Given the increasing involvement of clinical neuropsychologists in forensic work, this book by Kyle Brauer Boone, an expert in the detection of feigned cognitive symptoms, is a timely addition to the literature. Though the book covers some of the same ground as Glenn Larrabee's Forensic Neuropsychology: A scientific approach (Larrabee, 2012), its focus is more explicitly on clinical practice and the issues commonly facing the practicing clinician. It is a single-authored text that provides a wealth of practical and evidence-based information, much based on Dr Boone's clinical practice. In all, she has written an informative, measured, and accessible book that is likely to be useful to the seasoned clinician and the beginner alike. In fact, since reading this book, I have already made two changes to long-standing aspects of my own clinical practice and am using it to guide a developing research project.
This eight-chapter book has two types of chapters. One type of chapter provides a comprehensive review of the extant literature with detailed descriptions of key concepts, applications, findings, and conclusions. Helpful summaries highlight the main points; the writing is clear and cogent. These chapters cover strategies and tests for the assessment of cognitive symptom validity or negative response bias (e.g., Test of Memory Malingering), as well as the assessment of symptom validity through psychological symptom measures (e.g., Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test) and traditional psychodiagnostic measures (e.g., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). The chapter on cognitive symptom validity tests was particular helpful as it provided a detailed rationale for why such tests are necessary, best practices in their applications, relevant data including classification statistics, as well as three helpful cases studies illustrating common types of presentations. Dr Boone's evidence-based explication of these cases is particularly illuminating and likely to be of value for the student or beginning clinician. In all, because these chapters are so tightly linked to the literature, they will likely be helpful for the clinician seeking to buttress an argument or a practice pattern in an empirical fashion.
The second type of chapter in this book is more explicitly practice-based and capitalizes on Dr Boone's extensive clinical experience as a forensic neuropsychologist. Her case studies, brief clinical anecdotes, and sample reports are particularly informative. There is material here that is simply not available elsewhere in print—at times these chapters have the feel of an individual supervision session with an expert who patiently and thoroughly addresses common conceptual and interpretative errors in clinical neuropsychological practice. Throughout, there is an emphasis on how to resolve or prevent these errors. These chapters address key issues in conducting the neuropsychological examination, test scoring and interpretation, common flaws in forensic neuropsychological reports, the special problem of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), as well as how to protect one's data and conclusions when testifying. Each chapter provides helpful information on issues likely to confront the clinical neuropsychologist on a routine basis—while the stress is naturally in the forensic arena many of these issues are relevant to non-forensic practice as well. Particularly informative was Dr Boone's discussion of clinicians' tendency to over-interpret low cognitive test scores, as well as common misinterpretations of the MMPI-2/MMPI-2-RF. She details, and then deconstructs, common MMPI-2 myths in a reasoned and, again, empirical fashion. The mTBI chapter provides a useful evidence-based framework for evaluating and addressing common issues in the presentation of these examinees in the forensic setting. In detailing responses to common questions or arguments about the sequalae of mTBI, her approach is informed and measured. Finally, her testimony chapter provides common criticisms of neuropsychological opinion; her sample responses are necessary reading for the clinician likely to face such scrutiny. Clearly, this is an experienced clinician who has maturely and constructively engaged attorneys and critiques of her work.
If there is any criticism about this book, some clinicians may disagree with select aspects of Dr Boone's clinical approach. For instance, Dr Boone continues to use the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III rather than the newer Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV. Though she clearly articulates a rationale for doing so, I suspect that this practice is not common. It is notable, however, that even when she argues this position, her position is well-supported both conceptually and empirically. These latter issues are minor and do not meaningfully detract from this excellent book. In my view, this book is necessary reading (and should be a continued reference) for those clinical neuropsychologists who practice in the legal arena. With Dr Boone's clear prose, extensive clinical experience, and balanced handling of clinical issues and controversies, practice should improve. Moreover, it is important to emphasize that the clinical issues she deals with and the resulting recommendations are simply not available in the literature and, as such, speak to the uniqueness of this book.