Forensic Psychiatry-When is There Need of a Forensic Psychiatrist?


Forensic psychiatry versus the other side: Why the need for a forensic psychiatrist

Anyone who has ever been to court for any reason knows that people’s behavior in front of judges is not always polite, decorous, or appropriate. We often attribute the anxiety, yelling, or tears to the stress of the high-pressure situation, and many times, that’s all it is. But what about those cases that simply scream “crazy” from the very beginning?

Forensic Psychiatric Evaluations

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine which incorporates biological, psychological, and social information and constructs for assessing and treating patients. Forensic Psychiatry is different. Forensic psychiatrists are trained to evaluate individuals for a third party. Unlike general medicine or general psychiatry, people involved with the legal system generally do not wish to consult a psychiatrist for help with their emotional problems. Of course, there are some applications of forensic psychiatry in which an individual will bring psychiatric information about himself to the court, and we will deal with those specific issues later. However, there are  incidents and eventualities which might require the expert testimony of a psychiatrist, and, most importantly, how to understand, interpret, and utilize the information the psychiatrist brings to the case. After all, an expert might look really professorial in his pin-striped suit, but if he does not really know what he is talking about, neither will rot firm.

Over all, Forensic psychiatry is a sub-specialty of psychiatry and is related to criminology. It encompasses the interface between law and psychiatry. A forensic psychiatrist provides services – such as determination of competency to stand trial – to a court of law to facilitate the adjudicative process and provide treatment like medications and psychotherapy to criminals.

Vivian Shnaidman