Defendant Karin Yoch, PhD, Licensed Psychologist being hereby named in both her individual and official capacities, is an individual, is a contracted employee of Wake County Human Services, and is listed on staff at Main Street Clinical Associates PA in Durham, North Carolina also providing services in Wake County, North Carolina and at all times material, pertinent and relevant hereto. Current mailing address is; c/o Main Street Clinical Associates PA, 115 North Duke Street, Suite 1-B, Durham, NC 27701. The Defendant was in fact, acting under the authority or color of state law at the time these claims occurred in that while in her official capacity as a contracted licensed psychologist for WCHS her execution of Wake County Human Services’ and Main Street Clinical Associates PA’s “customs” and/or “policies” were the moving force behind her unconstitutional acts, and that personally, her individual unconstitutional acts violated the clearly established constitutional rights of the Plaintiffs of which a reasonable official would have known, Davis v. Scherer (1984). In addition, she did act under the authority or color of state law when she acted in concert with local officials, including but not limited to, WCHS social workers, their supervisors, county attorneys and others causing harm to the Plaintiffs in effecting the deprivation of rights, Dennis v. Sparks (1980).
Dr. Yoch and Main Street Clinical Associates located in Durham have been complicit in this attack against my family, conspiring with Wake County Human Services (CPS) and their agents. Dr. Yoch conducted the so-called Psychological Evaluations on myself and my wife Debra in October, 2010 as ordered by the court. This was one of the early requirements of the court in order for either of us to be allowed to visit with our children and/or to facilitate their return. Non-compliance with this order would all but guarantee no chance for either of us to see them again even for a visit. Both my wife and I continue to experience these quite common coercive tactics of intimidation too often perpetrated by WCHS, CPS, The Guardian ad litem, and of course the Family Court System. Above the LAW, plain and simple!
Dr. Yoch is and has been on the PAYROLL of Wake County for quite some time. EASY MONEY to be sure. And the cash keeps on flowing so long a she continues to produce what they want – a negative reflection or interpretation of whatever Wake County alleges to be true (their truth), which never seems to come close to anything even related to indisputable facts, but more focused on representing their agenda.
Dr. Yoch’s evaluation had various flaws to say the least…
She has no business recommending any “benchmarks” or guidelines for visitation. A Custody Evaluation would be more appropriate and/or actually meeting and speaking to the children in person and others is more appropriate if such “benchmarks” regarding visitation are to be considered. Dr. Yoch was not asked to perform a custody evaluation, but clearly makes multiple recommendations throughout her report, just as if that is exactly what she was doing; and somehow never met my children or observed them with either myself or my wife.
I think the last page of the evaluation says it best. It clearly stipulates in Dr. Yoch’s own words; “It is important to note that this evaluation should not be considered to be a formal custody evaluation, as this examiner did not have access to detailed information about each of the 7 children, did not observe either parent interact with their children, and did not obtain collateral information from employers, teachers, friends, relatives, and so forth.” that not enough was done to make any recommendations as to custody and/or visitation. It should be noted that up to this point (October 20, 2010) my children had not received any therapy nor any definitive diagnosis, and my repeated requests for an “Adverse Psychological Evaluation” by an independent licensed therapist have been denied.
My psychological evaluation was “frontloaded” including CPS Reports, letters from estranged family members, and a myriad of other unsubstantiated sources of data; all provided to the evaluator in advance; which would only serve to allow for a bias to be formed resulting in a very unreliable report. The evaluation was presented as more of an investigation. The testing was primarily “projective testing” which happens to be controversial in that this type of testing relies heavily on clinical judgment and lack reliability, validity, have no standardized criteria to which results may be compared, and often produce inconsistent results.
Source: Journal of Personality Assessment
Projective tests historically have a rating of below 25% as to consistency. They rely heavily on the opinion of the evaluator and can be greatly affected by the “setting” as in this case WCHS’ office.
Much of Dr. Yoch’s technique, whereby she combines opinions from projective tests with the results from the objective MMPI-2 test allows her to shape her opinion to be whatever suits the agenda; while seemingly lending more credibility to projective tests’ assumptions and opinions by creating the illusion that they have been derived more directly from the MMPI-2 objective test. This makes the statement in her report seem as if it was rendered from an objective test rather that her opinion. She does this throughout the report. Example: “Rorschach scores (projective test – largely her clinical opinion) also raise concerns about Mr. Real’s very poor emotional controls and likely impulsivity - a finding supported by the MMPI-2 as well.” The Kraft report (strictly objective) indicates the opposite; “It should be noted that his score for the ego-strength scale indicates that he has the ability to maintain emotional stability,” and “He is not likely to take risks for fear of making mistakes.”
With regard to her persistent recommendations about my children, Dr. Yoch relied solely on information obtained from an intake assessment back on July 20, 2010 (3 months prior) and other CPS documents. This intake assessment and its overall diagnosis of “Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder” has since been proven false as each of the children have been in therapy for alleged “Adjustment Disorder” (quite the contrast from a “major” disorder to a “residual” disorder) and nothing else. Dr. Yoch also relied heavily on the existence of the DVPO in her report. Since the allegations of the DVPO have now been addressed as ”unsubstantiated” and the actual Order has even been ”set aside” as a Void Order by the very Judge who entered the order; the overall credibility of her report is significantly tarnished.
