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Showing posts with label DR. SIDNEY HOROWITZ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DR. SIDNEY HOROWITZ. Show all posts

Sunday, May 3, 2015


I've pretty much covered all the significant points that were in the Savino custody evaluation.  But there were a few additional areas of investigation that are worth reviewing before we continue on.  

For example, just so all of the curious know, at the end of 2011 when Dr. Sidney Horowitz was conducting the custody evaluation with Colleen Kerwick it looks as though she was ambulating well.  Ken was ambulating well too.   You wouldn't want any bad ambulators around.

Further, both were "oriented in all spheres."  I mean if either had one of the spheres excluded and didn't bring it up to speed, we'd definitely have a problem, I am sure.  

Doesn't look as if either had any dysmorphic features--I mean God forbid.  

Both appeared to have euthymic affect.  Hmmmm.  

No thoughts of killing themselves or others.  Glad to hear that, or it would be rather alarming.  

In short, both Colleen Kerwick and Kenneth Savino appear to have the exact same mental status.  Like I said, in the "both are wrong" world, everything kind of goes bing, bong, ding, dong.  

Ambulating forward, I do take note that apparently Colleen has "a relative weakness in visual motor integration."  Oh. my. God!!!  Do you think this will affect her parenting skills?  

But, wait a minute, look at that Kenneth!  Dr. Horowitz has offered that "a relative weakness in his nonverbal abilities is noted!"  

I mean without nonverbal abilities, I'm feeling very ambivalent.  I mean a Dad without proper nonverbal abilities--can you really trust him around a very young child?  This is, indeed, something we must carefully consider.  

And, under the circumstances, one must balance out the relative importance of visual motor integration problems versus nonverbal communication skills.  In the scheme of things, perhaps it would be better to have a parent who is better at nonverbal communication skills even though that parent isn't so great at visual motor integration problems.  

But then again, we mustn't take these features out of context as Dr. Sidney Horowitz states in his "caveat--redux" in the section on Kenneth Savino where he again repeats that "the psychological test interpretations presented herein are hypotheses, etc. etc." 

Again, ambulating along, based upon the Hooper Test, looks like both parents have a very low likelihood of neurological impairment in regard to vision--so looking good, looks like when they are diapering the baby they will both be able to identify where to plant the diaper.  

Score for Colleen Kerwick!  It looks as though she does not have any learning disabilities.  

However, the CTMT for Kenneth brings us some more problematic results.  

Specifically, "the results suggest that Mr. Savino is functioning in the average range on the easier trails, but shows a huge disparity ranging from the 6th percentile to the 62nd percentile on more difficult trails."  

What this means is that "The aforementioned "relative weakness" in the perceptual domain coupled with what will later be described as an underlying anxiety, may account for his performance on the test."  

But that doesn't mean he has any anxiety at all as Dr. Sidney Horowitz reassures us, "That said, there is no indication of a formal underlying neuropsychological deficit per se."  

Whew!  I am glad to hear that or I would have been worried.  

I think everyone reading this blog will also be glad to hear that the results of the Slosson Oral Reading Test - Third Edition - indicate that both Colleen Kerwick and Kenneth Savino both know how to read at the high school level.  

I mean, what would we do if Colleen, an aviation attorney who has passed the bar couldn't read at a high school level.  What would we be required to do?  Revoke her law degree?  And as for Kenneth, no more wealth management for you, bad boy.  Not reading on the high school level, you should be ashamed.  

Ok, that was just an imaginative scenario.  But seriously, if it turned out that, say, Kenneth, didn't know how to read, would they truly deny him custody?  Is there some rule out there stating that literate parents are superior and more effective as parents than non-literate parents--is there some body of research we have out there which proves the value of reading in parents over non-readers?  

Finally, there were some very interesting parent/child observations, one with Colleen Kerwick and also with Kenneth Savino.  

In the parent/child visit with Colleen Kerwick, the child went on a search for toy trucks and began to whine when he couldn't find the trucks.  Ms. Kerwick attempted to redirect the child's attention away from the trucks, asking him to read books instead.  

[Of course, I, zee grrreat doktor had hidden away all zee trrrucks, but that is my secret!  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!]

Still, no matter what Mother did the child continued to express the fact that he wanted to play with trucks.  Trucks being effectively a symbol of the masculine, clearly the child had a specific need to identify with that masculine activity as opposed to the feminine activity of reading a book.  

Mother's refusal to play with trucks probably reflects her inability to come to terms with the masculine in her life and in the life of the child.  

Dr. Horowitz plans on paying close attention to the child's truck playing for the future.  I mean, if mother cannot accept trucks as a legitimate toy playing activity, it may not be appropriate for her to be the primary parent.  

