Cope for Court®

Forensic psychological preparation for court appearances

67% of our customers have considered the Cope for Court method very useful and 33% quite useful in relation to a court appearance.

Forensic psychological preparation is a method which:

  • Is appropriate for preparing the person being tried and the witnesses for a trial
  • Enables witness statements to be issued better and more efficiently
  • Reduces significantly anxiety and stress in the person speaking at trial
  • Prevent possible additional trauma for the person speaking at trial
  • Enhances interaction between the person speaking at trial and their legal assistant
  • Has been proven to be useful

The purpose of forensic psychological preparation is designed to help the person speaking at trial to speak in court as clearly as possible. The method comprises the following steps:

a) The initial stress level and the symptoms of potential traumatic stress are identified by self-assessment forms

b) The next step is legal proceedings education, which is a method of training that enhances the understanding of the legal process of the person speaking at trial and helps them to deal with their emotions and thoughts concerning the hearing. The legal proceeding education deals, among other things, with the stages of the trial, the roles, responsibilities and rights of the parties and the progress of the day in practice.

c) The next step in Cope for Court is to teach a mental image and relaxation exercise to the person speaking at trial

d) The third step is to use the EMDR method and to undertake a resource exercise where any distracting images and thoughts associated with the upcoming trial will be neutralised by EMDR therapy techniques.

Overall, the Cope for Court session usually takes 60 minutes.

The work centres on the hearing of the person during the trial.

The research results have demonstrated that forensic psychological preparation:

• Increases the confidence of the person speaking at trial and the credibility of their testimony
• Expands on testimonies and reduces the number of errors in them
• Reduces advance anxiety experienced by victims of crime

Forensic psychological preparation enhances and facilitates the preparatory work of legal assistants and increases the information value of and quality of judicial evidence. The preparation does not pass judgement on the content of the evidence. The task of preparing is designed to help bring the best of the person at their own hearing. The work concentrates on the court hearing or arbitration. In a criminal case in Finland, the costs of the preparation may be claimed from the defendant.

Concerning the Cope for Court method:

“Forensic psychological preparation is a win-win experience for all parties. The lawyer’s anxiety about the readiness of the person speaking at trial to appear at a hearing is abolished, the person speaking at trial gains more confidence and courage in their performance and the court has access to testimonies that are substantively more accurate and detailed.”

Helinä Häkkänen-NyholmNational Crisis and Trauma Conference 11.11.2016

The Cope for Court method is developed by Dr. Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm, Docent of Forensic Psychology, Psychotherapist and EMDR therapist. Further information: helina.hakkanen-nyholm@psyjuridica.com, info@mementos.fi or +358 (0)443511630.