Potential violations of the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Ethical Conduct clearly exist in her execution of this fee-based so-called evaluation. Without question Dr. Yoch is engaged in multiple relationships with WCHS. Acting as or being available as an expert witness and her written, verbal, or implied promises to conduct further evaluations for WCHS created a conflict of interest and absolutely present a biased approach to my evaluation. She had even pre-determined and agreed in advance, to conduct my wife Debra’s evaluation – for a fee once again. In fact, she further withheld my report and the results of my testing until she completed Debra’s evaluation two weeks later. WHY? What does one have to do with the other?
Furthermore, conducting the evaluation at the WCHS office (an adversarial environment) goes against the possibility of establishing a comfortable setting to administer such an evaluation likely achieving skewed results. She is likely keenly aware of this quite common conflict, but obviously preferred such controversy in favor of producing more negatively skewed results.
Regarding specific Benchmarks or recommendations…
A recent article points out that in an evaluation pertaining to custody or visitation the court typically expects psychologists to examine both parents as well as the child. American Psychologist Dec, 2010. The problem here is that she was not conducting a Custody Evaluation, one was not requested, nor did she take the opportunity to ever meet with my children.
Also, when psychologists are not conducting child custody evaluations per se, it may be acceptable to evaluate only one parent, or only the child, or only another professional’s assessment methodology, as long as psychologists refrain from comparing the parents or offering opinions or recommendations about the apportionment of decision-making, care-taking, or access. American Psychologist Dec, 2010. REALLY?? Clearly something stinks!
It is suggested that Non-examining psychologists also may share with the court their general expertise on issues relevant to child custody (e.g., child development, family dynamics) as long as they refrain from relating their conclusions to specific parties in the case at hand. American Psychologist Dec, 2010.
3.05 Multiple Relationships:
A multiple relationship occurs when a psychologist is in a professional role with a person and (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person, (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom the psychologist has the professional relationship, or (3) promises to enter into another relationship in the future with the person/agency or a person/agency closely associated with or related to the person.
A psychologist refrains from entering into a multiple relationship since a multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the psychologist’s objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing his or her functions as a psychologist, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.
3.06 Conflict of Interest
Psychologists refrain from taking on a professional role when personal, scientific, professional, legal, financial, or other interests or relationships could reasonably be expected to (1) impair their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing their functions as psychologists or (2) expose the person or organization with whom the professional relationship exists to harm or exploitation.
Psychologists are encouraged to consider and also to document the ways in which involvement in a child custody dispute may impact the behavior of persons from whom data are collected. For example, psychologists may choose to acknowledge, when reporting personality test results, how research on validity scale interpretation demonstrates that child custody litigants often display increased elevations on such scales. I did not observe any such reporting in the Final Draft of my report.
Following the release of her Final Report was a scheduled meeting with Dr. Yoch, myself, and Julie Riggins. This meeting is refered to as the interpretive to discuss and explain the results, and of course for the so-called evaluator to answer any questions.
The meeting can be best described as a three-way conversation, fairly heated at times, with all parties expressing their opinion and jockeying for position (myself included) from the start of the meeting to the conclusion. Basically a complete waste of time! After the meeting I communicated with my attorney (I still had one at the time) via email as to its outcome and as to what my a understandings were walking away. Below is the email…
I just want to recap todays meeting with Dr Yoch and my understanding of what was agreed to. The following recommendations were made in the Psychological Evaluation and reaffirmed at today’s interpretive.
I have requested a copy of my Psychological Evaluation from CPS.
Julie agreed to follow-up on that request with a legal advisor at CPS and get back with me.
I will not be required to complete DOSE.
I will agree to attend private counseling sessions. CPS would like periodic updates as to my progress on either Dr. Yoch’s goals or new goals established by the Licensed Therapist.
CPS will release my Psychological Evaluation to the Licensed Therapist of my choice.
I agreed to meet with the Kid’s therapist ASAP or the Coordinator at Triangle Family Services if the family therapy is initiated.
At this point I have done or I am doing everything required of me per the Court Orders and the CPS Service Agreement. Do you have any idea when my children will be able to see me? Thanks for keeping me posted.
This prompted a response from Julie Riggins (CPS) primarily disagreeing with my assessment (of course – since it did not advance her agenda)… in turn, I responded breaking down her statements in italics.
From: Julie.Riggins@wakegov.com [mailto:Julie.Riggins@wakegov.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 10:36 AM
To: Ron Reale
Subject: Re: Visitation
As follow-up, I cannot agree that everything happened as is described by Ron in his email below. The interpretative, in my opinion, did not go very well and little progress was made. I found Ron’s main focus to be on: his complete denial of the adjudicated neglect and his refusal to acknowledge that there was a possibility (or a likelihood) that some of his actions/words could have been taken by his children as being hurtful, particularly when they were being disciplined; TRB and what is going on with him; and, Ron’s concern that the psychologist described him in the evaluation as being overweight.
