skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 128267 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Professional and the Legal System
Corporate Author: Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
United States of America
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 204
Sponsoring Agency: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
New York, NY 10016
Publication Number: ISBN 0-87630-624-5
Sale Source: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.
Marketing Manager
325 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The role of the mental health therapist in relation to the law is distinguished from that of the mental health expert who is retained specifically to assist with a particular legal issue.
Abstract: In the classical therapeutic role, the mental health therapist is the patient's or client's agent. In the expert consultant role, the mental health professional may be the agent of either the attorney or the court. The mental health professional can function in many different ways in relation to the legal system: as a therapist, evaluator, expert witness, and attorney or court consultant. In the legal arena, questions are constructed in specific legal language, and the mental health professional must attempt to communicate in the same language, translating scientific knowledge and terminology to the rubric of the legal profession. Part one of the book provides a basic understanding of legal language and ways in which legal and mental health systems interact. Part two describes roles and responsibilities of the therapist whose patient becomes party to a legal dispute. This part also provides an overview of civil commitment and the legal process with which the mental health professional is most frequently involved. Part three details the functions of the evaluating mental health expert, providing a step-by-step discussion of the requisites of this role. Appendixes include a glossary of legal terms, a competency assessment instrument, a guide for evaluating permanent mental health impairments, and ethical guidelines of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. references and figures
Main Term(s): Mentally ill offenders; Psychological evaluation
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses; Mental health services
Note: Committee on Psychiatry and Law report no. 131
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.