The Psychiatric Report: Principles and Practice of Forensic Writing

The Psychiatric Report: Principles and Practice of Forensic Writing

by Alec Buchanan
     
 

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The written report is central to the practice of psychiatry in legal settings. It is required of mental health professionals acting as expert witnesses in criminal cases, civil litigation situations, child custody proceedings and risk assessments. This book provides a theoretical background to psychiatric writing for the law and a practical guide to the preparation

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Overview

The written report is central to the practice of psychiatry in legal settings. It is required of mental health professionals acting as expert witnesses in criminal cases, civil litigation situations, child custody proceedings and risk assessments. This book provides a theoretical background to psychiatric writing for the law and a practical guide to the preparation of the report. The first section addresses practical and ethical concerns, including the conduct of the forensic psychiatric evaluation, conflicts of interest, record keeping and confidentiality. The second section contains practical and detailed advice on preparing various types of report, including reports for use in criminal and civil litigation, civil commitment hearings and child custody proceedings. A final section covers special issues arising during report preparation including the use of psychological tests and the detection of malingering. This is an essential guide for anyone required to write a psychiatric report.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: Although forensic psychiatrists are asked to testify in both civil and criminal cases involving a variety of psychiatric issues relating to the law, the vast majority of forensic expert work involves the writing of reports. This book addresses all aspects of these forensic psychiatric reports.
Purpose: Given the fact that a much greater proportion of forensic psychiatric work is based on written reports, the authors state the purpose of this book is to develop a "set of principles for writing the forensic report, taking into account the complexity and variability of report writing tasks."
Audience: Although useful for those learning how to write concise and effective forensic evaluations, the true value of this book lies in the way it can improve the skill and technique of report writing for even the most seasoned forensic practitioners.
Features: Divided into three main sections (principles of writing, structure and content, and special issues), this book addresses each aspect of the report, from preparation, draftsmanship, and structure to the incorporation of psychological testing and malingering. Chapters end with a brief conclusion section and current and relevant references. There are no appendixes, illustrations, or diagrams, but there are numerous tables and case examples for review.
Assessment: This book is unique in the field of forensic psychiatry. Previous discussions of report writing have generally been included as part of larger books on the practice of the subspecialty area (see Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry, 2nd edition, Rosner (Hodder Arnold, 2004)). Given the importance of the written report for both writers and readers of these documents, dedicating an entire book to creating some guidelines and practices is a worthy goal. The case examples are helpful and although the book is stylistically drab, its contents more than make up for its shortcomings. It is a well-done work that should have a place of prominence in most forensic psychiatrists' offices.
From the Publisher
"This book is unique in the field of forensic psychiatry … It is a well-done work that should have a place of prominence in most forensic psychiatrists' offices."
Doody's Review Services

"In contrast to many other resources on report writing, this book provides historical and background information, as well as clear practical guidance on specific types of forensic mental health reports. Accordingly, it is hard to find fault with the book. The editors have achieved their goal of providing an informative and comprehensive guide to writing forensic reports. The book is recommended to forensic practitioners who want a single text to serve as a reference and a guide to their report writing."
The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521131841
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
07/07/2011
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Alec Buchanan is Professor, Division of Law and Psychiatry, Yale University Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA.

Michael A. Norko is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Law and Psychiatry, Yale University Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA.

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