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A Clinical Guide to Psychiatric Ethics

Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D., M.A.

  • 2016
  • 382 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-049-8
  • Item #37049

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In the video above, listen to the author, Dr. Roberts, discuss with Chief of Staff John M. Oldham the challenges that medical residents face in managing their own mental health and wellbeing.

Professional ethics and decision making have become areas of heightened critical inquiry, as well as matters of normal but challenging psychiatric practice. Informed by the extensive clinical experience of the author and guest contributors, A Clinical Guide to Psychiatric Ethics approaches the ethical aspects of mental health care—both subtle and dramatic—with clarity, coherence, and optimism. This engaging text functions as both a review and a guide to issues on the horizon, as well as those encountered every day. The Guide achieves these objectives by employing several strategic features:

  • Structured logically into three parts (Fundamentals, Caring for Special Populations, and Evolving Topics), the book takes the reader from the general to the specific and from the traditional to the emergent.
  • Case scenarios at the end of each chapter not only focus the individual reader on the chapter's concepts and issues, but also may be used in independent study or small-group discussions.
  • The text emphasizes real experience over remote theories, attuning readers to clinical realities with keen sensitivity. It does not offer simple answers, but provides guideposts to impart information, foster skill development, and encourage openness, collaboration, and self-reflection among both veteran clinicians and trainees.
  • Significant focus is given to the care of individuals from distinct populations (e.g., children and veterans) and care occurring in unique contexts (e.g., small communities), underscoring the book's broad usefulness.

The material is thoroughly current, aided by useful lists, tables, and figures to enhance its accessibility. A Clinical Guide to Psychiatric Ethics provides a trustworthy compass and expert companion for those traveling with their patients along the ethical frontier of mental illness.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Disclaimer
  • Part I: Fundamentals
  • Chapter 1. Ethics Principles and Professionalism
  • Chapter 2. Clinical Decision-Making and Ethics Skills
  • Chapter 3. The Tradition of the Psychotherapeutic Relationship
  • Chapter 4. Informed Consent and Decisional Capacity
  • Chapter 5. Ethical Use of Influence and the Role of Physician in High-Risk Situations
  • Chapter 6. Confidentiality and Truth Telling
  • Part II: Caring for Special Populations
  • Chapter 7. Children and Transitional Age Youth
  • Chapter 8. People in Small Communities
  • Chapter 9. Veterans
  • Chapter 10. People From Culturally Distinct Populations
  • Chapter 11. People Living With HIV/AIDS
  • Chapter 12. People at the End of Life
  • Chapter 13. Difficult Patients
  • Chapter 14. People Living With Addictions
  • Part III: Evolving Topics
  • Chapter 15. Integrity and the Professional Roles of Psychiatrists
  • Chapter 16. Patient Care Ethics Committees and Consultation Services
  • Chapter 17. Clinician Well-Being and Impairment
  • Chapter 18. Psychiatric Research
  • Chapter 19. Innovation in Psychiatry
  • Chapter 20. Clinical Training
  • Chapter 21. Population Health and Evolving Systems of Care
  • References
  • Appendix: Cases for Discussion
  • Index


    Debra Berman
    Pat Freedman
    Catherine Fox
    Ann Tennier
    Allen R. Dyer, M.D., Ph.D.
    Jerald Belitz, Ph.D.
    Honor Hsin, M.D., Ph.D.
    Daryn Reicherter, M.D.
    Emily Yang Liu, B.A.
    Lawrence M. McGlynn, M.D.
    Cynthia M.A. Geppert, M.D.
    Merry N. Miller, M.D.
    Alan K. Louie, M.D.
    Mickey Trockel, M.D.
    Tom Townsend, M.D.
    Michael Bogenschutz, M.D.

About the Authors

Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D., M.A., is Chairman and Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

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