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What about court-ordered evaluation or therapy?

What about court-ordered evaluation or therapy?

Tulips in white wodden box.

Usually, I do not practice court-ordered evaluation or therapy because I am not specifically trained in the subspecialty of forensic psychiatry. This question comes up from time to time and I want people to understand the special nature of this situation: please keep in mind the importance of not using your regular therapist for court-ordered treatment.

When the court orders an evaluation, you will need to find someone specifically for that purpose. In other words, you shouldn’t use your current or previous therapist. You don’t want to open the entire record of your treatment to the scrutiny, interpretation, and public knowledge of the court situation and all of the people in that courtroom. For this purpose, most people want to hire a forensic psychiatrist because of their special training and expertise not only with the rules and regulations of the legal world, but also with the specialized components of any psychiatric endeavor for the court.

For court-ordered therapy, it is a little tricky. The confidentiality of the treatment is compromised by the presence of the court order and sometimes obligations to the court. This kind of treatment usually requires reports to the court, at least about attendance to sessions, but sometimes more involved reports are required. This outside involvement brings pressures and ramifications to the therapy. Of course, if you are court-ordered for therapy, you should do it. Just start with a new therapist and understand the limitations of confidentiality that are different from regular psychotherapy. Anytime one is in therapy, it is an opportunity to grow and understand oneself better, even if there are limitations.