Forensic psychiatry is often misunderstood due to the representation of forensic psychologists in mainstream media. While assisting law enforcement in homicide investigations is a part of forensic psychology, there are many more applications that could be applicable to your case.
Psychology and psychiatry applications in legal proceedings can help provide insight and that can have a significant impact on the outcome of a case. These are five instances in which you may benefit from enlisting the help of a forensic psychiatrist.
If you are facing claims of abuse or accusing someone else, a forensic psychiatrist can provide useful assessments and evaluations. The in-depth profile a psychiatrist acquires of an individual can help a judge or court decide whether someone is likely to engage in aggressive, abusive behaviors.
In child abuse cases involving custodial rights, a parental competency evaluation can give the court an idea of what type of attachment figure a parent may be and what level of risk they may present to any children under their care.
Cases of Emotional Distress
If you are suing someone for significant emotional distress or trauma, a forensic psychiatrist can help present your sufferings to a court. An expert clinical evaluation that relies on valid diagnostic criteria may help demonstrate the psychological depth of someone’s pain. People may be accused of lying or exaggerating the extent of an event’s impact on their mental health; a forensic psychiatrist’s assessment can add credibility to any claims.
A Brain Injury
In cases where someone sustained a traumatic brain injury, a forensic psychiatrist can evaluate them and confirm the extent of the injury to the court. Some brain injuries affect a person’s ability to regulate and express their emotions, while others may result in substantial cognitive disabilities that prevent them from working or living independently.
A professional’s assessment and opinion presented in court can help further illustrate why an injury merits compensation.
If you are a victim of sexual, racial, or religious discrimination, a forensic psychiatrist could help demonstrate how much the discrimination has impacted your life. You might be screened for a variety of resulting mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, and the full extent of the discrimination’s emotional impact on your well-being will be recorded.
In discrimination cases, forensic psychiatrists can help show the court how discriminatory actions have resulted in significant distress or other types of loss.
Whether you were injured and became disabled through an accident or are seeking disability benefits, forensic psychiatrists may be able to help. They can provide expert opinions on a person’s ability to work, their ability to work in certain fields, and whether or not they can work in the future based on their current prognosis and lifestyle.
Most disability cases with a forensic psychiatrist involve interviews and tests that measure a person’s ability to perform certain tasks.
Incorporating medical and psychological professionals in your case can provide the support you need to be fully and accurately represented in court.
Author information: Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.