I can confirm that my “MAIN FOCUS” throughout this process has been to continue to deny ALL allegations of abuse. This has been and always will be my answer with regard to abuse. The Truth is the truth. And I believe CPS themselves now know the truth as well. I find it “very interesting” that Julie has somehow reduce the allegations that I beat/abused (allegations found in multiple CPS documents) my children to “a possibility (or a likelihood) that some of his actions/words could have been taken by his children to being hurtful”. When I questioned Julie on the same comment made in our meeting yesterday, she responded, “I never accused you of abuse”. Dr. Yoch also commented yesterday that she could not speak to the presence of Domestic Violence in my home. Furthermore, what is going on with TRB is directly related to his current caregiver and the WCHS inability to supervise him.
Ron really did not want an explanation of the psychologist’s findings, stating it was her opinion and arguing that he also held his own opinion and that it was pretty much opposite of the psychologist’s with the exception of his interpretation that he did not need to attend DOSE.
My recap would be as follows:
(1) We did discuss Ron’s request for a copy of his psychological evaluation but as I explained to him, Wake County does not typically release those to clients— only to the court, attorneys, GAL office, and service providers involved in this case. The purpose of the psychological is to help guide and direct what services will potentially be most beneficial for the client and the client’s efforts at reunification. The nature of some of the content contained in the psychological is confidential and CPS – related. In addition, there’s information in the evaluation about other people, outside of Ron. My concern about the release of this document is that upon its release, Wake County will have no control over Ron’s release to other parties, whom may or may not have a right to the information contained within the report–especially the information pertaining to other members of his family and his stepchildren. I have requested further clarification, on releasing the psychological to Ron, from my administration and I am awaiting a response.
I will wait for your response with regard to my right to a copy of my own Psychological Evaluation. Beyond that, I am prepared to, and will continue to fight for my right to receive a copy through the court system.
(2) On the part of Wake County, there was no agreement that Ron would not need to complete DOSE. As a matter of fact, Ron was reminded that he had been court ordered to complete this both in DV court and in our juvenile court. Ron had previously informed me that he was withdrawing from DOSE, as quoted here (from 11/6/10):
Also, I have decided that I cannot participate in DOSE. I think everyone is clear on my concerns with that program from my past statements whereby I continue to vehemently deny that ANY abuse has EVER taken place in my home. After hearing more about the program details at my registration appointment I am certain that this is not a program I can participate in as it would require me to “take responsibility” for something that never took place in our home. Not to mention that the Psychological Evaluation suggests that DOSE will not be useful.
I stand by this above statement regarding my participation in DOSE.
At the interpretative yesterday, Ron continued to express this same sentiment (as quoted above); and, while the psychologist did state that she did not feel DOSE would benefit Ron at this time, it was because he is currently denying that he ever engaged in any behaviors that could be considered as verbally/physically abusive, excessively controlling, or hurtful to his spouse, birth children, and/or stepchildren. What the psychologist explained was that Ron would need to engage in individual therapy first and foremost. The thought being that, if, after true engagement in therapy, Ron’s licensed therapist made recommendations that the above behaviors had been adequately addressed in individual therapy then it might be possible that DOSE would not be needed.
(3) Ron did imply yesterday that he has a therapist but did not give any identifying information about this person, such as a name. He seemed more focused on stating that he did not feel he needed a therapist but that he would support Debra engaging in individual therapy.
I did not imply any such thing. I “stated” that I have sought out a Therapist and was scheduled for an appointment on Saturday, in fact. Regarding the slightly skewed and incomplete comments per Debra I would simply refer you to my previous email as to my complete and accurate comments on the matter… “I would simply respond by saying, once again, I stand by my original statements regarding the need for Debra and I to participate in Christian-based couples/marriage counseling as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Having said that, if she feels the need to engage a therapist individually prior to participating in counseling together I would absolutely support her in that 100%.”
The psychologist stressed that therapy should be a requirement and that Ron’s therapist must be a trained, licensed professional and that for the therapy to be most effective at helping Ron with reunification, the therapist should have a copy of Ron’s psychological. Yesterday, the psychologist conceded that the licensed therapist Ron sees may want to develop treatment goals that are similar, or possibly different, from those recommended in her psychological evaluation but that the key to Ron’s treatment would be that Ron accepts responsibility for his actions and gains some sense of empathy— insight into how his words/behaviors are accepted and perceived by others–which was observed to be completely lacking in the interpretative yesterday. Outside of Ron implying that he has a therapist (or will find a therapist), Ron’s words to me on this subject (on 11/6/10) were:
As per the recommendation that I participate in long-term individual counseling, I am not agreeable to that either. This recommendation seems to be centered on something of a prerequisite to Debra and I participating marriage counseling if we chose to at a later time. I would simply respond by saying, once again, I stand by my original statements regarding the need for Debra and I to participate in Christian-based couples/marriage counseling as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Having said that, if she feels the need to engage a therapist individually prior to participating in counseling together I would absolutely support her in that 100%. In any case, current matter is a Juvenile case and does not involve the status or the condition of my marriage with Debra. I think the Judge has also made that clear.
