Evaluation of Capacities in Psychiatry

  • Seymour L. Halleck
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


In Chapter One, I noted that one major way in which a psychiatric evaluation differs from evaluations in other medical specialties is the extent to which it is focused on an assessment of the patient’s capacities. I also noted the failure of psychiatric educators to develop models for teaching students how to evaluate capacities. In many ways, that failure is understandable. The evaluation of capacities requires a great deal of conceptualization and speculation about the interaction of many biological, psychological, and social variables. Often, the task involves making predictions on the basis of insufficient data. Sometimes, the evaluation may even take on a moral dimension.


Disruptive Behavior Mental Impairment Forensic Psychiatry Civil Commitment Forensic Psychiatrist 
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For Further Reading

  1. Appelbaum, P. S., and Grisso, T. Assessing patients’ capacities to consent to treatment. New England Journal of Medicine, 319-25, 1538–1635, December, 1988.Google Scholar
  2. Drane, J. F. The many faces of competency. Hastings Center Report, 15(2): 17–21, 1985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Grisso, T. Evaluating competence: Forensic assessments and instruments. New York, Plenum, 1986.Google Scholar
  4. Monahan, N. The prediction of violent behavior: Toward a second generation of theory and policy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 141:10–15, 1984.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour L. Halleck
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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