Law, science, and psychiatric malpractice: a response to Klerman's indictment of psychoanalytic psychiatry

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Apr;147(4):419-27. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.4.419.


The Osheroff litigation, which is central to Klerman's paper, ended in an out-of-court settlement. The author states that there is no legal precedent for the so-called right to effective treatment and that the case history was a much more complicated clinical scenario than Klerman reports. He concludes that there is neither in the law nor in the clinical facts a sound or certain basis for Klerman's conclusions or for the sweeping policy reforms and standardized clinical procedures he urges. Although they are directed against traditional psychoanalytic psychiatrists, Klerman's proposals could have serious consequences for the innovation, diversity, and independent thought essential to scientific progress in psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Maryland
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Psychiatry / standards
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / standards*
  • Psychotherapy / standards
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United States


  • Antipsychotic Agents