Meet Your Professor
Dr. Karin D. Huffer, MFT
Dr. Karin Huffer is best known for coining the term legal abuse syndrome emanating from her observations in private practice, in marriage and family therapy, over a 40-year period. She observed, through the years, that patients involved in the legal system (litigation in particular) suffered from a traumatic stress preventing them from benefiting from therapy. Symptoms would allay for a short time, and then recycle, relating to their experiences in court.
By 1990, Dr. Huffer had honed in on 4 prongs:
- Can litigation cause a diagnosis of traumatic stress?
- What are the dynamics of that stressor?
- How is it best treated?
- Can it be prevented?
Through peer review, writing, speaking at conferences, and working with a psychiatric hospital, she asked her peers, “Is litigation a variable that prevents patients from recovery using usual therapeutic techniques?” Support from peers led to the development of an 8-step protocol for counseling those undergoing extreme stress specifically associated with courtroom preparation and litigation.
Bringing together the disabilities, the ADAAA in the courtroom, and exposing and lessening abusive behaviors contributing to the prevention of the court being a public health problem, was her goal. With the use of Huffer’s 8-steps outlined again in her second book, Unlocking Justice, 2012, the judicial experience is improved for all who are involved in the court system. The risk to the health of the litigants with disabilities is what motivated Dr. Huffer.
Equal Access Advocates, the organization she founded, will continue her work.
Books Dr. Huffer has written: