A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Approach to Dealing with Coercion in the Mental Health System
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 15, pp. 25-39, 2008
40 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2008 Last revised: 20 Apr 2009
Date Written: June 30, 2008
This article describes the approach of therapeutic jurisprudence, an interdisciplinary form of legal scholarship that has a law reform agenda. It then illustrates the approach by applying it to the question of when coercion might be appropriate in the area of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and treatment, and when appropriate, how clinicians, judges, and lawyers should act so as to minimize coercion's potentially antitherapeutic effects and maximize the therapeutic potential of law in this area. The article considers areas of psychological research involving the relative effectiveness of coercion and voluntary choice in the area of hospitalization and treatment, and on what makes patients feel coerced in these contexts. The article seeks to reshape legal rules and legal and clinical practices relating to involuntary hospitalization and treatment to reflect a therapeutic jurisprudence orientation.
Keywords: civil commitment, involuntary treatment, perception of coercion, therapist-patient relationship
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