This is a serious consideration.  

As for the father, during his parent/child activity, he was able to find some cars in the toy box which the child was very happy to play with.  Both father and son practiced using the word "poopy" in a he man type way which was reminiscent of burping games young men play in local bars, so clearly a very healthy father/son type activity.  

I'm sorry folks, when it comes to game playing and letting boys be boys, father as primary parent is looking a little bit better than mother.  Repeat after me, "Mommy is a sissy."  Mommy is a sissy..."

[Vat are you crrrying for, young man, big boyz don't do zee crrrying!]

To be continued...

Friday, May 1, 2015


In looking at a custody case like the one Savino v. Savino, it can be really difficult to be sure who is telling the truth.  So many cases are just a "he said, she said situation" and there is a lot of white noise which makes it hard to tell.  

However, what I think is particularly persuasive for a writer like me is the ultimate outcome.  During the time that I have known Colleen Kerwick she has always stated how important it is for the father to share in the life of her child.  She has repeatedly stated she would never want to eliminate him from her child's life, and in the custody report she specifically stated, "I don't want him out of my son's life, but I need to be involved too."  

Furthermore, much to my annoyance she has come out firmly in support of shared parenting which would give 50/50 parenting time to both parents.  

In contrast, I can see that Kenneth Savino has repeatedly attempted to have Colleen arrested, seized total control of their child based upon a fake amber alert, and has done whatever he could to push her out of their child's life.  I don't know what the context was for Dr. Sidney Horowitz in 2012, but in 2015, I can confirm that when it comes to Colleen's statements that she was abused, her statements that Kenneth was trying to remove her from the life of their child, time has proven them to be true.  

It is sort of a situation where murder will out!  

As a trained therapist, I am not sure why Dr. Horowitz didn't pick up on this except for the common money making goal so many mental health professionals have that persuades them to go by the model "both are wrong" no matter what contrary evidence exists.  There is no doubt that Dr. Sidney Horowitz was at considerable pains to tweak the results the way he wanted them to go.

One point I am clear on is that Dr. Horowitz didn't care to acknowledge that Colleen Kerwick was a victim of domestic violence and sorry to say, in writing up his evaluation, he pretty much painted her as a liar because she reported the abuse she'd experienced.  I can relate to what Colleen went through here, because when I reported the abuse I was enduring, the evaluator in my case did pretty much the same thing. 

I think this denial occurs simply because mental health professionals can't bear to acknowledge that abuse occurs in a great many middle class homes.  But also age plays a role here--both Colleen and I married considerably older men.  Doctors such as Horowitz, and the psychiatrist in my case, like to characterize women like us as manipulative bitches who are financially and emotionally exploiting our much older and more well established ex-husbands because it taps into a primordial fear that the majority of successful men like themselves have buried deep down in their psyche.  

Specifically, Colleen was 17 years younger than her ex-husband and I am 15 years younger than mine.  Inevitably that age difference makes a poor impression on these male doctors who just assume that if a woman marries an older man, it must be for some nefarious purpose.  

Thus, it is striking that Dr. Horowitz' report never mentions that Colleen Kerwick was employed as an aviation attorney and is a fluent Irish speaker, but does mention that Ken Savino "is employed in the wealth management business."  By withholding information on Colleen's professional background, Dr. Horowitz appears to imply that Colleen is the kind of woman who intended to sit at home eating bon bons and counting Kenneth's money while Ken Savino was at work!  

Isn't that what those cute younger babes do--marry up!  

And how do women like Colleen manage to exploit their husbands like that?  They do that with their superior cleverness; thus, even though both Colleen and Kenneth had almost identical scores on the IQ tests they both took, Dr. Sidney Horowitz describes Colleen as having above average intelligence and then describes Kenneth as having only average intelligence.  

Dr. Horowitz also skewed and misrepresented test results in order to make it look as though Colleen Kerwick was a deceptive individual but Kenneth was not.  For instance, Dr. Horowitz used the Paulhus Deception Scale to measure the degree of faking in the psychological testing.  In regard to Colleen, he reported that Colleen scored in the 99.98% for impression management and scored 70.75% in self-deception, the latter actually being a somewhat average score. In his assessment of these scores, he indicated they should lead anyone to view her remarks with "a great deal of" caution.  

On the other hand, Kenneth Savino scored in the 84th% for impression management, and Dr. Horowitz conveniently withholds the score he received for self-deception, but says it was average--so why doesn't he just share the results with us?  (More about that later)  Keep in mind, also, that Ken Savino's score on impression management is only 16 percent lower than Colleen's score, and it is still in the very high range. Nonetheless, Dr. Horowitz would have us believe that, in contrast to Colleen, based on these results, we can approach what Kenneth says "with some degree of caution".  

