Clinical-Forensic Psychologist 
Mark D Worthen PsyD

Updated May 9, 2024

I am a clinical-forensic psychologist in private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

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Professional Services

Veterans Law Attorneys & VA-accredited Claims Agents

I specialize in independent psychological examinations (IPE) with U.S. military veterans appealing an unfavorable VA disability claim decision. If you are a veterans law attorney or VA-accredited claims agent, you might want to schedule a free 15-minute consultation for suggestions about a case or to see if an IPE might be warranted.

IPE and Consultation for Attorneys in Civil Law Cases

I offer evaluation, consultation, and expert witness services for attorneys in other legal domains, e.g., employment law (ADA, sexual harassment), insurance disability, civil competencies (guardianship, testamentary capacity), worker's compensation, and psychological injury.

If you are an attorney, paralegal, or legal assistant, you may wish to schedule a free 15-minute consultation for suggestions about a pending case, or to ascertain if an independent psychological exam might prove beneficial to your client. 

Consultation to Other Psychologists Regarding VA C&P Exams

I also offer consultation to other psychologists regarding VA compensation and pension examinations (C&P exams) for PTSD and other mental disorders. I offer a free 15-minute consultation for psychologists to discuss if further consultation might be helpful.

IPE & DBQ Directly for Veterans (Nexus Letters)

In select cases, I will conduct Independent Psychological Exams with Veterans without a referral from a veterans law attorney or VA-accredited claims agent. But I require a careful review to determine if an expensive private exam is truly necessary. For more information, see my page on nexus letters for PTSD and other mental disorders

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Education & Training

* Graduated from the University of Maryland's Psychology Honors Program.

* Member, Phi Beta Kappa

Commencement Speaker at his college's graduation ceremony.

* Earned a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree from Baylor University in Texas.

Clinical Fellow in Psychology at Harvard Medical School

This is a brief summary. My curriculum vitae (CV) contains detailed information.

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Phi Beta Kappa

Work Experience as a Clinical-Forensic Psychologist

* Over five years as a full-time VA Compensation and Pension examiner, conducting C&P exams for VA compensation PTSD and other mental disorder claims.

* Court Psychologist for a family court in Alexandria, Virginia

* Forensic Psychologist at a community mental health center in Charlotte, North Carolina

* Clinical Consultant to a Drug Treatment Court in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (pro bono).

* Consultant to defense counsel in private disability insurance cases.

* Consultant to companies in workplace violence threat situations.

Expert witness in several jurisdictions in central and western North Carolina.

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Professional Service in Clinical-Forensic Psychology

Clinical Consultant, Mecklenburg County Drug Treatment Courts, 1997–2002 (pro bono).

Co-Chair, North Carolina Psychological Association (NCPA) Law & Psychology Committee, 1997–2001.

Secretary & Member of the Board of Directors; Association for Scientific Advancement in Psychological Injury and Law (ASAPIL), 2011–2017; Webmaster, 2011–2020.

Action Editor & Peer ReviewerPsychological Injury and Law, 2018 to present.

Member, American Psychology-Law Society, intermittently since 1997, served on book award & continuing education committees, 2019–2021.

Contributor, Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Military Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families, 2020–2021. [Note: contributor, not author or editor; see p. 6 of the Guidelines]

Started a Psych C&P Exam listserv.

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Writing

Peer-reviewed Articles

Harrison, Patricia Ann, Glenace E. Edwall, Norman G. Hoffman, and Mark D. Worthen. "Correlates of Sexual Abuse Among Boys in Treatment for Chemical Dependency." Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse 1, no. 1 (1990): 53–67.

Maisto, Stephen. A., Timothy J. O’Farrell, Mark Worthen, and Kimberly Walitzer. (1993). "Alcohol Abuse and Dependence." In Handbook of Behavior Therapy in the Psychiatric Setting, edited by Alan S. Bellack and Michel Hersen, 293–310. New York: Springer.

Shura, Robert D., Anna S. Ord, and Mark D. Worthen. “Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology: A Psychometric Review.” Psychological Injury and Law 15, no. 1 (March 2022): 64–78. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12207-021-09432-y

Worthen, Mark D. and Robert G. Moering. "A Practical Guide to Conducting VA Compensation and Pension Exams for PTSD and other Mental Disorders". Psychological Injury and Law 3, no. 3–4 (2011): 187–216. https://perma.cc/C9QK-MR23

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Other Writing

  • Worthen, Mark D. "Psych C&P Exams Are Unfair to Veterans" (Wʜɪᴛᴇ Pᴀᴘᴇʀ). Social Science Research Network (SSRN), 2018. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3102447.

  • Worthen, Mark D., PTSDexams.net, an educational website about disability evaluations with U.S. military veterans (no ads, no affiliate links), 2014 - present.

  • I wrote most (80%) of Veterans benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States, a Wikipedia good article (credit is due to the other writers and consulting editors).

  • In response to a Proposed Rule changing the definition of aggravation in 38 C.F.R. § 3.306 and 38 C.F.R. § 3.310,1 I “persuasively”2 argued against the change,3 and along with other public commenters, we persuaded VA to drop the proposal (VA never issued a corresponding Final Rule).

  • The ICD-11 Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee accepted the gist of my proposal to improve the description of malingering in ICD-11 (Feb 2019).

ICD-11 description for Malingering before 2019
Malingering is the intentional production of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms when this is specifically motivated by external incentives or rewards, such as obtaining financial compensation, obtaining medications or drugs, being released from incarceration, or the avoidance of punishment, work or school, or some type of service such as the military or jury duty.

My proposed change to the ICD-11 description for Malingering
Feigning or significant exaggeration of physical or psychological symptoms, or intentional misattribution of genuine symptoms to an unrelated event or series of events, or a combination thereof, designed to achieve a specific objective such as escaping duty or work; mitigating punishment; or receiving unmerited recompense such as disability compensation or personal injury damages award.

ICD-11 description for QC30 Malingering after revisions (and still current as of May 2024)
Feigning or significantly exaggerating physical or psychological symptoms, or intentionally misattributing genuine symptoms to an unrelated event or series of events, or a combination thereof, designed to achieve a specific objective such as escaping duty or work; mitigating punishment; or receiving unmerited recompense, e.g., disability compensation or personal injury damages award.

Note: My proposal is technically classified as rejected because it was not accepted verbatim. See the ICD-11 Maintenance site for details (you will need to register, create a login, and learn how to display proposals, references, comments, and entity versions).

Footnotes

 1. Aggravation definition, 85 Fed. Reg. 56189 (Sep. 11, 2020).

 2. Veterans Legal Clinic of Harvard Law School and Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick Ltd., Comment on AQ80-Proposed Rule at 14 (Nov. 10, 2020), https://downloads.regulations.gov/VA-2020-VBA-0021-0032/attachment_1.pdf (PDF).  

 3. Mark Worthen, Comment on AQ80-Proposed Rule (Oct. 13, 2020), https://www.regulations.gov/comment/VA-2020-VBA-0021-0012.


What Is Clinical-Forensic Psychology?

My Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree is in clinical psychology.

Calling myself a "clinical-forensic psychologist" means that I apply clinical psychology knowledge and methods to help answer legal questions. Psychologists who provide healthcare services must be licensed, but there is not a separate license for forensic psychology. 

There are important distinctions between clinical and forensic psychological assessment, which you can review in this chart: Clinical vs. Forensic Psychology.

By the way, other psychologists conduct research and provide expert witness testimony to help answer legal questions, i.e., it is not just clinical psychologists. For example, social psychologists have conducted ground-breaking research in forensic psychology, e.g., on the fallibility of eyewitness testimony. 

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