During the meeting yesterday I agreed, as an alternative to DOSE, that I would be willing to engage a Licensed Therapist and further stated that I had already made an appointment for this coming Saturday. I then asked Dr. Yoch directly what would be the requirement as to attendance/participation and/or release of information from those sessions. She indicated that periodic updates regarding participation and confirmation that the goals outlined in her report were being met would be required. I then asked, what if the therapist did not agree with her goals. She responded that she would not require a licensed therapist to adopt her goals but would expect that they develop and report on their own goals and recommendations periodically. We had no discussion regarding “Ron accepting responsibility for his actions” as stated above. We had lengthy discussions on how my “words/behaviors are accepted and perceived by others” and several examples were pointed out throughout the meeting by each of us. I consistently acknowledged the premise that words can at times be offensive and hurtful (even though they may also be truthful), but I also clearly expressed that my conversations with adults (especially those that are making such wild and offensive accusations about me personally in my relationship with my children) is quite different from my conversations with children, especially my own. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT NEITHER JULIE NOR DR YOCH HAS EVER OBSERVED ME WITH MY CHILDREN. SHOCKING TO SAY THE LEAST!!! Both Julie and Dr. Yoch often pointed out how I was offending them by expressing my opinion of the handling of this case, its recommendations and even its effect on my children. In fact, Dr. Yoch often spoke for Julie claiming “Julie must be offended by some of these comments” yet Julie never really indicated that was so. Dr. Yoch would often ask questions such as “Do you trust anyone in this process?” and then quickly claim that my answer was offensive.
(4) Ron did state he would sign a consent for his psychological to be released to his therapist (name unknown), and he reluctantly agreed that Wake County could follow his progress with the therapist. Although, he initially defined this as the social worker only checking on his attendance, which, alone, will not help Wake County determine whether or not Ron is making progress on the goals as stated in the psychological and in his service agreement. After some discussion, it was unclear as to whether or not Ron understood that Wake County would need to have some evidence–both thru observed behavior on Ron’s part as well as reports from the licensed therapist–that progress was being made. Ron was informed that the following of his progress would not require the divulging of confidential specific incidents/discussions but a summary of the therapist’s impressions as to his progress.
This entire paragraph is false. How about, I “openly agreed” to involve Wake County in my progress updates. It was VERY clear as to what was required as “evidence” since I was the one who asked the question. And the answer could not have been clearer from Dr. Yoch as I described above. Dr. Yoch indicated that periodic updates regarding participation and confirmation that the goals outlined in her report were being met would be required. I then asked, what if the therapist did not agree with her goals. She responded that she would not require a licensed therapist to adopt her goals but would expect that they develop and report on their own goals and recommendations periodically.
(5) Ron did agree to meet with the children’s therapist but did not agree to the release of his psychological to be used by the children’s therapists and or the therapeutic visitation program (if this used). Ron did not appear to grasp the full reason/need for talking with the children’s therapists in that it would involve accessing his children’s emotional comfort with him. Ron did make it clear that it has been confusing to him as to when he can begin visiting and he also made it clear that he has felt as if the “bar” is constantly being raised, preventing him from seeing his kids. His feelings were acknowledged. It was further explained that the decision, or Wake County’s recommendation, regarding visitation had not been simple or clean-cut but that it would follow in the following fashion (as best interpreted by the psychological evaluation): (1) Ron will need to talk and/or meet with the children’s therapists to gain an understanding of where they are at–emotionally–with what happened in their home before/after the parent’s separation and CPS removal. (2) The therapist/children will need to provide some indication that they are ready for visits. (3) The children and Ron will engage in therapeutic sessions together to address all that has happened, with it being critical that Ron create a safe and open forum for his children to express their feelings and not make the focus on him being the victim. (4) That actual supervised visits will occur after steps 1-3 have been accomplished, particularly in relation to the older 4 children.
Regarding the statement above “Ron did not appear to grasp the full reason/need for talking with the children’s therapists in that it would involve accessing his children’s emotional comfort with him”, I would refer you to my previous email once again… “I support and am willing to comply with any type of supervised visitation, but without the further release of my personal information. I completely support involving a therapist in this process as the children have been through indescribable turmoil over the last 8 months, being deprived of their father for that long and their mother for half that time. They likely are losing the sense of family altogether. Clearly, involving a therapist will allow them to ease into the visitation process at a pace that is comfortable for them.” Once again a play on words by CPS and/or the use of “selective” recollection as to the facts! Regarding the children and therapy, I have recently (11-9-2010 10:00 AM) requested in an email to Julie Riggins that the children be made available for an independent therapeutic assessment by a licensed practitioner of my choice, at my expense. I further requested that ALL CPS documents be made available to this licensed professional. During this interpretive meeting I was made aware of statements in the children’s therapeutic evaluations that indicate the children are reporting nightmares and fear, among other things. This is unacceptable, and yet I am told that over the past 4 months they have only recently visited with a therapist this past week for their first session. This too is unacceptable. If my children EVER reported nightmares (particularly on a regular basis, which is the implication here) to me while in my care (and they never did) I would immediately seek help for them. I am also prepared to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law.
