The Varied Court-Focused Duties of the Forensic Psychiatrist

Forensic Psychiatrist pic

Forensic Psychiatrist
Image: careers-in-forensics.com

Based in Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Sridhar Yaratha is a forensic psychiatrist with the Central State Hospital and treats patients with chronic mental illness. Dr. Sridhar Yaratha’s forensic experience includes regularly participating in civil commitment court proceedings.

As medical doctors who have also received psychiatric training, forensic psychiatrists focus on applying psychiatric knowledge within a legal setting. While many forensic psychiatrists maintain clinical practices, they do not provide any type of therapy as part of their forensic duties. Rather, they provide objective evaluations that are used by the courts, retaining attorneys, or institutions involved.

Within civil proceedings, forensic psychiatrists commonly make determinations regarding such matters as an individual’s competence to refuse medical treatment and to dispose of property. In custody cases, forensic psychiatrists are called upon to assess the authenticity and degree of autonomy expressed in the child’s wishes. Other cases, involving alleged posttraumatic stress disorder or emotional harm, require an in-depth understanding of the person’s life history. In serious criminal cases, forensic psychiatrists’ evaluations can help define a defendant’s mental state and may influence a stipulated “not guilty by reason of insanity” determination.

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