Mental Health Experts: Client Therapist vs. Court Forensic Expert

2167 Words 9 Pages
The primary purpose of this paper is to attest that the dual roles that mental health experts assume as both a therapist for the client and as a forensic expert in court proceedings are not compatible. The paper also focuses on arguments which confirm the incompatibility of these roles and analyzes past researches that would support the claim. Specifically, the paper discusses points that explain the incompatibility, such as the goals, the client, and attitudes towards the client. The paper further indicates that mental health experts must refrain from assuming dual roles that do not ethically coincide.

Incompatibility of Therapeutic and Forensic Roles In 1997, Greenberg and Shuman wrote an
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An expert witness also has the privilege to offer opinions. Furthermore, they question examinees and not patients or clients. He does not form any working relationship with the subjects (Strasburger, Gutheil, & Brodsky, 1997, p.448). According to Greenberg and Shuman (1997) dual roles have not been abolished despite the fact that engaging in dual roles has corresponding ethical principles that may be overlooked. Even mental health professionals themselves, such as psychologists, are still confused with why the ethical principles exist and how they influence the behavior of therapists. Greenberg and Shuman (1997) specifically address their article to the dual roles that psychologists and psychiatrists assume when they provide therapy to a patient-litigant and also serve as forensic experts in behalf of the patient in litigations. According to Chrisler and McCreary (2010), the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics and the Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists warn against dual roles of mental health professionals (p.590) because of the possibility of swaying from objectivity (Greenberg & Shuman, 2007, p.129). This provision perceives that forensic practice involves a relationship with patients that is different from a therapeutic practice. As Greenberg and Shuman (1997) state, these dual roles are incompatible. Chrisler and McCreary