Therapy Through Law

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(2), 215–216. Reviews the book, Essays in Therapeutic Jurisprudence by David B. Wexler and Bruce J. Winick (1991). In this book the authors examine the effects of legal rules regarding competence to consent to treatment (especially voluntary hospitalization), tort liability of mental health professionals (especially in regard to negligent release), and treatment compliance by insanity acquittees and others whose behavior has been or might become dangerous. They also discuss the potential integration of therapeutic jurisprudence into the law-school curriculum, and they offer a research agenda for would-be scholars in therapeutic jurisprudence. As the authors point out, justice and mental health goals are not necessarily in conflict, doing justice well probably has therapeutic effects. The starting points to development of a more just legal system seems to be empirical analysis of the subjective elements and logical analysis of the objective elements of fairness and dignity. Being a good judge or a good lawyer may be incompatible with being a good social worker. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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