Ethics and Law

Application 1:   Elements and Distinctions Between Ethics and the Law
The relationship that exists between mental health professions and the law could best be described as an uneasy alliance (Melton, Petrila, Poythress, & Slobogin, 1997, p. 3).   Many is the field of mental health often times would consider themselves fortunate to avoid interaction with a system whose procedures and laws often seem irrelevant to the therapeutic aims of their profession.   On the opposite end of the spectrum, for those professionals surrounding the practice of law, view the mental health profession as a vague and somewhat unreliable science, particularly when it intersects with the legal system.  
However, the shared history of the mental health profession and the legal system proves without a doubt that their future relationship is here to stay.   The intersection of these two complex systems is unavoidable and can be both mutually favorable and beneficial to all who are involved.   Since Muller v. Oregon (1908, U.S. Supreme Court) and critical court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954, U.S. Supreme Court), evidence from the social sciences has been used in the judicial decision-making process (Levin & Wallach, 2002).   For the professional counselor, a working knowledge of basic forensic social work would help in navigating the system of law in a way that is both helpful and contributes to the best interest of the client.
Therapeutic jurisprudence is a term coined by David Wexler and Bruce Winick that describes the problem-solving process between the legal and mental health systems. Wexler and Winick examined the impact of the system of law on mental health as well as the impact of the social sciences on the law (Wexler, 1990; Wexler & Winick, 1991, 1996; Winick, 1997).   With the increase in today‚Äôs society of problems such as crime, divorce, family violence, and substance abuse,   as well as the clear impact of mental illness on crime, professionals...