The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness

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If you are like many of your colleagues, you are intrigued by the practice of forensic psychiatry and find the intellectual challenge of bridging the gap between psychiatry and law stimulating. You may even wish to offer your services as an expert witness in legal proceedings. However, your enthusiasm is tempered by the all too real nightmare of a lawyer puncturing your testimony with pointed questions, simultaneously destroying your professional reputation. Furthermore, you face the prospect of establishing your...
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Overview

If you are like many of your colleagues, you are intrigued by the practice of forensic psychiatry and find the intellectual challenge of bridging the gap between psychiatry and law stimulating. You may even wish to offer your services as an expert witness in legal proceedings. However, your enthusiasm is tempered by the all too real nightmare of a lawyer puncturing your testimony with pointed questions, simultaneously destroying your professional reputation. Furthermore, you face the prospect of establishing your practice in forensic psychiatry through a grueling process of trial and error, a procedure that may also tarnish your reputation. In order to leave the familiar surroundings of your clinical practice to enter this new environment, you need a comprehensive, "how-to" manual that can guide you through the legal process and your role as expert witness while highlighting the pitfalls strewn in your path.

The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness provides practical, hands-on instruction for your role as an expert witness. A companion volume to The Psychiatrist in Court: A Survival Guide, this book encapsulates, into a single user-friendly volume, the wisdom and experience of one of the world's leading forensic psychiatrists, Dr. Thomas Gutheil. Using wit and an informal tone, Dr. Gutheil describes the ethical, clinical, and functional role of the expert witness. He guides you through the details of case evaluation, discovery and depositions, and trials so that you can provide truthful, ethical, and effective testimony and avoid potential hazards and pitfalls. Sharing dozens of invaluable hints and practical advice on numerous subjects such as writing forensic reports, withstanding cross-examination, maintaining objectivity, marketing your services ethically, and concluding fee agreements, Dr. Gutheil helps smooth your way into this exciting field.

