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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark C. Mantooth, JD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This new book is essentially a compilation of four mental health lectures given by the author within the last four years that have been expanded into chapters, along with introductory and concluding chapters.
Purpose: As he states, the author looks for broad patterns and explores the deeper implications of what he has termed an unsuccessful "revolution" in mental health law. He identifies four reform trends that have occurred during the last 15 or 20 years, and he explains why the anticipated revolutionary changes never took place. Because the areas he explores are continuing to develop, they should be of significant interest to clinicians and mental health attorneys.
Audience: Considering that the author presented most of the chapters originally as lectures to psychotherapists and law students, these people remain his intended audience. Because of the emphasis on psychotherapy studies and statistics, though, the audience is more appropriately the clinicians and practitioners.
Features: The chapters begin in a chatty style, starting with an anecdote or actual clinical case. As the chapters progress, they present the historical background of a case, and continue with a logical analysis of the mental health law topic. Each chapter is well referenced.
Assessment: As an informative guide to four areas of mental health law reform, this book proves to be a success. It presents a general thesis in a well-organized and cohesive manner. As an educational guide to developments in this area of law, though, the text is incomplete and consequently inadequate. The author relies excessively on clinical studies to support his thesis while failing to provide the same detail in discussing the changes in the law and the legislative and judicial responses. The author also overlooks other significant areas of mental health law reform, such as confidentiality of patient information.