Holistic Happenings

By Betsy Stukes

As many of you know, we have psychologists in the PDO Holistic Division who are able to assist as consulting experts on our cases. Recently, one of our doctors helped with a client charged with first-degree injury to a child. Our doctor's work has helped the client personally as well as with the criminal case she faces now.

Upon meeting her client for the first time, the lawyer realized immediately that she had experienced trauma and was presently depressed, so she sent a referral to the psychosocial team in Holistic for help. Our psychologist met with the client and discussed her extensive history of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband.

The psychologist knew she had to do something. First, she communicated with the jail persistently until a doctor finally saw the client and prescribed her medication for depression. As soon as the client had the medication, she felt more herself, and her ability to assist in the defense of her criminal cases improved dramatically. The psychologist also scheduled weekly therapy sessions with the client to help her understand the trauma she’s endured, develop coping mechanisms, and teach her parenting skills. The attorney is using the psychologist's work to help formulate important mitigation evidence as the criminal cases progress.

The attorney also reached out to the civil legal team in Holistic for help getting the client a divorce from her abusive husband. Normally, the civil team does not handle divorces, but because of the extreme circumstances in this case, they agreed to do a status-only divorce—that is a divorce that will not necessarily solve all child custody issues or property disputes but will hopefully show CPS and the prosecutors (and even the client herself) that she is taking steps to separate herself from her abuser and work toward a better life.