I did not know better then. Now that I know better, I am better.Maya Angelou
Dr. Shannon Edwards
Dr. Shannon Edwards is a Clinical Forensic Psychologist in Pittsburgh. She has extensive forensic and clinical experience working with juveniles, adults, and families. Unique to the Pittsburgh area, are her eight years of academic training in Clinical Forensic Psychology, which involved rigorous law and psychology specialty coursework. Dr. Edwards’ academic foundation and applied training provided her a necessary ethical and clinical foundation, allowing her to competently practice the specialization of law and psychology’s intersection.
Until recently, Dr. Edwards was the only licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania with eight years of foundational academic training in forensic psychology. As such, she opened a private practice in downtown Pittsburgh to serve the local community and beyond. However, she emphatically announces her best friend from graduate school, Dr. Lindsey Wilner, has opened her own forensic private practice in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.drlindseywilner.com). Having been academically trained in law and psychology, they are both able to competently provide psycho-legal services to Pennsylvanians.
Dr. Edwards’ evaluative experience includes providing parental capacity, child custody, and general mental health evaluations for Family and Juvenile Court; provision of wrongful death, immigration, and personal injury evaluations for Civil Court; and delivering a broad range of evaluations for Criminal Court including competency to stand trial evaluations, criminal responsibility evaluations, mitigating circumstance evaluations, juvenile life without parole evaluations, sexual offender evaluations, and general psychological evaluations. She is available for retention for jury consultation or selection, having provided those services during adjudication and sentencing phases.
Therapeutically, Dr. Edwards provides co-parenting, reunification, supervised visitation, and other court-involved therapies for Family Court. She provides expert testimony or reports to Counsel or Judges, regarding the aforementioned individuals’ progress, serving the best interest of the children. Dr. Edwards has conducted individual and group therapy involving individuals diagnosed with serious mental illnesses (SMI), provided evaluation and treatment to individuals mandated to a state hospital forensic unit, and served as the Director of Mental Health at the Allegheny County Jail.
Dr. Edwards has provided expert services to other counties within the Commonwealth including Butler, Erie, Lancaster,Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Dr. Edwards has been qualified as an expert in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois’ courts.
Samantha Etzi, MSW – Associate Clinician
Ms. Etzi is a graduate of the Masters of Social Work program at The University of Pittsburgh. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Penn State. Ms. Etzi provides biopsychosocial clinical interviews, home visits, record reviews, and resource referrals, which are utilized independently or integrated within Dr. Edwards’ reports. Ms. Etzi and Dr. Edwards work collaboratively, depending upon the clinical presentation, delivering comprehensive evaluations to their clients.
Ms. Etzi provides co-parenting, reunification, supervised visitation, and other court-involved therapies for Family Court, as well as expert testimony and reports regarding the individuals’ progress, serving the best interest of the children. From previous applied training, Ms. Etzi gained valuable experience working with incarcerated adults and juveniles interacting with the criminal justice system.
Serving Our Clients
Of particular interest to Dr. Edwards and Ms. Etzi is the purpose and need of social advocacy as it relates to serious mental illness and mentally ill individuals involved with our justice system. They maintain national, active involvement with the American Psychological Association, including membership to Division 41 (American Psychological – Law Society), the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) – the APA’s organizational legislative arm, The National Organization of Forensic Social Work, and The National Association of Social Workers. Regionally, Dr. Edwards maintains associate membership in the Women’s Bar Association, was a previous Board member for the Greater Pittsburgh Psychological Association, as well as maintaining her membership within their organization.