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Clinical Manual of Psychiatry and Law

Robert I. Simon, M.D., and Daniel W. Shuman, J.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-249-8
  • Item #62249

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In their latest collaboration, Clinical Manual of Psychiatry and Law, noted forensic psychiatrist Dr. Robert Simon and legal scholar Daniel Shuman, both recipients of the Guttmacher Award, have created a unique, practical reference to enable psychiatrists to transform the impact of the law on their clinical practices from an adversary to a working partner. In lieu of scare tactics or horror stories, Dr. Simon and Professor Shuman clearly explain not only what the law requires and why but how best to integrate its requirements to enhance clinical practice and reduce the risk of successful tort claims. They have written a clear, comprehensible, and accessible volume that will guide practitioners through the thickets of the law and benefit their clinical practices.

This volume covers a wide range of topics, from confidentiality, privilege, informed consent and the right to refuse treatment to treatment boundaries, involuntary hospitalization, seclusion and restraint, management of violent as well as suicidal patients, and the additional requirements which apply to the treatment and evaluation of minors or persons with mental disabilities. It also includes the tort (i.e., negligence, intentional harm) claims that arise from a breach of the law's expectations. The content reflects the latest legal precedents concerning such topics as:

  • Establishment of the doctor-patient relationship and liability for damages caused by its breach, including new rulings governing confidentiality and testimonial privileges
  • Case law regarding informed consent—especially the issue of competency when dealing with minors or persons with mental disabilities
  • New rules and regulations restricting the use of seclusion and restraint
  • Guides to the most recent laws regarding involuntary hospitalization and emergency commitment
  • Insights into recent state court decisions concerning disclosures by therapists of threats of harm by patients against others, including such issues as conflicts between the duty to maintain confidentiality and the duty to protect
  • Reviews of recent legislation proscribing sexual misconduct or prosecuting sexual exploitation of patients under existing rape or sexual assault laws

Clinicians will find this wealth of knowledge immediately practical and lawyers will appreciate its in-depth treatment of complex psychiatric issues. With extensive references and a glossary of legal terms, Clinical Manual of Psychiatry and Law deserves a place among the top legal references for mental health professionals.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Psychiatry and the Law
  • Chapter 2. The Doctor–Patient Relationship
  • Chapter 3. Confidentiality and Testimonial Privilege
  • Chapter 4. Informed Consent and the Right to Refuse Treatment
  • Chapter 5. Psychiatric Treatment
  • Chapter 6. Seclusion and Restraint
  • Chapter 7. Involuntary Hospitalization
  • Chapter 8. The Suicidal Patient
  • Chapter 9. Psychiatric Responsibility and the Violent Patient
  • Chapter 10. Maintaining Treatment Boundaries
  • Appendix A: Suggested Readings
  • Appendix B: Glossary of Legal Terms
  • Index

About the Authors

Robert I. Simon, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Psychiatry and Law at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Daniel W. Shuman, J.D., is Professor of Law at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Robert I. Simon, the most prolific author of forensic psychiatric texts, has joined with attorney Daniel W. Shuman in putting together the essentials for the practicing psychiatrist who is concerned about legal regulations of psychiatric practice. The authors have considered a number of treatment issues that may lead to liability for the practitioner. They define legal terms, present appropriate references and exercises in providing the best clinical treatment and, by doing so, avoiding the pitfalls that may lead to liability and malpractice lawsuits. The presentation is clear, concise, and helpful to all practicing psychiatrists. This book is an essential addition to the library of any serious psychiatrist wishing to provide appropriate treatment while avoiding malpractice risk.—Robert L. Sadoff, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania; Director, Center for Studies in Social - Legal Psychiatry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This manual is an invaluable educational and practical tool for clinicians navigating their way through the complex world of ethics, professional duties, clinical care and the law. Dr. Simon and Professor Shuman have provided an easily read and well organized discourse on the most relevant and common issues that arise in clinical practice. All practicing psychiatrists who read this book will find both their understanding of these issues and their practical skills much improved.—Liza H. Gold, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Meticulously detailed and painstakingly thorough, this manual, by two leaders in the medicolegal field, anatomizes the various problems at that interface and tells what to do about them. It answers the questions clinicians most want to ask.—Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

By addressing many of the major legal concepts related to the care of mentally ill individuals, the authors are able to provide relevant information in a condensed, practical manner for individuals lacking significant experience in forensic psychiatry. Despite its content, the authors use easy to understand language and explain difficult concepts in a nonconfrontational manner. [Clinical Manual of Psychiatry and Law] is an invaluable reference and should be added to the library of all providers in the field of mental health.—Doody's Book Review Service, 6/8/2007

Overall, this is a well-written manual that summarizes the law as it relates to the practice of mental health as well as provides possible solution to daily issues that clinicians may face. The book is not only informative but will be a useful reference for clinical who hope to take precautions to avoid undue litigation while not insulating themselves so much as to make patient care concerns secondary to fear of legal problems. This manual will be useful not only for mental health professionals but also for physicians in other fields—primary care, family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine—who find themselves dealing with mental health issues in their regular practice.—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6/8/2007

This book should become a well thumbed addition to the libraries of practicing psychiatrists and trainees who want to provide competent care while being cognizant of the legal foundation for safe clinical practice.—The Lournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 6/8/2007

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