Dr. Horowitz makes Kenneth look as though he is so very honest in contrast to Colleen.  But is this what the tests really indicate?

I have an explanation for Colleen's high score in terms of impression management.  It is the consequence of her European background which places an extensive emphasis on impression management.  I feel I can say this because my parents were European as well.  

Unlike Americans who believe they can let everything hang out and express their authenticity, European culture emphasizes making a good impression on others, exercising good manners and adhering to proper social expectations as among their highest values when it comes to behavior.  You never, never air your private and personal matters in public.  Naturally, then, as a native of Ireland, Colleen would score highly on impression management.  I'll bet I would too.  It is very important to note that as a result of these cultural differences many Europeans dislike Americans.  

If Dr. Sidney Horowitz failed to be sensitive to cultural differences when he conducted the forensic evaluation, even though he is required to do so, this is certainly a problem.  But still, as I said, keep in mind that in regard to impression management even though Colleen's score is extremely high, Kenneth's score really isn't that far behind!

So what about Kenneth Savino's mysterious self-deception score?  Later in the report, we are told that in the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) Mr. Savino had a very high level of self-defensiveness which measured in the 89.74% which Dr. Horowitz stated could make him  "minimize, deny, or even be unaware of his shortcomings"--this sounds suspiciously similar to the self-deception score that Dr. Horowitz didn't want to share with us earlier on.  

So if you looked at the test scores properly Colleen is very high in impression management, but fairly low in self-deception.  In contrast, Kenneth is somewhat lower in impression management than Colleen, but considerably higher in self-deception than Colleen--approximately 20% higher.  

So when Dr. Horowitz speaks of Colleen and says you should be considerably more cautious about believing her than you would be in believing Kenneth, he is full of garbage because his own test results prove otherwise.  If you are going to look at the numbers, the two actually balance each other out, although Kenneth clearly has a considerably lower capacity for insight.  

The only way you can actually figure out what is going on is to look at the context, and for that all we have to do is look at the reality of the abuse that Colleen Kerwick experienced. 

Dr. Sidney Horowitz cast a shadow of doubt on Colleen Kerwick's statements in regard to abuse because she came in with a bound notebook full of emails as evidence of his abuse, which I understand Dr. Horowitz chose to ignore. I mean, God forbid she bring in actual concrete evidence.  

Also, she came in with her domestic violence counselor, Ms. Shanthi Roe and other support persons.  In a mocking and skeptical manner, Dr. Horowitz states, "Ms Kerwick Savino would have this evaluator believe that Mr. Savino is a manipulative, mosogynistic, controlling and hostile individual."  [Surprisingly enough, or not, however you see it, Dr. Sidney Horowitz never expresses a similar skepticism regarding the lurid accusations Kenneth Savino made about Colleen!]

Still, the reality is that Dr. Sidney Horowitz own test results regarding Kenneth Savino absolutely support Colleen Savino's remarks.  To quote Dr. Horowitz' report regarding Kenneth Savino, "The respondent's [Kenneth Savino's] interpersonal style seems best characterized as being domineering and over controlling.  He has strong needs to control others and... likely has little tolerance for those who disagree with his plans and desires.  Others view him as being rather overbearing and dictatorial.  Although able to express some degree of warmth, his need to be in control in relationships probably taxes the endurance of those who are close to him."  

In commentary a little further on, Dr. Horowitz states, "He appears to compensate for [anxiety and self doubt] by acting in a controlling (if not bullying) fashion in an attempt to bolster his hindered self-esteem."  

This means that despite Dr. Sidney Horowitz mockery of Colleen Savino's observations regarding her ex husband, in fact the test results indicate that her statements were perfectly accurate despite the need to view her observations with -- what does the report say? -- a great deal of caution.  What is more, Kenneth Savino's own behavior since he took these tests, which I described earlier in this blog, also back up what Colleen has stated.

Finally, Colleen reported that Kenneth Savino had an extensive history of mental health difficulties prior to and during their marriage, but surprise surprise, Dr. Horowitz suppressed that evidence by playing phone tag with Mr. Savino's psychiatrist and never actually speaking to him.  That's a great way to skew a custody evaluation in favor of the father.  Just prevent data from his mental health background from ever making it onto the record!  

In this clever way, by simply manipulating the psychological test results to cast an unwarranted shadow of doubt on Colleen Kerwick's truthfulness and downplaying or hiding the data on Kenneth Savino's abusive behavior and mental health difficulties, Dr. Sidney Horowitz was able to present the classic results typical of custody evaluations that underlie the majority of high conflict divorces, results that indicate "both are wrong".  

