Forensic psychiatry: a subspecialty. The presidential address at the nineteenth annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1989;17(4):323-33.


The implications of the definition of forensic psychiatry are explored, with particular reference to the field as a subspecialty of general psychiatry. The allegation of undue moral uncertainty in forensic psychiatry is denied and the moral issues are revealed to be related to the status of the underlying philosophical disputes. An outline for the organization of the forensic psychiatric assessment is presented. The charge that forensic psychiatry is not as "hard" a science as the other forensic sciences is denied. The administrative and political organizational problems facing the subspecialty are explored. The practitioners in the field are encouraged to recognize that forensic psychiatry is a subspecialty and to work for official subspecialty status. Cautious predictions about the future of the field are provided.

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes
  • Accreditation
  • Canada
  • Certification
  • Forensic Psychiatry* / education
  • Forensic Psychiatry* / standards
  • Specialty Boards
  • United States