The Adolescent’s Right to Psychiatric Care

  • Avron M. Kriechman
Part of the Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law book series (CIAP, volume 4)


The adolescent as psychological prototype evolves from a person dependent on the family of origin to a more autonomous person capable of establishing an identity, a system of values, and intimate, nurturing relationships with others. The adolescent as psychiatric patient enters into a contract in which consent has been given to a psychiatrist for treatment whose nature, benefits, risks, and alternatives have been explained and whose details may not be revealed to others without the adolescent’s permission. The adolescent as minor may lack the legal right independently to consent to psychiatric care or insure its confidentiality by virtue of age alone. An individual adolescent may be fully competent to consent to the psychiatric treatment he or she independently requests. What is their right to do so? Ideally, a parent consents to the psychiatric care their son or daughter requires. Unfortunately, there are a number of circumstances in which a parent might object. Parents may find psychiatric care to be socially unacceptable. They may resist ceding authority in family matters to a perfect stranger. Parents may dismiss serious difficulties as “just a phase they’re going through.” They may have religious objections to certain aspects of treatment (e.g., Christian Scientists who resist psychopharmacological treatment). Or they may wish to conceal serious family psychopathology and/or abuse from outside authorities.


Child Abuse Mental Health Care Parental Consent Psychiatric Treatment Psychiatric Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avron M. Kriechman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Child Psychiatry, Schneider Children’s HospitalLong Island Jewish Hillside Medical CenterNew Hyde ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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