Forensic Criminal Psychiatry FAQ's

WHAT IS FORENSIC PSYCHIATRY?

Forensic psychiatry is a field that encompasses everything at the interface of mental health and the law.  It is a sub-specialty of the medical discipline of psychiatry, which requires additional training and credentialing beyond what is required to become a clinical psychiatrist.  A forensic psychiatrist is a physician who has expertise about mental health and the law and who can serve in a variety of treatment, consulting, expert witness, or political roles.  In comparison, a forensic psychologist is not a physician. Criminal psychiatry and forensic mental health services go hand in hand when it comes to forensic psychiatry.

WHAT DO YOU CHARGE?  DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE?

At this time I do not take insurance.  However, I am able to provide an itemized receipt that can be submitted to insurance companies for the purposes of reimbursement.  To discuss a case or for details about my current fees for expert witness work as a forensic psychiatrist, please contact me.

ARE YOU ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS?

No, unfortunately, at this time I am not taking patients for community based treatment.  My work through Rocky Mountain Forensic Psychiatry is limited to forensic consultation, independent evaluation, and expert witness roles, rather than treatment.

WHAT IS A PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT?

A psychiatric assessment is an evaluation performed to determine if there is evidence of mental illness.  Often as a result of a psychiatric assessment, a diagnosis is given.  The assessment often includes face-to-face evaluation, review of collateral sources, and may include testing.  In addition, when done in a treatment context (which has a different set of ethics), a psychiatrist performs an evaluation for the purposes of providing treatment to the individual requesting help.  As a forensic psychiatrist, the psychiatric assessment is done to answer a specific legal question in a legal context.  As an expert witness (vs. a correctional treatment role for forensic psychiatry), the purpose of a psychiatric assessment is not to provide treatment, but to reach an opinion that may be helpful to the court (or other interested party).

WHAT DOES A FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST TESTIFY TO?

A forensic psychiatrist testifies to his or her opinion, based on the questioned asked while under oath.  Though a forensic psychiatrist may be retained by a party representing one side of a legal dispute, the purpose of testimony is not to support one side or the other, but rather to educate the judge or jury about the opinion (and limits of the opinion) of the forensic expert.  In an ideal situation, a forensic psychiatrist would only be asked to testify under oath if his or her expert opinion would be helpful to the retaining party.

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