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Spotlight - Full Details

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mary Lindahl
Professor of Psychology
Contact Information

(703) 526-6825

Academic Credentials

B.A., Wellesley College
M.S.W., Simmons College School of Social Work
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Other study: Duke University, Georgetown University

Teaching Areas:
  • Foundations of Forensic and Legal Psychology
  • Advanced Issues in Forensic and Legal Psychology
  • Field Experience in Criminal Court,
  • Issues in Criminal Assessment and Investigation
  • Forensic and Legal Psychology Internship
Research Interests:
  • Law and Society
  • Victimology
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Child Abuse
Dr. Mary Lindahl has been teaching at Marymount since the fall of 2001, and served as the chair of the Department of Forensic and Legal Psychology until 2008. In 1984, she earned a Ph.D. in Psychology and Human Development at the University of Chicago, where she received a Woodrow Wilson dissertation fellowship. Following graduation, she was awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Sociology at Duke University, after which she joined the faculty as an adjunct and began a private practice. In 1994, she moved to the Washington area and entered the full-time practice of clinical and forensic psychology until coming to Marymount.

Forensic and legal psychology as a distinct discipline did not exist when she was first trained as a psychologist; therefore, her generation of psychologists largely trained themselves. They learned on the job – in the courtroom. Over the years, she has served as an evaluator or expert witness in over 100 cases. She has been qualified as an expert in court in clinical psychology, child psychology, post-traumatic stress disorder, and child trauma in a number of jurisdictions in North Carolina and the Washington area.
Over the years, she has been extensively involved in the field of critical incident stress, working with victims, as well as with fire, police, and emergency workers after major traumatic incidents. An important PTSD case, decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue v. Mottram, grew out of that work.
As part of the American Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resource System, she staffed the Pentagon shelter for the emergency workers on September 11th and later served on a panel there helping employees with their reactions to the first anniversary of the attack. In September, 2005, immediately after Hurricane Katrina, she went to Mississippi for two weeks accompanied by five of Marymount students and an alumna to aid the victims of that disaster.
Her research interests encompass several areas of the forensic and legal psychology field. She is the principal investigator of the Marymount/FBI Joint Research Project, a part of the ongoing research being conducted with the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI. She is also involved in a collaborative effort with a number of judges, attorneys, and professionals on the problem of recurring unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. Forensic and Legal Psychology students are involved in both of these projects. In addition, she is currently writing about the American public’s fascination with the legal system and its disapproval of lawyers.