Armed with this knowledge and guidance, you will be fully prepared to embark on your career as an expert witness. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just a beginner, The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness is a reference that you cannot be without.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. His textbook, Clinical Handbook of Psychiatry and the Law, co-authored with Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., received the Manfred S. Guttmacher award as the outstanding contribution to the forensic psychiatry literature. He is also the recipient of Le Prix Pinel awarded by the International Academy of Law and Mental Health for outstanding contributions to teaching and research in the forensic realm. He was 1995 "Teacher of the Year," elected at the United States Psychiatric Congress. He received the Seymour Pollock Award from the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law for outstanding contributions to the teaching of forensic psychiatry.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Doodys Health Sciences Book Review Journal
This is a user-friendly, practical book about the unique aspects of work as an expert witness in psychiatry.
American Journal of Psychiatry
The text is an excellent reference for either the novice or seasoned practitioner encountering the ethical, clinical, and practical issues of the expert witness, as well as hazards and pitfalls inherent to this arena.
Focus, Harvard Medical School
...a thorough how-to manual for the psychiatrist who has testified and found it not so bad after all, and for all who might consider serving as expert witnesses voluntarily.
Gregg Bassett
This excellent new handbook attempts to provide the novice forensic psychiatric expert with helpful advice about the unique issues associated with work as an expert witness. It takes the reader through each step of a forensic case: initial negotiations with the attorney, the evaluation, discovery and depositions, common pitfalls, travel, and testimony in court. A useful section on the ethics of forensic psychiatry practice is appropriately placed early in the book. The author, Vice President of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and an acknowledged leader in the field of forensic psychiatry, wrote this book with the goal of increasing the knowledge and skills of both the novice expert witness and of those contemplating the role for the first time. This practical and concise handbook succeeds in meeting these objectives. Although the book is targeted toward the novice expert witness, more seasoned experts will appreciate the model fee agreements provided in the appendixes. Senior psychiatry residents who have already read more formal textbooks of psychiatry and law and are considering additional training in forensic psychiatry will find this book a useful and quick introduction to the unique aspects of being an expert witness. The book features concise, readable chapters arranged in a logical format. The table of contents and glossary enable the reader to rapidly locate particular topics in the text. The appendixes, with sample fee agreements, are particularly unique, as is the advice on scheduling, travel, and marketing. The reader may wish to supplement the chapter on forensic report writing with additional materials. This is a user-friendly, practical book about theunique aspects of work as an expert witness in psychiatry. It does not substitute for a fellowship in forensic psychiatry, nor should it be read in lieu of a more formal textbook of psychiatry and law. However, as a practical guide to actually doing expert witness work, it is superb
Booknews
Provides practical advice for psychiatrists entering the law environment in the role of expert witness, guiding professionals through the legal process and highlighting pitfalls. Uses wit and an informal tone to describe the ethical, clinical, and functional role of the expert witness, and details aspects of case evaluation, discovery and depositions, and trials. Also covers writing reports, marketing, and fee agreements. A companion to The Psychiatrist in Court: A Survival Guide. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Updated from the 1998 first edition, this book provides both introductory information and more advanced discussion of the many facets of the practice of forensic psychiatry.
Purpose: Directed at those early in their forensic careers, the book aims to enhance their knowledge and skill sets, while being a helpful reference for those considering entry into this interesting and challenging field.
Audience: Although penned primarily for those contemplating or beginning their careers in forensic psychiatry, it also may be useful for more experienced professionals as it provides some tried and true methods, tested by one of the leaders in the field.
Features: The author walks readers through much of the basics needed to understand the functions of a forensic expert and provides some very practical information about an expert's interaction with the legal system, such as writing reports, testifying, and developing and marketing a forensic practice. Each chapter ends with a list of current and relevant suggested readings.
Assessment: I purchased the first edition of this book a few years after its publication, and it has served its purpose in my library. The second edition seems to retain the best of the previous edition, while updating and improving it extensively to mirror the current environment for forensic practitioners. The author's writing style is both entertaining and informative, and he has a unique ability to explain even the most complex concepts in an easily digestible manner. Readers benefit extensively from his experience and comprehensive knowledge base. In addition, the valuable appendixes contain sample fee agreements and consent forms, which can be frustrating and time consuming to construct from scratch. This should be on the reference shelf of both new and experienced forensic practitioners.
WILLIAM H. REID

The second edition of Dr. Gutheil's classic for nonforensic and new forensic psychiatrists issignificantly revised and better than the first, but retains its conveniently small size. The book is concise, well organized, and eminently readable. The principles are clear and the advice very practical, with many case illustrations and examples of the author's dry wit (don't try that during testimony).

M.D. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Bradley W. Freeman

Dr. Gutheil's guide for the expert witness is a bright lighthouse for practitioners who are eager to navigate the difficult yet exciting waters of forensic psychiatry. Psychiatrists new to the forensic arena ill greatly benefit from the author's exhaustive experiences and gain confidence in undertaking this type of work.


4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880487634
  • Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., is professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School; cofounder of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center; and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law and the current president of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. The textbook, Clinical Handbook of Psychiatry and the Law, coauthored with Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., and now in its fourth edition, received the Manfred S. Guttmacher Award as the outstanding contribution to forensic psychiatric literature.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Table of Contents

Preface: What This Book Is Meant to Do
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: What Makes an Expert? 1
2 The Expert's Ethical Universe 11
3 First Principles 19
4 Types of Typical Cases 41
5 Discovery and Depositions 59
6 The Expert in Trial 77
7 Some Pointers on Expert Witness Practice 97
8 Writing to and for the Legal System 101
9 Developing and Marketing a Forensic Practice 111
10 The Expert on the Road 119
11 Epilogue 129
App. 1 Standard Fee Agreement 131
App. 2 Detailed Fee Agreement 135
App. 3: Suggested Readings 139
Index 141
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