Bio: Shirley Feldman-Summers, Ph.D.

Shirley Feldman Summers

I received my B.A. in psychology from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1969, and my M.A. from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, in 1971. I continued my graduate work in psychology at Kansas University, where I received research-oriented training under the tutelage of Sarah Kiesler. I was awarded my doctorate in 1974.

For the next nine years, I held research and faculty appointments at the University of Washington, where I taught and carried out federally funded research focused on the victims of sexual assault. The publications resulting from this research are included in my list of publications found on this site.

Soon after applying for my first research grant, I applied for a license to practice as a psychologist in Washington. I was licensed in 1976, and about four years later had my first experience as an expert witness. The issues I was called upon to address were whether a mental health counselor who engaged in sexual activities with his client fell below the standard of care, and whether his actions caused his client to suffer psychological harm.

Shortly after this case concluded, I began to expand my clinical and forensic practice, and in 1983 discontinued my work in an academic setting altogether. A few years later, the governor of Washington appointed me to a five-year term on the Examining Board of Psychology. While serving on the Board, I gained experience hearing and deciding cases against psychologists who had been charged with violating the rules of professional responsibility.

In 1996, I received the “Distinguished Psychologist” award from the Washington State Psychological Association. In about 2000, I began phasing out my clinical practice so that I could concentrate exclusively on my forensic practice.

As a forensic psychologist, I have worked on a wide variety of cases, and have testified in both state and federal courts, primarily in Washington.

Though most of my forensic cases have been civil suits in which psychological damages were alleged, I have also been retained to offer opinions in criminal cases in which psychological issues were involved. For example, I have offered opinions about community standards in obscenity cases and about the mental state of criminal defendants.

Within the context of civil suits, I have been asked to form opinions about a wide range of issues, including not only an individual’s psychological condition and its cause, but also such matters as why an adult claimant did not assert his or her claim of childhood molestation at an earlier date, or whether a claimant was capable of giving consent to sexual activities, or whether a new or revised version of events can be attributed to social influence, or whether a particular type of behavior in the workplace is likely to be offensive to most women in our society. In all of these matters, I have had occasion to call upon what I learned as a result of my research-oriented training.

The audio-visual program I have produced contains a distillation of all I have learned about how to develop and carry out a successful and rewarding forensic practice, with an emphasis on a practice in the civil arena where psychological injury has been alleged. I am confident you will find it helpful. If you don’t, you can return the disks within 30 days for a full refund, no questions asked.

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