• Expert Testimony

CAPACITY EVALUATIONS

Dr. Gibson is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in conducting capacity evaluations of older adults. Her framework for capacity assessment includes an understanding of the legal standard for capacity, an appreciation for functional elements, diagnosis, cognitive underpinnings, psychiatric or emotional factors, an individual’s values, risk considerations, steps to enhance capacity, and offering clinical judgment of capacity. Dr. Gibson has expertise in assessing the following capacities:
  • Medical consent
  • Sexual consent
  • Financial decision-making
  • Testamentary
  • Independent living
Complicating the understanding of capacity is the concept of “undue influence” which involves the relational dynamic between an older adult and a person of trust. Undue influence describes the intentional use of social influence, deception, and manipulation tactics to gain control of the decision-making abilities of another individual. In many cases of undue influence, a person in a position of trust uses their relational power to exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of another. Persons with intact cognitive functioning can certainly fall victim to undue influence; however, persons with cognitive impairment are at higher risk for susceptibility and increased dependency.

Dr. Gibson is recognized as a local and national expert on the key psychological component of undue influence, which is often an underlying factor in most cases of elder financial abuse and exploitation. Dr. Gibson provides both case-specific and social-framework testimony in legal proceedings involving financial exploitation and capacity.
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