Stagg737

7+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2013
8,707
11,171
Decapod 10
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Hey everyone,

I'm currently exploring forensic psychiatry more and trying to figure out how to really learn more about the key aspects of the field. I've checked out the AAPL website and also looked at @splik 's recommendations on his list of 100 further readings (forever grateful for these lists), but there are a lot of articles, landmark cases, and guidelines to wade through. Since there seems to be quite a few forensics psychiatrists on here, I was hoping that some recommendations for a more focused start on landmark cases, articles, or texts for those of us trying to dip our toes into the water along with those hoping to really dive into the field.

I'm currently reading "Essentials of Forensic Psychological Assessment", but other than one or two landmark cases and articles I'm not sure where I should start to build the foundational knowledge for forensic work. I do realize that things may vary significantly from state to state, but I would hope that there would be some universal knowledge where any of us could get started. Any guidance is greatly appreciated!


For those who just want more general resources, here's what I've found on my own so far:

AAPL guidelines: Guidelines | AAPL - American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
AAPL landmark cases (there are quite a few): Landmark Case List | AAPL - American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
AAPL journal homepage: Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (jaapl.org)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

splik

Professional Cat at Large
10+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2009
3,932
6,278
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
The key textbook is Rosner and Scott’s Principles and Practice of forensic psychiatry
Melton’s psychological evaluations for the courts is the other text
The APAs Textbook of Forensic psychiatry is an alternative to the Rosner Text

For lighter reading
:
The Psychopath Test by John Ronson, Without Conscience by Robert Haré, and Snakes in Suits also by Hare are all good reads on psychopathy

Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow

Mindhunter by John Douglas (the Netflix show is also excellent and accurate)
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users

whopper

Former jolly good fellow
15+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2004
7,212
2,154
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I've found Rosner's textbook rather burdensome. Also while it is a good textbook and I strongly believed the forensic board exam was based on it, it's "his" forensic psychiatry and not forensic psychiatry for all.

For example there are several terms in the textbook where they call something not by the accepted standard. "Rape syndrome?" Where is that in the DSM IV or V? Why is it that when I asked top people in the field WTF about very specific terms used in the book and they don't know what they are. Add to the problem (and this is why I believe the boards use that specific textbook) it's in the forensic board exam but none of that is explained in the AAPL board prep course or training material.

So I'm taking the forensic board exam and it's loaded with terms that are not used anywhere else except that textbook. Frustrating when you're in the same room with 3 of the top forensic minds in the field (all Guttmacher award winners) and they're not familiar with any of those terms, yet it's in that textbook and the board exam not used anywhere else.

Not fair to put something in the exam from a textbook where it's the only source that uses that term and not officiated by anyone else.

Kaplan and Sadock does the same.

I've noticed this, forensic psychiatry is a highly specialized field and because of it and because the editor of the publication is almost always not a forensic specialist themselves and only editing things such as grammar, hogwash like this gets by. E.g. I know someone in an elite institution who published a forensic psych book that got some of the constitutional amendments mixed up. The editor was an English major and not an MD, psychiatrist, lawyer, etc and it made it through to the publication. I was reading the material and was like OMG they published this?

I won't state who the person is or the text because I'm friends with that person. Add to it, some of the top psychiatrists in the field wrote glowing reviews of the book that are on the cover and I know those people didn't read it but wrote the reviews cause they're also connected to the same person and were asked to write it as a favor.

Might not be convenient especially now cause of COVID but if you have the time going to the AAPL convention will give you a huge exposure to the field.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
About the Ads

Stagg737

7+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2013
8,707
11,171
Decapod 10
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Thanks for the responses, a few follow-up questions:

1. Are there any cases that are "must-read" for those entering forensic psychiatry? I've read Tarasoff v California since it's relevant to all of psychiatry, but any other major cases that are must reads that apply to all forensic psychiatrists?

2. I mentioned earlier that I'm reading "Essentials of Forensic Psychological Assessment". While some things do seem very applicable to anyone, there's also many things that don't seem as relevant for psychiatrists or are just tests we'd likely never administer. It's become more evident that the target audience is psychologists, so I'm not sure how relevant everything in it is for psychiatry. How much crossover is there between forensic psychiatry and forensic psychology? What are the biggest differences other than psychiatrists being able to make more viable statements about medications?

3. What are the best ways to really get a feel for forensic psychiatry and figure out if it is right for you? Obviously an elective rotation can be helpful and going to AAPL would be great, but what other ways can we really figure out if pursuing a forensics fellowship is the right path?


The key textbook is Rosner and Scott’s Principles and Practice of forensic psychiatry
Melton’s psychological evaluations for the courts is the other text
The APAs Textbook of Forensic psychiatry is an alternative to the Rosner Text

For lighter reading
:
The Psychopath Test by John Ronson, Without Conscience by Robert Haré, and Snakes in Suits also by Hare are all good reads on psychopathy

Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow

Mindhunter by John Douglas (the Netflix show is also excellent and accurate)

Will have to look into those books; the only one I've heard of is The Psychopath Test. Also interesting to hear that Mindhunter is that accurate. I got about halfway through the first season but real life responsibilities made me put it aside. Will have to revisit this at some point.