Wake County has obtained a referral form for the therapeutic visitation program being offered thru Triangle Family Services and the social worker has talked with Susan Ehrlich about the program. The children will need to attend at least a couple more therapy sessions with their therapist and then I will engage Susan in the process of working with the children and Ron. The critical thing is that Susan and the children’s therapist need a copy of Ron’s psychological evaluation to understand what areas need to be focused on when providing their interventions. Without the psychological, I do not see where this plan will be effective at helping Ron and the kids rebuild an emotionally healthy and safe relationship.
This is not part of any court order, Service agreement, nor part or the recommendations in the Psychological Evaluation. It’s just another example of “moving the BAR!” CPS continues to make reference to “my contact opportunities with the children” as if CPS is depriving me of something, but the truth is – every time they move the bar and decide to stall any type of visitation it is my children who are affected, deprived of their father and suffering the most.
At the reunification hearing (6 month review) in April, 2011 the court was presented with the following letter prepared by Dr. Karin Yoch which was clearly designed to respond to my attack of the evaluation process back in October, 2010. The first thing that comes to mind is, why is this relevant 7 months later in a hearing specifically set forth to review progress in over the past 6 months? Also, there is absolutely no indication as to the date this letter was prepared. The date on the letter November 8, 2011 clearly indaicates accurately that the inerpretive session took place on November 8, 2010, but the letter itself was likely produced only a few days prior to this hearing in April. Again, what is the relevance? Such sneaky, crafty, LIARS and DECEIVERS! Easy to see that they have been at this for quite some time.
Date: November 8, 2010
Client: Ronald Reale
Mr. Reale was invited to attend an interpretive session at 11:30am on November 8, 2010. As is customary, Julie Riggins was included in the session in order to answer questions which might arise or other questions which were generated by the information shared during the session. The WCHS social worker was also included in order to better understand the conclusions and recommendations from the psychological evaluation so that she might work more effectively with Mr. Reale.
Mr. Reale initially voiced his concern that he was not aware that Ms. Riggins would be included in the session and asked that she not attend. He was explained that this was customary for the reasons outlined above. He agreed to allow Ms. Riggins to remain in the session.
Mr. Reale was asked whether he had read the report and he indicated that he had only had twenty minutes to review it while sitting in his attorney’s office. He explained that he did not want to release the report to other providers when he was not given a copy himself. Ms. Riggins explained her understanding of the WCHS policy regarding dissemination of the report and the fact she had asked for legal advice about his concerns. She had yet to receive guidance about this matter but we both expressed our understanding about his concerns.
Mr. Reale was told that in an ideal world I would have been able to review the report with him first so that I could have explained my conclusions and recommendations. He was also told that I had spent considerable time and effort in attempting to be fair-minded (e.g., considering the material he provided) and to offer conclusions for which I had test results, historical information, interview behaviors and data, and so forth. He was also told that it was understood that the process of discussing a psychological evaluation was a difficult one because none of us like having another person make judgments about us and that I knew he tried very hard to be a responsible, hardworking individual.
Mr. Reale then stated that he had only two questions to ask about the evaluation. He wanted to know if the time I spent with him and on the evaluation was typical for this kind of evaluation. Mr. Reale was reminded that I had indicated at the end of the report that I had not performed a custody evaluation, which would have taken far more hours to complete. He was told that it was standard practice to obtain information ahead of time, to administer tests, and to interview clients. He was told that the time spent on the evaluation was within a range acceptable for a psychological evaluation. Mr. Reale said he had been researching evaluations on the Internet and had called a number of providers found out that most evaluations should take six weeks to complete. He had spoken to an evaluator who would have charged $5000 for such a report. Mr. Reale was told that this was far more time than most psychologists would require completing an evaluation or that WCHS or other social agency could afford. He was told that it was certainly his prerogative to obtain another evaluation but encouraged to make sure the psychologist had all pertinent information ahead of time as well.
Mr. Reale asked about what he needed to do before seeing his children. He was told that it was important for him to speak to his children’s therapists in order to understand his children’s concerns about him, such as their fears, the reasons behind their nightmares, etc. Mr. Reale asked abruptly, “Have you seen my children?” Interesting that these allegations of “fear and nightmares” were later proven to be non-existent in that after 3 months of sessions with their so-called therapist Joyce Williams, being seen for alleged adjustment issues (nothing more); their therapist stated on the record in response to my question… ”During the conference call with Ms. Williams, I also asked if she could speak to allegations of the children exhibiting “fear” or having “nightmares.” Ms. Williams stated, “I never said that.” I then replied, “So they are not experiencing nightmares?” to which she replied, “I never said that either, adding “all children have nightmares from time to time. They are not exhibiting anything that I wouldn’t consider to be normal or what any child might experience.” Julie Riggins then interjected… “Mr. Reale is blowing this all out of proportion, our agency never thought of those statements as anything more that what normal children experience.” He expressed his belief that his children had absolutely no concerns with him, that none of them were fearful of him, and that any reports to the contrary were factually incorrect. Mr. Reale stated on numerous occasions during the session that he never treated his children in any way that could have produced any anxiety in them. He may have made mistakes but they were so minor, as to be unnoticeable and similar to those made by most parents. Mr. Reale believed that because his children showed him affection and would very likely hug him and want to see him that this ruled out any possibility that they also had felt harshly criticized, fearful, anxious, or angry with him. He was told that they could hold contradictory feelings towards him at the same time. Ah, but again, Dr Yoch has never met them and of course never observed them with me or observed them with either parent for that matter.
