The role of the party’s expert witness in separation and divorce litigations: between forensic and clinical psychology

by Alfredo Verde and Elena Passoni

The present paper, after a brief description of the main problematics about parental alienation, the new concept of “alienated child”, and the relationships between children and the noncustodial parent, focuses upon the role of the “consulente tecnico di parte” (the party’s expert witness) in separation and divorce trials, in which the judge has ordered that a “consulenza tecnica d’ufficio” (the advice of an expert directly appointed by him) be performed. In such a situation, in which many professionals collaborate and/or dispute, sharing a common complex relational matrix, the work of the party's expert witness can be characterized as taking care of the adult, parental part of the client's personality, and not as colluding with the client's infantile needs. In such a perspective, in which forensic psychology aims ought to be harmonized with clinical ones, the relationship between the client and his expert is examined, both from the point of view of transference, and from the point of view of the possible use of dream material.


Professore associato di Criminologia, DIMEL, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, Università degli Studi di Genova
Alfredo Verde
Laureato in psicologia; interno, DIMEL, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, Università degli Studi di Genova
Elena Passoni
Contacts: Alfredo Verde, DIMEL, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, Università degli Studi di Genova, e-mail: alverde(at)tin.it

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 3/2009



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