Mary Lindahl

Mary Lindahl (no photo)


Forensic and Legal Psychology

Academic Credentials

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


Other Information

Teaching Area

  • Child Victimization
  • Issues in the American Legal System
  • Field Experience in Criminal Court
  • Wrongful Convictions: Individual Case Analysis
  • Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law
  • Forensic and Legal Psychology Internship
  • International student trips to study other legal systems, as well as children and families involved in war and conflict

Research Interests

  • Law and society
  • Child victimization and child trauma
  • International human rights/children’s rights
  • Developing resistance to trauma in children and families involved in conflict and war
  • Wrongful convictions

Dr. Mary Lindahl earned a Ph.D. in Psychology and Human Development at the University of 
Chicago in 1984, 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 practice of clinical and forensic psychology.

Dr. Lindahl has been teaching at Marymount since the fall of 2001, when she was hired to 
develop the newly created Forensic Psychology (now Forensic and Legal Psychology) Master’s 
degree program; she served as the chair of the department until 2008. Forensic and legal 
psychology as a distinct discipline did not exist when she was first trained as a clinician; 
therefore, her generation of psychologists mostly learned on the job – usually in the courtroom. 
Over the years, she has served as an evaluator or expert witness in over 150 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, Dr. Lindahl 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 (2002), 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. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, she went to 
Mississippi for two weeks accompanied by five Marymount forensic 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. With a colleague, she 
has developed a therapeutic model for reintegrating families who have been separated by court 
actions or allegations of child abuse. She is currently conducting a research project on the 
implementation of elementary children’s full participation rights as codified in the U.N. 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, using the World Café model. She is also researching 
change in student attitudes towards the legal system after working on an actual case of possible 
wrongful conviction for murder. Forensic and Legal Psychology students are involved in both of 
these current projects. 

Dr. Lindahl loves to travel and has taken student classes to London, Israel/Palestine, Sweden, 
and the Czech Republic.



Phone: 703-526-6825