Mr. Reale was also told that I had not recommended individual therapy for him to facilitate couple’s counseling. Instead, I explained that I believed both he and Mrs. Reale would need to have made progress in their individual therapy prior to couple’s therapy occurring so that he could learn more about the effects of his over control and unacknowledged but expressed anger and she could learn to stand up for herself. He admitted he had to skim the evaluation so might have gotten this wrong, though he believed strongly that they do need to attend Christian-based couple’s counseling. Nothing more or less.
Mr. Reale was then offered the opportunity to hear about how conclusions were reached in the evaluation with explanations of the test utilized his particular scores and findings, and the rationale for the recommendations, which were offered at the end of the report. Mr. Reale said he was not interested in hearing this information. He said he disagreed with some of the findings and was most upset by the fact that I described him as being “overweight.’ (I based that statement on weight charts which list an average healthy range for 6’0″ men as being between roughly 147 and 188 pounds. Mr. Reale said he weighed 215) He later said that he was surprised that I had included some information (which presumably was favorable to him). He said he did not ask for the interpretive session and was not interested in an explanation of the report.
Mr. Reale made a number of statements during the interview in which he directly and indirectly expressed hostility, distrust and anger towards the process, WCHS, this examiner, the Court system, and other providers. For example, he would complement Ms. Riggins and say he did not have any problem with her per se and then forcefully state that the WCHS process was designed to harm parents, that they keep moving the “bar forward,” so that he had to do more and more before seeing his children, and that they were even in cahoots with other service agencies in order to assure that these agencies were funded. He believes that WCHS puts so many recommendations in their reunification plans to make sure the other agencies, such as Triangle Family Services, are funded. He also said that sometimes WCHS ”gets lucky and does a good job.”
I pointed out to Mr. Reale that his assumption that people were manipulative and untrustworthy was predicted by the psychological evaluation. He was asked whether he thought he would trust a therapist and Mr. Reale said, “No,” and certainly no therapist with any association with WCHS. He was asked whether he saw that telling Ms. Riggin that her agency sometimes gets lucky and does a good job was a hostile statement which might make her feel offended. He pointed out that she had not said she was offended but the point was that many people would feel insulted and offended when told their agency was incompetent and malicious. He denied any hostility in this remark. Similarly, he denied any anger when he asked abruptly if I had seen his children, implying that since I had not, that I really had no idea what they thought or felt about him. Mr. Reale demanded to know if I was a Christian and when told that this was irrelevant, said, “It is very relevant to the evaluation.” Demanded??? I asked the question, Yes. He continued to press to know if I was a Christian and when told I was raised a Christian, he said, “Oh, so you aren’t now?” Pressed?? I asked again after she said it was irrelevant. He was again told that this was not his business.
Mr. Reale was shown on various occasions during the session that his words and nonverbal behavior expressed anger and disdain yet he disagreed with these assessments each time. Actually I agreed and I further stated as I have in various emails…”I consistently acknowledged the premise that words can at times be offensive and hurtful (even though they may also be truthful), but I also clearly expressed that my conversations with adults (especially those that are making such wild and offensive accusations about me personally in my relationship with my children) is quite different from my conversations with children, especially my own.” He was told that test results and my clinical impression, was that he had little recognition of the power of his words, the way he communicated anger and hostility indirectly and directly and so, he could not appreciate how his children must have experienced him sometimes as well. He would not entertain the possibility that he was ever intimidating to his children, citing how patient and understanding he always had been with them all. He disagreed. Mr. Reale’s voice became louder as the session progressed. He leaned forward and his attitude was increasingly intimidating. My physical reaction was to feel my chest tightening, my heart rate increasing, to become anxious myself and to be concerned that Mr. Reale would misinterpret what I was saying or react in an even more angry fashion. I found myself measuring each word carefully to avoid being challenged or verbally attacked. WOW! This is truly precious! This was never mentioned during the meeting nor at any time after, until now! How convenient. My recollection is that Dr. Yoch and Julie Riggins held their own quite well, firing back in defense of their position (even expressing anger of their own) but I was NEVER offended by their aggressiveness.
Mr. Reale was told that I had serious concerns that he would make a statement in sessions with his children which would create confusion in their minds, which might impede their therapy and which might cause them to feel compelled to take care of him and minimize their own concerns. He was willing to meet with a therapist beforehand to work in family therapy and to establish safety rules. He indicated he knew what and what not to say during these sessions. It is my recollection that Mr. Reale agreed to allow the family therapist to have access to his psychological evaluation but not his children’s therapists, which I supported.
Mr. Reale was told that it was imperative for him to see a licensed professional therapist (e.g., psychologist, licensed social worker) in order to gain far more self-awareness, to understand how his own childhood affected him today (e.g., not being able to express affection from the heart as much as he would like), and to work on the anger issues within this context. Wow, she’s good! Somehow in one short 1-2 hour meeting Dr. Yoch was able to determine that I have childhood issues?? This is absurd! She calls herself a Doctor? With ethics? Very interesting, especially since we never discussed any concerns about my childhood. Since there were none, outside the norm. I confirmed that I did not think he was ready for DOSE because he had yet to recognize his underlying anger and rage or know how he expresses it through controlling and indirectly hostile ways. I explained that after working with an individual therapist, the therapist would be in a better position to know whether such a group or other group would be necessary, depending on his progress in treatment. After 20+ weekly sessions with my therapist he comes to the following conclusion… “Ron is able to explore his feelings and his behavior in a non-defensive way. He is able to talk about how he allowed himself to be so caught up in his work that he neglected family relationships. His descriptions of his interactions with his children and other people demonstrate an ability to empathize with others and to make an effort to see things as they do. These capacities for introspection and for empathy are characteristics I do not associate with a person who would abuse his children or his spouse.”
Mr. Reale indicated he understood that he needed to attend individual therapy and mentioned a therapist he was seeing or going to see who did the MMPI-2, so thought this person met the requirements of being suitable professional and licensed. He did not want WCHS to have access to the content of the sessions but was okay about their knowing he attended and perhaps some outline of his progress against goals I recommended or goals he developed with the therapist.
Mr. Reale asserted that the only reason his children were having emotional problems of any sort was because they had been removed from their parents’ care and from him since March 2010. He denied that any of his children’s symptoms were due to their relationship with him. He said that all children sometimes think a parent is mean if they set limits. Mr. Reale was told that I had serious concerns about his judgment of allowing TRB to care for all of the younger children for eight hours a day, particularly since it has become clear that he has serious psychological problems. What “serious psychological problems?” She has NEVER met him! Mr. Reale voiced his belief that ALL of TRB’s problems have started since leaving the home in March when he was exposed to unhealthy and unstable situations and to family members which caused him to become so disturbed. I explained to Mr. Reale that he was quite right to be concerned by the Facebook messages he shared with me because these reveal long-standing rage and self-esteem issues which in my opinion were unlikely to arise over the last six months. He challenged this conclusion and noted he had control of TRB when he was living under his roof. The fact Mr. Reale had to control TRB’s misbehavior in the home was pointed out to him as inconsistent with the notion that all of TRB’s problems arose since he left the home. Why, he is a typical teenager, with typical issues facing teenagers. He needs supervision and accountability; and he absolutely has a right to maintain the FAMILY BOND that was, in fact stripped of him when he was abducted from his grandparent’s home in Nevada and later removed from his parents at the start of this fiasco. Mr. Reale was told that many children get access to Facebook but do not write such postings with violent themes but that these were consistent with someone who had long-standing problems. Sorry, when did you meet TRB? How is it humanly possible for you to even begin to make such assertions. Now I’m wondering how many families/children’s lives have you had a hand in destroying with these notions which quite honestly can only be summed up as that of a witch doctor! Shameful! Again, Mr. Reale would not entertain the idea that he might have in any manner adversely impacted this boy’s development. He never did respond to my concern about his neglect of the children by allowing a young teenager to provide education and supervision to six children. Because there was none! You know very well that I worked from home 75% of the time… as we discussed.
The latter part of the session was devoted to clarifying the recommendations from the psychological evaluation in a practical manner (logistics, what needed to happen first, second, third). Mr. Reale’s distress about not seeing his children for so long was acknowledged and he received sympathy for this.
The session concluded at 12:35 p.m.
Looking at some of the primary assertions and so-called observations in the report produced by Dr. Yoch and Wake County Human Services you can see some very serious questions can easily be raised as to the process and how the so-called “results” came into existence…
“Rorschach results suggest Mr. Reale is experiencing considerable inner turmoil, possibly loneliness and painful emotions.” Hardly conclusive statements! Also, it should be pointed out that Rorschach testing is Projective testing, which is highly controversial in that this type of testing relies heavily on clinical judgment and lack reliability, validity, have no standardized criteria to which results may be compared, and often produce inconsistent results. They are however very useful as a marketing tool in analyzing Brand Images.
Source: Journal of Personality Assessment
Note: 2 of the 3 tests administered to me by Dr. Yoch and Wake County Human Services during my so-called psychological evaluation were projective tests! In addition, as previously mentioned there was a significant amount of “frontloaded” information and documents (CPS Reports, letters from estranged family members, and a myriad of other unsubstantiated sources of data) provided to the evaluator, in advance, that would only serve to allow for a bias to be formed resulting in a very unreliable report. And all that without even mentioning the fact that this evaluator never MET my children, nor observed them with either parent (no Direct Observation Test was ever administered)! Yet, throughout the evaluation and the report, the children are quoted as having “said this” or having “said that.”
