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The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness, Second Edition

Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-342-6
  • Item #62342

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Forensic psychiatry is growing in popularity, and many a practitioner feels the urge to explore this fascinating realm of endeavor. The second edition of The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness, by Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., is a highly readable and practical guidebook for those interested in entering the field while navigating the dangers inherent in courtroom testimony. This volume is a thoroughly revised and updated edition of his highly successful first edition. The earlier edition has been used in nearly all forensic psychiatric training programs in the U.S. and Canada since its publication in 1998.

A professor of psychiatry at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center-Harvard Medical School, Gutheil draws on his decades of experience in the courtroom and countless beginner's mistakes to help readers avoid the pitfalls of serving as an expert witness. While of great value to newcomers to the field, the book offers insight and guidance to early-career and seasoned expert witnesses as well.

As in the first edition, this volume explores the role of the expert witness, moral issues, basic principles, depositions and trials, writing for the court, and ethical marketing. Besides the requisite updating of references and suggested readings, this latest volume features expansions and additions of particular benefit to prospective expert witnesses:

  • A glossary of useful terms
  • Expanded definitions of key concepts
  • A lengthened discussion of bias in testimony
  • Additional illustrative examples
  • A model forensic consent form for examination
  • Cases and principles that have arisen since the first edition

The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness provides the practical, hands-on mentoring and guidance that were not readily available in the past. Concrete advice replaces abstract theorizing, and informal discussion in a user-friendly tone replaces scholarly discourse. These attributes combine to make this a book that is highly accessible and usable in real world courtroom settings.

While some in society decry the expert witness function, the courts will continue, from all evidence, to require expert witness testimony in increasing numbers. The author seeks to help his colleagues meet the courts' needs with ethical, effective and helpful testimony through the publication of this revised volume. At the same time, Gutheil strives to make the often complex arena of forensic psychiatry more understandable to those who wish to enter the field and to seasoned experts eager to keep up with contemporary changes in forensic psychiatry.


  • About the Author
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: What makes an expert?
  • Chapter 2. The expert's ethical universe
  • Chapter 3. First principles
  • Chapter 4. Types of typical cases
  • Chapter 5. Discovery and depositions
  • Chapter 6. The expert in trial
  • Chapter 7. Some pointers on expert witness practice
  • Chapter 8. Writing to and for the legal system
  • Chapter 9. Developing and marketing a forensic practice
  • Chapter 10. The expert on the road: Some travel tips for testifying away
  • Chapter 11. Epilogue
  • Appendix 1: Consent form for forensic examination
  • Appendix 2: Standard fee agreement
  • Appendix 3: Detailed fee agreement
  • Appendix 4: Suggested readings and web sites
  • Glossary
  • Index

About the Authors

Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., is professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School; cofounder of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center; and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law and the current president of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. The textbook, Clinical Handbook of Psychiatry and the Law, coauthored with Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., and now in its fourth edition, received the Manfred S. Guttmacher Award as the outstanding contribution to forensic psychiatric literature.

The novice expert witness beware—read this book before raising your hand in court. Dr. Gutheil, a nationally and internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist provides essential information and hard-won experience to the fledgling expert witness. The role of the expert witness can be lonely and unnerving. Dr. Gutheil is the unfailing guide, just an arm's reach away.—Robert I. Simon, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Program in Psychiatry and Law, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC

A clear, practical guide for effective and ethical courtroom practice. Dr. Gutheil has created a must-read resource for both beginning and experienced forensic psychiatrists.—Jeffrey S. Janofsky, M.D., Director, Psychiatry and Law Program, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine

In the eagerly anticipated update to a classic that has shaped expert witness practice for over a decade, leading forensic psychiatrist Thomas G. Gutheil has delivered just what the doctor ordered. For courtroom practitioners of all mental health disciplines, reading the second edition of The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness will be as compulsive as it is compulsory: invaluable insights, blunt truths, and engaging humor are dispensed with a unique blend of clinical precision and literary flair.—Eric Y. Drogin, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP, Harvard Medical School, Former President, American Board of Forensic Psychology

A lifetime of forensic wisdom is crystalized in this highly readable, practical guide. No book is better for the beginning expert.—Phillip J. Resnick, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine

Even better than the classic first edition! No expert witness should set foot in a courtroom without reading this wise, informative, and user-friendly guide written by a giant in the field. An invaluable gift to both beginning and seasoned experts.—Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., Diplomate in Clinical Psychology

The second edition seems to retain the best of the previous edition, while updating and improving it extensively to mirror the current environment for forensic practitioners. The author's writing style is both entertaining and informative, and he has a unique ability to explain even the most complex concepts in an easily digestible manner.
Readers benefit extensively from his experience and comprehensive knowledge base. In addition, the valuable appendixes contain sample fee agreements and consent forms, which can be frustrating and time consuming to construct from scratch. This should be on the reference shelf of both new and experienced forensic practitioners.—Doody Enterprise, 8/7/2009

The second edition of Dr. Gutheil's classic for nonforensic and new forensic psychiatrists is
significantly revised and better than the first, but retains its conveniently small size. The book is concise, well organized, and eminently readable. The principles are clear and the advice very practical, with many case illustrations and examples of the author's dry wit (don't try that during testimony).—William H. Reid, M.D., M.P.H., Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 8/7/2009

Dr. Gutheil's guide for the expert witness is a bright lighthouse for practitioners who are eager to navigate the difficult yet exciting waters of forensic psychiatry. Psychiatrists new to the forensic arena ill greatly benefit from the author's exhaustive experiences and gain confidence in undertaking this type of work.—Bradley W. Freeman, M.D., The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 8/7/2009

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