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Forensic Psychology Expert Witness

Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D.

Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D.

145 Lincoln Road
Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773

Phone(781) 259-0283


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Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has over 40 years experience in the field of psychology as both a clinician and teacher which includes over thirty years as a forensic expert, psychometrist and child custody evaluator. He regularly presents at state and national associations. He is a principal founder and Past-President of the Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem.


Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D. offers a variety of forensic and clinical services, such as the following:

- Child Custody Evaluations / Guardian ad Litem
• Recommendations
• Parenting plans
• Parental fitness

- Parenting Coordination
• Oversee parenting plans
• Mediate/Arbitrate disputes
• Provide safe environment to discuss parenting issues

- Divorce Coaching
• Keep objective and clear-headed.
• Maintain a positive focus.
• Co-parent more effectively.
• Make informed decisions about family and social interactions.
• Develop effective parenting plans and custody arrangements.
• Work successfully with the Guardian ad Litem.
• Keep your eye on the big picture and your real goals.

- Expert Witness
• Mental impairment/diminished capacity/competency assessment.
• Criminal behavior affected by intellectual, mental and emotional disability.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder and its effects on criminal behavior.
• Dangerousness, malingering, criminality assessment.
• Victim Assessments
• Review and analysis of potentially mitigating circumstances in connection with the crime.

- Psychological Testing & Assessment
• Reproducible results
• Risk & violence assessment
• Impulse control
• Executive functioning
• Diagnosis & Prognosis
• Recommendations

- Litigation Support
• Critical review of mental health assessments
• Detailed analysis and critique of psychological test findings.
• Assistance in question development for cross-examination of the mental health expert.

- Criminal Defense Assistance
• Competency to stand trial
• Murder
• Rape
• Assault
• Sexual assault, sexual abuse
• Child abuse
• Domestic violence
• White collar crime

- Personal Injury
• Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
• Personal injury, emotional pain
• Work-related Injuries
• Alcoholism and other drug abuse problems
• Malpractice

Litigation Support Services

Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D. offers litigation support services for matters such as the following:

• Critical review of mental health assessments
• Detailed analysis and critique of psychological test findings
• Assistance in question development for cross-examination of the mental health expert

Areas of Expertise


Dr. Shapse is an expert in forensic psychology and psychological assessment. He has served as an expert witness in civil and criminal matters heard in Federal and State courts since 1986. He has been qualified as an expert in:

• Child Development
• Child Custody
• Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis & Treatment
• Dangerousness and Competency

He is able to convey complex psychological issues in a simple and understandable manner to judges, jurors, attorneys and clients. His excellent communication and teaching skills, both on and off the stand, have allowed clients to win cases and achieve favorable settlements. At present, Dr. Shapse is exclusively in private practice specializing in forensic evaluation and related matters, psychological assessment, and individual treatment.

Areas Served

All States

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Professional Experience

• 1982–1983: Tufts-New England Medical Center Post-Doctoral Seminar on Neuropsychological Testing
• 1976–1977: Professional Affiliate Program Newton-Wellesley Hospital Newton, MA
• 1975–1977: Boston Gestalt Institute Cambridge, MA. Theory, technique and practice of Gestalt therapy.
• 1973–1974: Practicum Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA. Individual and family therapy. Community outreach


Commonwealth of Massachusetts (License Number: 2806)


• American Board of Medical Psychotherapists
• American Psychological Association
• American Psychology-Law Society
• Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
• Child and Adolescent Task Force
• Divorce Center
• Guardian ad Litem Task Force
• Justice Resource Institute Trauma Center
• Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem
• Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
• Massachusetts Psychological Association
• Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
• Tufts School of Medicine


Serving as a guardian ad litem. In S. Walfish (Ed.), (2010) Earning a Living Outside of Managed Mental Health Care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

White Papers:
Child Custody Evaluations and Psychological Testing—Valid and Invalid Expectations.

Cross-Examination of Psychological Testing.

Forensic Psychological Assessment.

Selecting Psychological Tests and the Experts Who Testify.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Explained).

The Role of the Mental Health Child Custody Evaluator.

When a Test is Not a Test: Tests Without Forensic Validity.


• Boston College, 1980: Ph.D.
• Boston College, 1974: M.Ed.
• Syracuse University, 1969: B.A.

Articles Published by Steven N. Shapse, Ph.D.

Link Child Custody Evaluations and Psychological Testing – Valid and Invalid Expectations

Often, requests are made for psychological testing as part of the child custody evaluation (CCE) process, and too often, the results are disappointing. The root cause of this is two fold: lack of practicable and executable referral questions and findings that are presented in jargon-based, non-behavioral terms.

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Link When a Test is Not a Test: Tests Without Forensic Validity

Tests such as the Thematic Apperception Test, the House-Tree-Person (HTP), Human Figure Drawing (HFD) and the Draw-A-Person (DAP) “tests” are inappropriate for use in a forensic context.

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Link The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The "bible" of diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Text Revision, known as the DSM-IV-TR and published by the American Psychiatric Association is extensively used by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and most other mental health professionals in the U.S., Canada and abroad to provide a common nomenclature for diagnostic purposes and for communicating about mental disorders.

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Link Forensic Psychological Assessment

Psychological assessment is an invaluable and inestimable tool in the understanding of individual uniqueness. A comprehensive assessment helps explain the connection between psychological functioning and behavior. To be comprehensive, an assessment needs to examine a range of psychological factors.

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Link The Role of the Mental Health Child Custody Evaluator

Guardians ad litem originate from a practice in the English Court of Chancery when the King, under his parens patriae powers, would appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the infant. Today, the court appoints child custody evaluators, (GALs) whenever it believes it necessary to protect the interests of a child in a judicial proceeding.

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Link Selecting Psychological Tests and the Experts Who Testify

When deciding upon an expert one might want to consider the following questions: • Has the expert ever testified before? How many times? • How does the expert present in court? Is he well organized and is his thinking logical and easy to follow? • Is he a member of major professional organizations? • Does he employ well-known and generally accepted psychological tests?

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Link Cross-Examination of Psychological Testing

Cross-examining mental health experts is often a difficult challenge for attorneys as they are un-familiar with the material. I will discuss the most commonly used psychological measures and key points to keep in mind when questioning experts, either in deposition or on the stand.

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