Unit 5


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Unit 5

  1. 1. Abnormal Psychology and Law Unit 5 Health Illness Models in Psychology M.D. Cecilia Meza From: Abnormal Psychology, by Jeffrey Nevid (2006)
  2. 2. Psychiatric commitment and patients rights <ul><li>Civil commitment (psychiatric commitment): is the legal process of placing a person in a mental institution, even against his or her will. </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary hospitalization: here an individual voluntarily seeks treatment in a psychiatric institutions and can leave the institutions when he or she desires. </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal commitment: is the legal process of confining a person found not guilty by reason of insanity in a mental institution. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>* Legal safeguards: protect peoples civil rights in commitment proceedings. </li></ul><ul><li>* Szasz argued that the label of mental illness is a societal invention that transforms social deviance into medical illness. </li></ul><ul><li>* In it’s fundamental principle of English and American law, only persons charged with and convicted of certain crimes are subject to imprisonment. Persons who respect other peoples rights to life, liberty, and property have an in alienable right to theirs own life, liberty and property. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Predecting dangerousness. </li></ul><ul><li>* Mental health professionals are often called on to judge whether patients are a danger to themselves or others as part of the legal proceeding to determinate whether people should be involuntary hospitalized or maintained involuntarily in the hospital. </li></ul><ul><li>* People must be judged as dangerous in order to be psychiatrically hospitalized against wills. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The post hoc problem. </li></ul><ul><li>* Recognizing tendencies after a violent incident occurs (post hoc) is easier than predicting it beforehand. Predicting a violent act before the fact is a more difficult task. </li></ul><ul><li>* Generalized perceptions of violent tendencies may not predict specific acts of violence. Most people who have “general tendencies” toward violence never act on them. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>* One difficulty in predicting dangerousness is the lack of agreement over what types of behavior are violent or dangerous. Most people would agree that crimes such as murder, rape and assault are acts of violence. </li></ul><ul><li>* The prediction of dangerousness is complicated by the fact that violent acts such as murder, assault, or suicide are infrequent within the general population, even if newspaper headlines sensationalize about it regularly. The relative difficulty of making predictions about infrequent or rare events is knows as the base-rate problem. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Patients rights <ul><li>Right to treatment. </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health institutions that accept people for treatment would provide them with treatment. </li></ul><ul><li>The court held that mental hospitals must, at a minimum, provide the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. A humane psychological and physical environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Qualified staff in number sufficient to administer adequate treatment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Individualized treatment plans. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Duty warn <ul><li>The therapist’s obligation to warn third parties of threats made against the by clients. </li></ul>Right to refuse treatment
  9. 9. The insanity defense <ul><li>Is a legal defense in which a defendant in a criminal case pleads innocent on the basis of insanity. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Perspectives on the insanity defense <ul><li>Thomas Szazs and others who deny the existence of mental illness have raised a big challenge to the insanity defense. </li></ul><ul><li>If mental illness does not exist, then the insanity defense becomes groundless. </li></ul><ul><li>Szazs argues that the insanity defense is ultimately degrading because it stripes people of personal responsibility for their behavior. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Competence to stand a trial <ul><li>Is the ability of criminal defendants to understand the charges and proceedings brought against them and to participate in their own defense. </li></ul>