An interview with: Dr Eldad Farhy, Psychologist and Independent Expert Witness at Carter Brown

Dr Eldad Farhy is an Independent Expert that offers psychological assessments and advice to Carter Brown on a case-by-case basis. 

What is your role at Carter Brown and how long have you been part of the Carter Brown team of Independent Experts?

My role is an adult psychologist and I have been working alongside the Carter Brown team for around 10-12 years.

I help the team on a case-by-case basis, meaning I am not a direct employee of Carter Brown, but as an independent psychologist. When our services are needed and it matches my knowledge, I am brought in to conduct a report, which often results in my findings being used in court or by the local authority (LA) in their dealings with the client. 

What made you choose Carter Brown?

Initially, before I started working with Carter Brown, I didn’t really know much about the company, but I knew they were a localised service in the Midlands region.

Over the years, it is safe to say I grew to know them as being amongst the most professional of all agents.

Carter Brown are known for keeping their finger on the pulse, their quality assurance process is second to none and they are definitely one of the most professional teams I have worked with.

At the beginning of my career with Carter Brown, I initially wanted to see what the work would be like, but I feel their professionalism over the years has led for this to become such a long and fruitful relationship.

Could you provide us with a broader definition of the types of assessments/categories of assessments that you complete? 

Psychologists are a little bit like GPs, they both practice generically, but each have their specialist interest in specific subjects. As a psychologist, I prepare a range of assessments but my personal speciality in the NHS has been with personality disorders.

For psychological assessments, I provide a psychological profile of someone, which can include what sort of person that individual is and identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Usually, that would be asked for in the parenting assessment and often also provide an overview into potential risk factors.

The second type of assessment I do in my line of work is cognitive assessments. This is more of a technical assessment of someone’s ability, and this can be done in a variety of contexts, such ​​as criminal to determine culpability or family and capacity to participate in proceedings.

The third type of assessment which I prepare for Carter Brown involves criminal matters. During this work, I will be looking for and assessing if the person has the cognitive or psychological ability to participate in a crime or if they were coerced.

What is the main driver in your line of work?

My main driver is the same reason why I became a psychologist, I want to help.

As most people in these professions, their main drive will always be to help others. In my line of work, this is tempered by justice. For example, in parenting cases, I am a firm believer that the best place for a child is with their birth parents, unless some parents are unable. I will bend over backwards to find and suggest ways to do so but I will not for the sake of my ideology keep children with unsafe carers nor perjure myself in the process.

I will always give an honest account. I often tell this to my clients before an assessment; ‘I can’t promise you what I will say in the end, but I can promise I will say exactly what I find’.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an Independent Expert?  

Solicitors. I often joke that unless I am challenged from both sides, my report wasn’t good. I always try to give a balanced report and solicitors often try to find holes to fight for their client which can be a big challenge.

Secondly, one of the most challenging parts of being an independent expert is dealing with the sadness. I have seen many cases of neglect and as a parent myself, it is difficult to understand but you cannot react and fall into that way of thinking. My role is not to be a judge, my role is to be a cool-headed evaluator and to provide the facts.

Could you give us a few examples of positive outcomes from cases you’ve been involved in within Carter Brown?

A positive outcome from a case is when I can delineate and suggest ways of helping parents, that is always satisfactory to me. For example, when, say, two years down the line when I am asked to do a reassessment of that individual, I can evidence the positive changes taking place, especially when the person was at a risk of losing their child. Overall, knowing you have contributed to keeping a family together is always a positive outcome from cases I have been involved in.

Do you have any advice that you would share with other Independent Expert colleagues that want to join the Carter Brown service?

Make sure you do as the good old English saying goes, ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’. The devil is in the details, so always make sure to do your job properly. Being thorough in your work not only helps if and when you are challenged, but I feel it also provides a sense of confidence to know that you have produced a helpful and quality piece of work.

If you are going to be a part of such a process, make sure you are very studious and comprehensive that you have done everything the way it should be. Secondly, you must be willing to work with short or very little notice. Sometimes solicitors say, ‘my client case is next week, can you prepare a report?’ so you must be flexible and think on your toes.

My last piece of advice is, remember to be compassionate. If you lose that compassion, you may prepare reports incorrectly that don’t really care for the person. At the end of the day, we provide a service for people which is about people, so that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Not only do the Carter Brown team help you, but they challenge you. The team is very helpful and good at supporting you, even if sometimes they tell you that your report needs improving.

If you thrive on challenges, driven by a passion for justice and wish to do a good job, then work with Carter Brown.

Explore our opportunities to join our team of Independent Expert Witnesses here.

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We have adapted our working practices following the new COVID-19 national lockdown and rest assured that Carter Brown and our expert team of assessors are still available to support you throughout this difficult time. Although our doors may be closed, we are open for business and willing, ready and able to assist you.