About Dr. Kim Gorgens

Kim Gorgens

Dr. Kim Gorgens is a Clinical Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. She teaches graduate coursework in Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Psychology of Criminal Behavior, and she manages a large portfolio of TBI-related research (funded and  otherwise). She publishes and lectures extensively on those issues to professional audiences and is committed to community and media outreach as well. Her work has been featured in Newsweek, USnews, and on NPR and CNN with Anderson Cooper, and she has two TED.com talks on youth sports concussion and brain injuries in criminal justice


Kim Teaches...

Physiological Psychology

This course is designed to expose students to the field of physiology and highlight its reciprocal relationship with behavior. We will cover topics including the structure and function of the nervous system and areas of research relevant to clinical psychology (e.g. substance abuse, mental illness, and biological rhythms). Given the limited time devoted to each area, more in-depth coverage should be pursued by interested persons.

Clinical Neuropsychology

This course is designed to expose students to the constantly evolving field of neuropsychology. In this course we will cover topics including neuroanatomy and the pathophysiology of brain insults, neuropsychological assessment (history, methods, and applications), and issues that relate to special populations including children and the elderly. Students in this course will also leave familiar with the administration and scoring of the screening module of the NAB Screening Module, the ANAM core battery and at least three effort tests (SVTs) and will be practiced in generating brief reports using those data. This is an advanced and intensive course and will require extensive outside research, clinical activity and peer collaboration by all students. Given the limited time devoted to each subject area, more in-depth coverage should be pursued by interested persons.

Issues in Forensic Psychology I

This course is the first in a yearlong series of three classes (Forensic Psychology I, II, and III) designed to provide an overview of the practice of clinical forensic psychology. The series of courses address psychological theory, research and clinical practice as applied within the context of American civil and criminal legal systems (with an emphasis on Colorado law). The courses are designed to combine an
understanding of the law with the pertinent clinical information to enable a practitioner to work and communicate effectively within the context of the legal arena.

Forensic Psychology I addresses the structure and function of the American court system, both civil and criminal. The pertinent rules of criminal and civil procedure, the applicable rules of evidence as well as other legal/ psychological concepts such as competence, criminal responsibility and other defenses (insanity, syndrome, etc.) are covered. Other substantive areas of study include polygraph/plethysmograph testing, trial consultation and inequities within the justice system. This course is designed to provide students with a working understanding of the civil and criminal legal systems as well as an appreciation of the interface between psychology and the law.

Health Psychology

This class is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the salient empirical and theoretical aspects of health psychology and behavioral medicine. The course will emphasize the role that psychological variables play in wellness and the development, exacerbation, treatment and prognosis of both acute and chronic illness. We will also
highlight sociopolitical and cultural discourse surrounding contemporary health-related issues. Toward that end, this course will rely heavily on the expertise of relevant populations and their providers. Students will develop a
network with these contacts that may serve to facilitate clinical placement and supervision as interest dictates. This course also strives to bring awareness to self-management risks including “Compassion Fatigue” and burnout.

Psychology of Criminal Behavior Adult Psychopathology

Students will develop an understanding of the biological, psychological, social, and environmental causes and correlates of violent and criminal behavior. Violence and criminal behavior will be viewed as an evolving construct that may begin in childhood and endure through adolescence and into adulthood. Contemporary issues including terrorism, racial profiling, and gender debates will also be highlighted. Students will be provided with the tools necessary to determine future directions for policy, prevention, and treatment that may help ameliorate the causes and outcomes of crime and violence.

Issues in Measurement

This course focuses on the measurement of different variables in clinical and research settings. Lectures will cover the historical basis of assessment and measure design and will also highlight contemporary approaches to testing. The course, with its lecture and discussion format, will provide exposure to recent social criticisms and ethical concerns surrounding psychological testing. The importance of sensitivity to the needs of special, or underrepresented, populations will be an integral component of the material presented. The objective of this course is to provide students with the tools and information necessary to make informed and ethical testing choices in their chosen practice settings.

Health Psychology-Service Learning Seminar

This is a one credit elective companion to the Health Psychology course. In addition to the coursework requirements of the Health Psychology course, seminar students will complete 20 hours of supervised clinical service with the agency and supervisor of their choice. Students will need to have their placements and supervisor proposals reviewed in advance of the commencement of their clinical hours. This seminar will be the clinical application of the classroom experience in Health Psychology.

The learning objectives are twofold: the most obvious is the development of new clinical skills appropriate for the target population. There is a tremendous amount to be gained from the practical application of clinical principles learned in the classroom and your graduate experience is likely to be richer as a result. Secondly, you create your own training experience and in so doing, will become adept at identifying and making use of community resources.

Practicum IV: Theories of Personality

This course is designed to provide intellectual support for field placement experiences, plus insight into clinical theories and scientific knowledge and their application to forensic psychology. In the fall quarter, the emphasis will be on learning to conceptualize field placement experiences in Big Five, systemic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, biopsychosocial and psychoanalytic terms, and to understand field placement activities in the context of everything you’ve learned so far in this program.

Students are expected to develop their ability to think systemically, behaviorally, cognitive-behaviorally, and psychoanalytically, and to apply scientific knowledge to a wide range of vignettes. Clinical and organizational problems will be presented by students, affording them an opportunity to learn to formulate conflicts and difficulties in a manner that invites consultation. Students will learn to make consultative comments that are useful to the consultee, and also how to comment on group process and on behaviors in the classroom that call for interpretation.

Neuropsychological Screening Tests for Mental Health Clinicians: An Intensive Short Course

Three-hour, online training course that is designed for licensed mental health providers (including LPC, LMFT, LCSW, and LAC) who are interested in learning about the use of neuropsychological screening batteries for clinical practice. Developed by Kim Gorgens, PhD, a full-time clinical professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, this course will briefly review the incidence and physiology of traumatic brain injury and the most common after effects, including emotional and cognitive problems, and the related accommodations for each. The important differences between full neuropsychological assessment batteries and neuropsychological screening batteries, including their indications for use and the benefits of each, are also highlighted.

Students are exposed to three neuropsychological screening batteries: A computerized neurocognitive test [CNT] called the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric [ANAM], a traditional paper and pencil screening test called the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery Screening Module [NAB-SM], and a readily available single-page screening tool called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA])—two of which will be distributed for review after the training. Copies of the MoCA and a 30-day trial of the ANAM will be provided.

The TBI-related neuropsychological screening model currently being used in Colorado justice settings will also be introduced.

Sign up for the class here: https://www.du.edu/registrar/elevate-courses/course.html?instanceCode=CPD-0201_NEURO&courseInstanceID=CPD-0201_62142962&courseCode=CPD-0201

Awards and Honors

APA, Division 22 Mentoring Award (2018)
APA Fellow, Division 22 (2017)
APA Presidential Citation (2016)
Rockstar Award, APA Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology; 2015)
Dr. Theresa Hernandez Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Community Award (2013)
APA Council on Disability in Psychology (CDIP), Mentorship Award (2008)
Excellence in Education Award, DU Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) 25th Anniversary (2007)
Two Thousand Notable American Women, Biographical Inclusion, Millennium Edition (2000)
University Woman Doctoral Student of Distinction, presented by University Women’s Professional Advancement (1996)
Phi Kappa Phi National Interdisciplinary Honor Society (1995)
Gamma Beta Phi National Collegiate Honor Service Organization (1994)

Black and white headshot of Professor Kim Gorgens
View Dr. Kim Gorgens Curriculum Vitae

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