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16 Behav. Sci. & L. 1 (1998)

handle is hein.journals/bsclw16 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Behavioral Sciences and the Law
Behav. Sci. Law, 16, 1-3 (1998)



                       Introduction to Integrating

                       Research and Practice in
                       Forensic Psychology and
                       Psychiatry

                       Joseph T. McCann, Psy.D., J.D.



In his classic article on the efficacy of psychotherapy, Eysenck (1952) argued for
the suspension of all training for therapists because of his findings that groups of
untreated patients did as well, if not better than, those undergoing a course of
psychotherapy. Since the publication of Eysenck's article, the past several decades
have seen a tremendous growth in research into the process and outcome of various
forms of psychotherapy (e.g., VandenBos, 1986). Indeed, Eysenck's data have been
challenged by subsequent findings, but the field of psychotherapy outcome
research has many unanswered questions. In fact, one prominent psychotherapy
researcher commented: It is almost a truism that psychotherapy is a field beset
with a multitude of problems that, unless remedied, may have extremely serious
consequences in the foreseeable future (Strupp, 1986, p. 120). Since the publica-
tion of Strupp's prophetic statement, managed care has had extremely serious
consequences for the provision of mental health treatment; the need for research-
based assessment and treatment is more pressing than ever before.
  Many of the above noted issues also have their parallels in forensic mental health
services. For instance, there are those who have called for either restrictions
(Dawes, 1994) or a complete ban on psychiatric expert testimony (Hagen, 1997),
although the empirical and rational basis for this latter argument has been soundly
criticized (Fulero, 1997). Moreover, several issues have caused considerable
scientific, professional, and public debate in recent years over the use of psycho-
logical and psychiatric principles to administer justice in our courtrooms. The
legitimacy of repressed memories, appropriateness of the insanity defense,
validation of childhood sexual abuse, and the validity of expert testimony in
general (e.g., Faust & Ziskin, 1988; Fowler & Matarazzo, 1988) have all been at the
center of this debate.
  Despite these concerns, there remains a strong value of empiricism that
underlies the ethical practice of forensic psychology and psychiatry. Many peer-
reviewed journals devoted to the interface between law and the behavioral sciences
serve as outlets for studies that address sophisticated and complex psycholegal
issues There have also been significant advances in important areas such as the
suggestibility of child witnesses (e.g., Ceci & Bruck, 1995), assessment of
malingering (e.g., Rogers, 1997), and risk assessment (e.g., Monahan & Steadman,

* Correspondence to: Joseph T. McCann, Psy.D., J.D., 151 Leroy Street, Binghamton, New York
13905, USA.


CCC 0735-3936/98/010001-03$17.50
( 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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