Unfortunately, both were not wrong, and this is what led to so much tragedy and suffering in this case for both Colleen and her child.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


In the early months of my own divorce, I was really struck by the way that my attorney would counter any negative statement I made about my ex husband with an equally negative observation about me.  He was always at pains to point out that not only did my ex husband do things wrong, so did I.  

It all added up to a policy of advocating that in any divorce both parties are wrong.  

Many family court victims have speculated that family court attorneys are in collusion.  If there is one particular area that I believe attorneys are indeed in collusion, it is in promoting the concept that both are wrong.  In the "both are wrong" world, there is endless opportunity to churn divorce cases and keep the money rolling.  

Of course, I would never want to say that in some cases both are wrong doesn't make sense, but in legal abuse cases, what you have is an abuser who is making his or her victim miserable, and if you don't identify the problem right away, that suffering will continue on for years.  

The Savino v. Savino case is a particularly striking example of this mindset, most particularly in regard to the parties' custody evaluation, which was conducted in the Fall 2011 after the filing for divorce.  

I have heard all sorts of bad things about the author of this report, Dr. Sidney Horowitz, but in the scheme of things, I have to say the Savino Custody evaluation is not a bad report.  What I believe Dr. Horowitz did in this report, and to his credit, is put the emphasis on objective standards of measurement rather than relying on subjective psychological theories or his own emotional responses.  

In other words, you won't find Dr. Sidney Horowitz using hyperbole like calling one of his clients "a French whore" or something of that nature.  

I actually found that very impressive.  

On the other hand, Dr. Sidney Horowitz did fall into the fairly lazy intellectual framework of trying to prove "both are wrong" when there is every indication that in this case the mother was unmercifully attacked and denigrated. 

In some ways what he did in the report was the medieval equivalent of stretching his short client's so their bodies can fit the rack, while chopping off the hands and legs of those who are too tall for it.  

I believe this is the safe approach for a custody evaluator and is, therefore, understandable.  It leaves the attorneys to take what they get from the report and battle it out in the courtroom while the evaluator can throw up his hands and say I have nothing to do with that.  

On the other hand, that's not doing the job of identifying the problem so that you end up with concrete solutions that benefit the parents, and that are, what is most important, in the best interests of the children.  

With this in mind, let us begin to look at this evaluation and see what we can get from it.  The first aspect of this report that struck me was that Dr. Sidney Horowitz recommended that "this document not be released to the parties" for fear it could harm their son who was all of 2 years old and hardly capable of reading it.  

You know, once you have a high conflict divorce in place and you have a written custody report in hand, the idea that you can put a lid on it and prevent it from seeing the light of day is rather a ridiculous expectation.  

Family court litigants have the right to informed consent in regard to the decisions they make during a divorce.  The idea that you are going to take a major piece of evidence which has approximately 90% influence on the outcome of the custody matter and prevent either of the parents from seeing that report, I consider outrageous.  

But this is the problem not only with attorneys associated with family court, but also with mental health professionals who contribute expert opinions in family court cases.  They seem to think that they have the right to treat parents like children who are not entitled to self determination in regard to their own lives.  

The idea that the information in an evaluation might be upsetting to a party in the case so they shouldn't see it is nonsense.  If you have a diagnosis of cancer, there is no point trying to tell a patient, we are giving you a full round of chemo but we are not authorized to tell you what your diagnosis is because you might get upset.  

I mean, get real!  

As for upsetting the children in the case, they are unlikely to see the evaluation until they are old enough and in their twenties, and by then they've probably heard in all, given the nature of high conflict divorces.  

Another aspect of the report that struck me was the caveat placed at the beginning of the report that stated as follows: 

"The psychological test interpretations presented herein are hypotheses and should not be considered in isolation from other information in this matter.  From test results alone, it is impossible to tell if these patterns and/or deficits are directly or indirectly related to parental competencies.  Therefore the reader should examine the test interpretations for general trends and put limited weight on any one specific statement.  Where test results were unclear or in conflict, I used clinical judgment to select the most likely hypotheses for consideration."  

Excuse me, you are using hypotheses to make crucial decisions in the lives of parents and vulnerable, defenseless children?  

You are stating that it is "impossible" to know how the information you have gathered which will make or break a parent's custody case correlates to the ability to be a parent? 

Would somebody please get me a match so that I can burn this report?  

And shall we burn all these reports as little more than garbage if we cannot obtain exact scientific data from them?  

But then again, I pause, and do want to say, it is quite admirable of Dr. Sidney Horowitz to acknowledge that truth and I give him credit for doing so.  I wish there were more mental health professionals out there who were more like him.

To be continued...