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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69357 Find in a Library
Title: MARITAL/FAMILY THERAPIST AS AN EXPERT WITNESS - SOME THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Journal: JOURNAL OF MARITAL AND FAMILY THERAPY  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(JULY 1980)  Pages:293-299
Author(s): J F NICHOLS
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: SUGGESTIONS FOR THERAPISTS WHO MUST APPEAR AS WITNESSES IN COURT CASES ARE PRESENTED IN THIS JOURNAL ARTICLE.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH THERAPISTS ATTEMPT TO HELP PATIENTS IN AN OBJECTIVE AND IMPARTIAL MANNER, ATTORNEYS MAY TRY TO INVOLVE THEM IN TAKING A SIDE IN A COURT CASE. BUT THERAPISTS SHOULD REGARD THEMSELVES AS INDEPENDENT WITNESSES FOR THE COURT, RATHER THAN AS AUXILIARY ADVOCATES FOR THE PROSECUTION OR DEFENSE. A STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS MAY SERVE AS A GUIDE THROUGH THE PRETRIAL, TRIAL AND POSTRIAL PERIODS IN ORDER TO INSURE PROPER INVOLVEMENT WITHOUT FEAR OF A MALPRACTICE ACTION RESULTING FROM THE UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF PATIENT INFORMATION. FIRST, THERAPISTS SHOULD SET UP A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE WITH THE PATIENT'S ATTORNEY TO FIND OUT WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED IN COURT AND OBTAIN A MEDICAL AUTHORIZATION FORM SIGNED BY THE PATIENT FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION BEFORE ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT THE PATIENT. SECOND, THE PATIENT SHOULD BE ADVISED OF THE CONFERENCE RESULTS AND OF THE INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE SUBPOENA. THIRD, THERAPISTS SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS IS PROPER UNDER PREVAILING STATE LAW. FOURTH, THERAPISTS OUGHT TO DETERMINE IN ADVANCE THE COMPENSATION EXPECTED FROM THE COURT FOR LOST TIME AND PATIENT FEES. FIFTH, COPIES OF AN UPDATED CURRICULUM VITA SHOULD BE TAKEN TO COURT FOR THE CREDENTIALING PROCESS AND FOR USE ON THE WITNESS STAND, AND THE ORIGINALS AND COPIES OF SUBPOENAED RECORDS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO COURT SO THAT THE ORIGINALS MAY BE IMMEDIATELY RETURNED. SIXTH, WHEN ON THE WITNESS STAND, THERAPISTS MUST ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH, LISTEN TO THE QUESTION THAT IS ASKED AND ANSWER ONLY THAT QUESTION, MUST NOT BE AN ADVOCATE, MUST NOT LOOK AT THE PATIENT'S ATTORNEY BEFORE ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN CROSS-EXAMINATIONS, SHOULD BE POLITE AND NONDEFENSIVE, AND MUST LEAVE WHEN THE TESTIMONY IS OVER IN ORDER NOT TO APPEAR IMPARTIAL. FINALLY, THERAPISTS SHOULD TAKE NOTE OF HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EXPERIENCE FOR LATER TESTIMONIES. TABLES COMPARING THE BEHAVIOR OF EXPERIENCES AND NONEXPERIENCED THERAPISTS ARE INCLUDED, AND FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Evidence; Expert witnesses; Medicolegal considerations; Rules of evidence; Testimony
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69357

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