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Elaine Hanson, Ph.D., J.D. - Fielding Graduate University. Denver, CO, US

Elaine Hanson, Ph.D., J.D.

Doctoral Faculty - Clinical Psychology | Fielding Graduate University


Neuropsychological assessment; psychosocial support to victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, political strife and epidemics


Elaine Hanson, PhD, received her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law and practiced civil litigation in the '80's with an emphasis on head and brain injury litigation and expert psychological testimony, primarily in neuropsychology, both substantiating and refuting brain injury claims. She served as Deputy District Attorney in Littleton, Colorado, from 1982-1984.

Hanson went back to school and received her PhD in Psychology (she had previously received her BS in Psychology) with a special focus in Assessment and Forensic Psychology. As a practicum student, she was responsible for neuropsychological assessment of patients with problems including Alzheimer's Disease, traumatic head injury, alcohol-related problems and dementia. During her residency at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center, she completed rotations in a variety of disciplines, including work in an inpatient PTSD unit. She taught clinical psychology, disaster psychology and forensic psychology as an assistant professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology from 2000-2006, during which time she co-founded the Center for International Disaster Psychology at (UD) and served as director.

Dr. Hanson was founder and past executive director of SalusWorld, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the provision of psychosocial support to victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, political strife, and epidemics. SalusWorld, recently dissolved, collaborated with international local nonprofit organizations to develop psychosocial programming and help heal the psychological and emotional scars of victims of human rights violations and natural disasters.

At Fielding Graduate University, Dr. Hanson is a core doctoral faculty member in the Clinical Psychology PhD program, teaching courses in cognitive assessment, personality assessment and forensic psychology. She supervises dissertation research, acts as faculty advisor, and provides oversight for students in all phases of their doctorate education. In addition, Hanson is Chair of the Senate Leadership Committee at Fielding.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Disaster Psychology

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd)

Forensic Psychology

Neuropsychological Assessment

Personality Assessment

Cognitive Assessment

Education (3)

University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology: PhD, Clinical Psychology

Special Focus: Assessment and Forensic Psychology

University of Colorado School of Law: Juris Doctorate, Law

Tulane University: BS, Psychology

Graduated Cum Laude

Event Appearances (15)

Assessing Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

(2014) Presentation, Boulder Valley Public Schools  Boulder, Colorado

The Changing Face of Burma

(2013) Presentation, Boulder County Library  Boulder, Colorado

The Challenge of International Mental Health

(2013) Presentation, Boulder Valley Rotary Club  Boulder, Colorado

Working with Victims of Torture

(2011) Presentation, University of Colorado School of Law  Boulder, CO

International Opportunities for Clinical Pscyhologists

(2011) American Psychological Association Annual Conference  Washington, DC

Working with Victims of Torture

(2010) Presentation, University of Denver College of Law  Denver, CO

International Opportunities for Psychologists

(2010) American Psychological Association Annual Conference  San Diego, CA

Mental Health Evaluations in Asylum Cases

(2010) Presentation, University of Denver College of Law  Denver, CO

Treating Trauma in Post-War Bosnia and South Africa with Emphasis on Psychological Intervention

(2005) The Women’s Library Association of the University of Denver  Denver, CO

The Challenge of Leadership Following Disaster

(2005) Presentation, International Leadership Institute, University of Colorado  Boulder, Colorado

Trauma Work and Training in the Balkans

(2004) Consortium, Graduate School of Professional Psychology of the University of Denver  Denver, CO

International Disaster Psychology Training

(2004) The Women’s Library Association of the University of Denver  Denver, CO

Legal Concerns for Clinical Neuropsychologists

(2000) Colorado Neuropsychological Society Fall Conference  Denver, CO

Relative Sensitivity of the Halstead-Reitan Battery and Other Measures of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Doctoral Research)

(1997) Fall Meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology  

Lineup Identification and Mistaken Identity: Evidence for a Memory-Blending Approach to Unconscious Transference (with Ross, D.F., Toglia, M.P., Hopkins, S. and Devenport, J. )

(1992) Conference of the Psychology and Law Division of the American Psychological Association  

Articles (3)

The impact of war on civilians

(2012) Trauma Counseling: Theories and Interventions

Hanson, E. and Vogel, G.

Lisa Lopez (Ed.) Springer: New York.

The Role of the Neuropsychologist as an Expert Witness

(2003) National Academy of Neuropsychology Bulletin

Hanson, Elaine

Vol. 18, No. 2 In these litigious times it becomes necessary for the clinical neuropsychologist in private, group or an institutional practice to be informed of certain of the legal developments that impact and, at times, hinder the practice of the clinical neuropsychology. No matter how hard we try to limit our practices to areas that do not interface with the legal system, we are inevitably confronted by demands placed upon us by that system. For example, we conduct neuropsychological evaluations for clients who choose to pursue civil cases to obtain damages for neurological injuries. More recently, neuropsychologists have become involved in criminal cases when they are called to testify about legal issues such as competency, insanity and premeditation that inherently involve an investigation of an individual’s cognitive functioning.

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The impact of protective shields and videotape testimony on conviction rates in a simulated trial of child sexual abuse

(1994) Law and Human Behavior

Ross, D., Hopkins, S., Hanson, E., Linsday, R.C.L., Hazen, K., and Eslinger, T.

Volume 18, Number 5, pp. 553-566 In Experiment 1 mock jurors watched a videotape simulation of a sexual abuse trial that included a 10-year-old child witness testifying in one of three different modalities: (1) The child testified in court while directly confronting the defendant (open court condition). (2) The child testified in court with a protective shield placed between the child and the defendant (shield condition). (3) The child testified outside the courtroom and the child's testimony was presented to the jury and the defendant on a video monitor (video condition). The mock jurors judged the guilt of the defendant after watching the entire trial. The modality of the child's testimony had no impact on conviction rates.

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