The evaluation states that; “MMPI-2 findings suggest Mr. Reale will very likely terminate therapy once situational pressures are removed and it is only through long-term treatment that he will be able to make significant character changes. Therefore, the prognosis for Mr. Reale to make significant changes is guarded at best.” Again, this is presented more as a comparison than a definitive statement, and pure conjecture.
The evaluation actually states; “Before Mr. Reale should be able to have supervised visits with his children; he should be expected to meet with his children’s therapist in order to gain a far better understanding of their current mental status, psychological issues, behavioral problems, academic shortcomings if any, and their concerns regarding their relationship with him.” So again, where does she come by this information; “current mental status, psychological issues, behavioral problems, academic shortcomings if any, and their concerns regarding their relationship with him” and how can she possibly make such recommendations? She already stated that this was not a custody evaluation and that she has never met or even spoken to my children; and they had yet to begin any of their indoctrination sessions with their so-called therapist. Interesting!
The evaluation further states; “Mr. Reale should be expected to acknowledge his role in allowing his children to be left without proper supervision or education (e.g., HMR cannot read in the second grade), subjected to parental discord and repeated separations and per the children, excessive physical discipline and some verbal abuse prior to supervised or unsupervised visits being considered.” WHAT? I have repeatedly stated and agreed that the children have suffered greatly from being dragged from place to place as well as from the ongoing separation from their father for OVER 9 MONTHS and their mother in recent months, and therefore will absolutely need special consideration when reintegrating visits. I personally suggested that I meet with only 2 at a time on the first scheduled visit to aid in this effort to reduce the overwhelming emotions that may exist. Once again, “excessive physical discipline and some verbal abuse, per the children” truly means nothing if this evaluator did not take the time to meet the children and discuss such issues using the proper (accepted) child evaluation techniques, specifically the Direct Observation Test. It is nothing less than a fabrication. And there she goes again making recommendations “prior to supervised or unsupervised visits being considered.” Really?? A Real Doctor?? More like a Real TRAGEDY!!
In March, 2011 I solicited an additional psychological evaluation from an independent agency. I entered into an agreement with Brooke Buchman, M.A, LPA, HSP-PA of Kraft Psychological Services under the supervision of Dr. R.J. Huber, PHD. Kraft Psychological is located in Clayton, NC and conducts court ordered evaluations for Johnston County DSS. After a brief overview of my current situation and an in-depth clinical interview, I accepted Brooke’s recommendation to allow Kraft Psychological to administer three Objective tests (MCMI-III, MMPI-2, and The Child Abuse Potential Inventory – CAPI). This is in sharp contrast to Dr. Yoch’s two projective tests (Rorschach Inkblot Method and Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank) and one Objective Test (MMPI-2).
Kraft Psychological conducted their testing over 2 days. All three administered tests were objective tests and were scored off site by an independent company. Prior to the tests an in depth clinical interview was conducted. Once Kraft received the scores, a comprehensive report was prepared using the data from the clinical interview and the scores themselves.
So; Lets take a look at this independent Psychological Evaluation. I commissioned this report on my own initiative in March 2011; it was conducted by Kraft Psychological, an agency that, in fact, conducts evaluations for Johnston County DSS. This REPORT speaks for itself…
Kraft Psychological Services, P.A.
Ronald’s profile suggests he is a rule-follower who may have a tendency to minimize any problems he is experiencing. He may experience feelings of resentment when he does not express his true feelings. He is not likely to take risks for fear of making mistakes. He likely behaves in a consistent and socially acceptable manner. He is likely seen as sociable and easygoing by others. He may make a good first impression, but may have difficulty forming close relationships with others. However, he is likely viewed as outgoing and self-confident by others. He likely has marital problems and may be impatient. Ronald may not be easily overwhelmed by emotional turmoil. He does not appear to have a high potential for abuse. It should be noted that his score for the ego-strength scale indicates that he has the ability to maintain emotional stability. It should be noted that his Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF=80) score indicates that if symptoms are present, they are transient and expectable reactions to psychosocial stressors.
AXIS I: V71.09 No Diagnosis
AXIS II: V71.09 No Diagnosis
AXIS III: V71.09 No Diagnosis
AXIS IV: Marital problems, situational stress due to custody proceedings
AXIS V: GAF=80 (highest end of the scale)
GAF=71-80: If symptoms are present, they are transient and expectable reactions to psychosocial stressors; no more than slight impairment in social occupational or school functioning (e.g., temporarily falling behind in schoolwork).
GAF=81-90: Absent or minimal symptoms ( e.g., mild anxiety before an exam ), good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday problems or concerns ( e.g., an occasional argument with family members )
Ronald was pleasant and cooperative throughout the assessment process. He was alert and oriented in all spheres. His mood and affect were congruent. He appeared forthright when responding to questions.
1. Ronald would benefit from continuing in counseling that uses supportive techniques designed to build coping skills, increase adaptive behaviors and improve interpersonal skills. It would be helpful for his wife to participate in these sessions so they may build a healthier relationship.
2. It is the opinion of this clinician that Ronald does not appear to have an impairment in his parenting skills due to psychological symptoms. It should be noted that he does not appear likely to abuse his children.