WSH -- Department of Psychology


The Psychology Department at WSH is comprised of approximately sixty-five licensed Psychologists and Master’s level Psychology Associates. Staff engage vulnerable mentally ill adults in both a forensic and civil setting (forensic patients are detained pursuant to RCW 10.77, whereas civil patients are detained pursuant to RCW 71.05). 

Forensic Psychology: Psychologists in the Center for Forensic Services perform a diverse range of functions to assist the Courts, the Community, and Patients in the hospital. The pre-trial evaluation team evaluates patients who face criminal charges to determine whether they have a mental illness, and whether they have the functional abilities required to stand trial or be held accountable for their acts.  Psychologists also conduct risk assessments and make risk management recommendations for patients who are being granted grounds privileges or being released into the community.  On the treatment wards, psychologists and psychology associates provide evidence based treatments and behavioral management strategies.  These treatments and strategies improve patient outcomes, as well as make the wards safer for both patients and staff.

Clinical Psychology: The Clinical Psychology department is currently staffed by twenty licensed psychologist positions and twelve Master’s level clinicians. Clinical psychologists have two main responsibilities: clinical work and court work. Clinical psychologists are an integral member of treatment teams, providing expertise in the formulation of treatment plans and behavior plans. They provide evidence based and best practices group therapy to patients that reside in a particular building. Clinical psychologists also provide individual therapy when clinically indicated.  Several of our clinical psychologists provide leadership for ward based programming based on social learning principles. The court work includes submission of court petitions for civil commitment or less restrictive orders and providing expert testimony in court.
The Master’s level clinicians design and develop group treatment and implement four treatment groups daily. They also are responsible for the initial contact with patients who have submitted patient rights violation complaints. A few of these clinicians work in tandem with licensed psychologists on treatment units using social learning principles.

Expected Benefits and Outcomes

The goal of the Psychology Department is to support the hospital’s mission, to promote recovery and well-being in partnership with the people we serve.


The Psychology Department continues its efforts to offer patients services and interventions that are consistent with evidence-based and best-practice methodologies. Evidence-based means that interventions are based upon a comprehensive review of scientific and clinical literature. Best-practice means method or techniques that have consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that are therefore,  used as a benchmark.

Treatment and Therapy

Psychology staff participate in treatment unit-based and Recovery Center-based individual and group psychotherapy/education, consistent with a trauma informed approach. Staff conduct interviews for Court and provide testimony (both in terms of forensic and civil practice); staff assist with writing both treatment and behavioral plans; they assist with clinical incident de-briefings; conduct risk assessments; conduct psychological assessments and neuropsychological evaluations;

Other Information:

Other resources and information can be found under each Center: