To the Editor:

...The treating clinician proceeds in an empathic manner by helping the patient bear and work through his or her suffering and by validating the feelings expressed. The forensic examiner strives to be objective and seeks corroboration for, rather than validation of, expressed feelings, perceptions, and attributions [1]. The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law ethical guidelines [2] emphasize that separtion of roles is both ethically desirable and methodolically necessary [3]. [Am J Psychiatry. 152:3, March 1995 p. 478]


  1. Stone AA: Law, Psychiatry, and Morality: Essays and Analysis. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Press, 1984.
  2. American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law: Ethical Guidelines for the Practice of Forensic Psychiatry. Baltimore, AAPL, 1989.
  3. Bursztajn HJ, Scherr AE, Brodsky A: The rebirth of forensic psychiatry. Psychiatric Clinics of North America (in press).