parenting skills can be impacted by things such as personality issues.

Competency/
Guardianship

As the baby boomer population ages, issues of independent living and competency become increasingly important. Individuals who have developed dementia or other cognitive issues will…

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse impacts people in numerous ways. Unfortunately, with the opioid epidemic currently facing the country,

Mental Injury

Mental injury is a legal term that seeks to determine the severity of abuse suffered by children. While mental…

What to expect

How Does it Work?

Very few people come to see Dr. Kitchen voluntarily. They are most often referred by some third-party agency such as a court, protective service agency, or other agent. Because of this, people are often coming to see Dr. Kitchen during the most stressful part of their life.

Dr. Kitchen works very hard to make the clients feel comfortable and will always treat clients with the utmost respect regardless of their reason for referral.

Step :

First Contact:

Either the referring agency will ask you to call our office and arrange an appointment or we will be given your phone number and asked to contact you.

Step :

Second Contact:

Please try to arrive at your appointment up to 15 minutes early because there is some paperwork to be completed. You will be asked to sign an informed consent to the evaluation as well as asked to fill out some demographic information such as name, address, birth date, and telephone number.

Questions patients ask

Frequent Questions

What if I’m unable to make my appointment?

Please contact the office manager as soon as possible if for any reason you are unable to make your appointment. We understand that life happens and that, sometimes, due to weather, childcare, illness, or other scheduling conflicts, you need to change your appointment date or time. Do Not simply fail to show up to your appointment. This will reflect somewhat negatively upon your ability to responsibly care for your obligations.

Can I take a break during my evaluation?

If you require a break, you will be offered approximately 10 minutes duration during the middle of your evaluation for a cigarette, time to get up and stretch, or any other reason; however, only short and one time breaks will be allowed.

Can I get a copy of my evaluation?

Dr. kitchen is willing to provide you with a copy of your completed evaluation report. However, the referring agency legally owns the report and, as a result, the caseworker/attorneys/or judge, must give permission for Dr. kitchen to provide you a copy of the report (99.9% of the time this is not going to be an issue). Occasionally, and always for Social Security disability clients, Dr. kitchen is legally prevented from providing you a copy of the report. At that time, it is recommended that you request a copy from the referring agency. If you are paying for the evaluation yourself, the report is only provided to you upon completion with full payment for Dr. kitchen’s services.

Is your building handicap accessible?

Dr. kitchen’s secondary office in Dowagiac is ground floor with a ramp to the door. His main office in St. Joseph Michigan is not handicap accessible. He is on the second floor of a two-story building with no elevator in the building. If you need handicap access, please  specify that you need handicap access.

How long is the evaluation?

The time it takes to complete the evaluation will vary from person to person. However, a basic psychological evaluation with parenting skills should take approximately 2 hours to complete. If further tests are requested, such as intelligence tests, substance abuse, or anger management task evaluation could take as much as three to 3 ½ hours.

Can I bring my children to my evaluation?

If you have another responsible adult who can watch your children while you undergo the evaluation process, there is some space in the waiting room for children. However, your evaluation will be most successfully completed if Dr. Kitchen has your full and unwavering attention and concentration. Because of this, unattended children, disruptive children, or children with special needs should not be brought to the appointment. Occasionally, a caseworker may be able to be available to watch your children, but this is something you need to work out between you and your caseworker.

Should I take my medication before coming to the evaluation?

Absolutely. This is especially the case if you’re prescribed medication for depression, anxiety, or other emotional or mental health issues. Letting Dr. kitchen know that you have issues such as depression, anxiety, or other concerns, and that you are responsibly treating such concerns, tends to reflect favorably on your overall outcome.

Do you have evening, morning, or weekend hours?

Early morning appointments (beginning as early as 7 AM) and later early evening appointments (beginning as late as 5 PM) can be arranged depending upon the length of the evaluation requested. Remember some appointments can last up to 3.5 hours. However, these must be discussed between you and the office manager. Please be aware that if an early morning or late afternoon appointment has been allowed, this is a privilege and, should you fail to keep that appointment, you will be asked to reschedule during regular office hours.

Who We Are

Dr. Kitchen has been in the Southwest Michigan area for 30 years.  He and his wife raised three children and has seven grandchildren.  He graduated with his Doctor of Psychology from Andrew University in 1995.

Dr. Paul Kitchen has practiced psychology for 24 years and specialized in forensic psychology for the past 18 years. He has over 120 hours of continuing forensic evaluation training and has performed over 5000 forensic evaluations for the courts, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Disability Services

Debbie Bidwell has managed the practice since 2003. Debbie provides valuable insight to caseworkers around what types of testing is appropriate given a client’s specific circumstances. In some court related cases, she conducts home visits to inspect the client’s living conditions.

Informational Posts

Read Blog Articles

Mental health and safety concerns have been in the news recently.  Whenever there is a mass shooting or attack, the mental health of the attacker is almost one of the first questions raised.  The truth is that there is no higher incidence of violence among people who have mental health issues than those that don’t.  In fact, in all my years of working with the mentally ill or psychologically distressed individuals, I have only felt threatened perhaps twice.  I have worked with severely depressed, highly anxious, personality disordered, psychotic, and schizophrenic clients and 99.9% of the time they are aware of their problems and are simply trying to figure out how to have the most meaningful life they can while coping with their limitations.  Mental health treatment is certainly an underserved aspect of our society, but we should not live in fear of our friends and neighbors who have mental health issues.