Judges and Psychiatrists

The Question of a Collaborative Relationship
  • Howard Owens
Part of the Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law book series (CIAP, volume 5)


In his typically satirical fashion, Jonathan Swift understood the familiar process by which stereotypes, which modern physicians might attribute to anxiety, projection, and paranoid fantasies, can be broken down by actual, concrete experience with the hated and feared object—and yet the stereotype may still live on, coexisting on a different plane of the mind with day-to-day cordiality and cooperation. In recent years, the history of the apparently very troubled relationship between psychiatrists and the courts has fallen into a similar pattern: many psychiatrists have approached any involvement with the courts with great trepidation, disgust, or abhorrence and have even avoided doing psychiatric-legal work if at all possible. At the same time, specialists in forensic psychiatry have found that immersing themselves in the daily problems dealt with by the courts and working as consultants to judges and attorneys can actually be fascinating, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding.


Acad Psychiatry Supreme Court Decision Trial Court Forensic Psychiatry Court Judge 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Owens
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the Criminal and Supreme CourtsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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