Involuntary commitment and the treatment process: a clinical perspective

Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1980;8(1):44-55.


The serious question of involuntary hospitalization at this point in history is properly referred to due process in court. While numerous studies have addressed the decisions, statistics and outcomes in this area, insufficient attention has been paid to how the clinician may productively incorporate the clinical experience mobilized by the procedure into the therapeutic work. The authors suggest that the issues raised include maintenance of the alliance, responsibility, dependence, limit-setting, the subjective experience of the process, and the problem of counter-transference. They indicate how the various aspects of commitment may be explored aso as to yield maximal therapeutic benefit, and maintain the alliance during the conflicts of an adversary procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Communication
  • Countertransference
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry* / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • United States