Departmental Objective

The Department of Psychology applies psychological skills and knowledge to provide high quality assessment, treatment and consultation services to advance the facility mission of promoting mental health in Southwestern Virginia by assisting people in their recovery.”


The Department of Psychological Services consists of a team of psychologists and psychology associates dedicated to applying psychological knowledge and skills with individuals to promote  mental health recovery.  We have assembled a diverse team from this region and beyond, who are experienced in working in a variety of clinical settings. We are committed to following the highest ethical standards of the profession guided by the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association.

Psychologists at Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute work as part of team. We work as members of multidisciplinary treatment teams, and see ourselves and our department as part of the team which encompasses all staff of the facility, all of whom are dedicated to promoting mental health recovery. Services provided by psychologists include assessment including psychological testing and forensic evaluations, treatment planning, and provision of treatment for any of a broad range of disorders and behavior problems that may lead to admission to our facility. Psychologists are involved in modalities of treatment including: consultation to help develop the optimal treatment milieu and programming to promote recovery, individual therapy, group therapy and behavioral treatment interventions. Beyond our role of helping those who are admitted to our facility, the psychology department also provides forensic evaluation services to the courts for individuals who require psychological evaluation related to pending criminal charges. All of our psychologists receive training from the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia in forensic evaluation and risk assessment on an ongoing basis to maintain their skills in forensic evaluation.

Our department is engaged along with all staff at our facility in meeting the evolving challenges of promoting mental health recovery in our Southwest Virginia Community. Our goal is to apply psychological knowledge and skills to help individuals in their recovery and address the complex mix of mental health and social issues that challenge those whom we serve. It is a time of tremendous opportunities and challenges, and we are excited about the prospect of applying our diverse skills and experiences in pursuit of this endeavor.

Chris Carusi, Ph.D.

Director of Psychology and Forensic Services


Jodi Aker

Administrative Assistant to the Director of Psychology and Forensic Services

276-783-1200, Ext. 508