Not fair to put something in the exam from a textbook where it's the only source that uses that term and not officiated by anyone else.

Wonderful. Nice to know that some aspects of PRITE will be relevant for future board exams.
 

whopper

Former jolly good fellow
15+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2004
7,212
2,154
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
The AAPL endorsed landmark cases are all worth reading.

That's another thing. I've noticed there were some cases in the board exam that weren't the AAPL endorsed landmark cases. Again this is a situation where the writers of the exam likely used Rosner's textbook and not the AAPL prep material.

So someone may then argue study the Rosner textbook for the board exam. No. The book it too cumbersome to be used as a study guide and a lot of the material in it is "his" forensic psychiatry. If you used Rosner's textbook as your study guide for forensic psychiatry it'll take you too long just to get through it once when with study materials you have to be able to cycle through it quickly. Add to that if you memorized his textbook and thought his way it's not the way most people think and communicate. You'll start calling PTSD "Rape syndrome" and no one will know what you're talking about.

Forensic psychiatry is too specialized for enough people who give a damn to cry WTF at a bunch of diagnoses Rosner to decided to name on his own, and tear down the exam writers for using them. That's the entire point of the DSM, for us to at least speak the same technical language.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

psyguru

7+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2011
267
121
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I've found Rosner's textbook rather burdensome. Also while it is a good textbook and I strongly believed the forensic board exam was based on it, it's "his" forensic psychiatry and not forensic psychiatry for all.

For example there are several terms in the textbook where they call something not by the accepted standard. "Rape syndrome?" Where is that in the DSM IV or V? Why is it that when I asked top people in the field WTF about very specific terms used in the book and they don't know what they are. Add to the problem (and this is why I believe the boards use that specific textbook) it's in the forensic board exam but none of that is explained in the AAPL board prep course or training material.

So I'm taking the forensic board exam and it's loaded with terms that are not used anywhere else except that textbook. Frustrating when you're in the same room with 3 of the top forensic minds in the field (all Guttmacher award winners) and they're not familiar with any of those terms, yet it's in that textbook and the board exam not used anywhere else.

Not fair to put something in the exam from a textbook where it's the only source that uses that term and not officiated by anyone else.

Kaplan and Sadock does the same.

I've noticed this, forensic psychiatry is a highly specialized field and because of it and because the editor of the publication is almost always not a forensic specialist themselves and only editing things such as grammar, hogwash like this gets by. E.g. I know someone in an elite institution who published a forensic psych book that got some of the constitutional amendments mixed up. The editor was an English major and not an MD, psychiatrist, lawyer, etc and it made it through to the publication. I was reading the material and was like OMG they published this?

I won't state who the person is or the text because I'm friends with that person. Add to it, some of the top psychiatrists in the field wrote glowing reviews of the book that are on the cover and I know those people didn't read it but wrote the reviews cause they're also connected to the same person and were asked to write it as a favor.

Might not be convenient especially now cause of COVID but if you have the time going to the AAPL convention will give you a huge exposure to the field.
Care to confirm a clue...was the book a forensic board prep book? If so, making corrections in that book actually helped me consolidate my knowledge. I am not sure if that was the intent. Anyhow, I was informed by the author he or she is working on another edition.
 

birchswing

Non-medical
7+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2011
1,754
757
If I were ever in the same room with three Guttmacher Award winners, I think I would just faint.

I was in a room with two once, and I got clammy.

But three would set that vagus nerve over the top, and I'd hit the floor.
 

whopper

Former jolly good fellow
15+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2004
7,212
2,154
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I will not deny it was a prep book.

Let's just say the person is in a track where to have to publish for promotion.

I'll further add there's a type of prep book where the writer has a good idea what will be asked on the exam. There's also a writer who just makes up questions and then you don't find much correlation with the questions and the actual exam. Unfortunately this book was more the latter.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

psyguru

7+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2011
267
121
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I will not deny it was a prep book.

Let's just say the person is in a track where to have to publish for promotion.

I'll further add there's a type of prep book where the writer has a good idea what will be asked on the exam. There's also a writer who just makes up questions and then you don't find much correlation with the questions and the actual exam. Unfortunately this book was more the latter.
If this is the same book I am thinking about, I agree. I obtained this book hoping it would be a nice quick review. I found quite a few errata and contacted this writer offered to assist this writer with the 2nd edition. The writer had already found several contributors and said they probably don't need another one. I am lucky I had studied from other sources to be able to identify the errors. In hindsight, I should have used "Landmark Cases in Forensic Psychiatry" instead. I hope the 2nd edition of this book will be an improvement.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.