Clinicians in Court, Second Edition: A Guide to Subpoenas, Depositions, Testifying, and Everything Else You Need to Know / Edition 2

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Interacting with the legal system can be stressful and intimidating for mental health professionals. This trusted book provides user-friendly strategies to help clinicians prepare for giving testimony in court and participating in other legal proceedings. Using vivid case scenarios from family, criminal, and mental health law, the author explains legal terms and offers practical suggestions for avoiding pitfalls and managing ethical dilemmas. Thoroughly revised to incorporate updates in research, case law, statutes, and practice, the second edition addresses several new topics and includes an appendix with reflection questions extending the scope of each chapter.


The book takes clinicians through the entire legal process, from first contact and the preparation stage to testimony and follow-up. It covers the nuts and bolts of how to respond to subpoenas, consult and strategize with attorneys, and develop sound record-keeping practices. Guidelines are presented for performing effectively on the stand as a fact witness or expert witness. The second edition gives increased attention to ethical issues, such as dual relationships, professional boundaries, confidentiality, and competence. It also explores special issues that may arise in cases involving children and examines the developing role of mental health professionals as forensic consultants. Reproducible agreements and other sample documentation can be photocopied from the appendices or downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2" x 11" size. Supplemental materials for course use—including an instructor's manual—are available at the author's website.


Written in an empathetic, down-to-earth style, this book is an invaluable resource for clinical psychologists, social workers, family therapists and counselors, psychiatrists, and child welfare professionals, as well as forensic psychologists and psychiatrists. It is widely used as a text in graduate-level courses dealing with clinical practice and the law.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This fully revised and well-polished second edition offers both seasoned clinicians and students an outstanding resource with which to prepare for any type of encounter with the legal system. Concise and well written, the book will be a welcome addition to any clinician's library. It is certainly at the top of my list for required classroom reading."--Frank M. Dattilio, PhD, ABPP, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

"Barsky has provided an important resource for practice with the second edition of this important guide. Written in a highly readable and informative style, the book succeeds in stripping away some of the discomfort mental health clinicians have about participating in legal proceedings. It explains the purpose and function of the legal system and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of clinicians as witnesses and resources for legal decision makers. The use of case scenarios enables clinicians to apply legal principles to the real world of practice."--Robert G. Madden, LCSW, JD, Department of Social Work, Saint Joseph College

"Clinicians in Court, Second Edition, offers an updated resource for treatment providers who are called into the legal arena. The volume helps to clarify roles, responsibilities, and regulations and offers readers a foundation for developing policies and procedures of their own. The material is woven together using the example of a family engaged in the legal system, exploring the roles of the evaluators and treatment providers intertwined in the process. Practical and challenging, the scenarios encourage reflection and offer opportunities to prepare for unfamiliar legal territory."--Andrea Stolar, MD, Director of Forensic Psychiatry, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

The New Social Worker
"The chapters are thoughtfully presented....The content is accessible to the lay reader....Barsky's work here is practical, organized, and well-focused on particular concerns of clinicians. The book should help prepare active professional clinicians and students for their interactions with the legal system. Students should want to maintain this book on their professional reference shelf."--The New Social Worker
Criminal Justice Review
"Provides useful information for a clinician on such important issues as confidentiality and the legal aspects of disclosure....I found this book very useful to my continuing practice."--Criminal Justice Review
Psychiatric Services
"An excellent guide for nonforensic clinicians....Reading Clinicians in Court is like attending a good workshop."--Psychiatric Services
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry
"Extremely user friendly....[Demystifies] what otherwise constitutes for many professionals a rather dreaded experience. Highly recommended."--American Journal of Orthopsychiatry
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462503551
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/30/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 333
  • Sales rank: 1,307,518
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan E. Barsky, JD, MSW, PhD, is Professor of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches graduate courses on professional ethics, conflict resolution, social work practice skills, and substance abuse. Dr. Barsky has practiced social work and mediation in settings that include the criminal court in New York and the family courts in New York, Toronto, and Fort Lauderdale. Widely published, Dr. Barsky serves on the National Ethics Committee of the National Association of Social Workers and is a past president of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation.

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Beginning with Yourself
3. First Contact
4. Preparation for Legal Proceedings
5. Oral Testimony at Trial
6. Clinical Records
7. Expert Witnesses
8. Documentary Evidence
with Diane Green
9. Claims against Clinicians
10. Alternatives and Precursors to Adjudication
11. Conclusion
A. Service Agreement for an Expert Witness for Review/Rebuttal Services
B. Fee Arrangement for an Expert Witness Who Is Called to Testify
C. Statement of Understanding to Participate in a Forensic Psychological Evaluation
D. Initial Letter to Attorneys after Evaluator Received an Appointment Order
E. Sample Affidavit
F. Motion to Quash Subpoena
G. For Further Reflection
Websites for Legal Research
Forensic Journals
Professional Associations with Interest in Forensic Practice

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