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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: The fourth edition of this well-known book addresses the relevant changes in the clinical practice of psychiatry as they relate to the law and recent legal decisions guiding the care of mental health patients.
Purpose: The authors suggest this update be used as a reference for assisting clinicians "from all disciplines and from every level of training" in responding "to the questions, both complex and mundane, that develop in the customary course of practice." They also hope it will be a worthy review for the forensic psychiatry section of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Board Examination.
Audience: Primarily geared toward professionals in the area of mental health or jurisprudence, this book might also be useful for less experienced readers interested in learning about these complex and fascinating topics.
Features: Divided into eight chapters, each addressing significant and relevant subjects in the interaction between psychiatry and the judicial system, this book has some interesting features, such as case examples, pitfalls faced by clinicians, epilogues for the case examples, and an "action guide" meant to provide an "operational summary of the chapter" in a "condensed, action-oriented framework." There are no diagrams, charts, or tables.
Assessment: This updated version is accurate and relevant. The authors are giants in the field, and their writing style is both informative and comfortable, allowing them to relate challenging concepts in a digestible format. The major drawbacks are the dense presentation of material, the relatively small font, and the somewhat confusing layout of the chapters, which seem to lack clear separation when transitioning topics. Nonetheless, this is a book worth having, as its owner will reference it repeatedly until the appearance of the next edition.