The myth of advocacy

Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1979 Dec;30(12):819-22. doi: 10.1176/ps.30.12.819.


In an era in which advocacy has become a buzzword, both psychiatry and the legal profession have climbed aboard the advocacy bandwagon. Yet the American Psychiatric Association's notion of advocacy--championing the medical needs of patients--is often in direct conflict with the lawyers' notion of advocacy--championing the legal rights of their clients. The author observes that psychiatry has proved to be a weak adversary for patients' legal advocates; the result has been a one-sided advocacy system that has advanced patients' rights at the expense of their needs. He believes that if the APA is to become an effective advocate for patients, it must hire lawyers and work with them to reverse the trend of turning rights into needs.

MeSH terms

  • Civil Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Physician's Role
  • Psychiatry
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States