Objectivity in Evaluations for Assisted Suicide: Appreciating the Role of Relational and Intrapsychic Components
Recent literature has emphasized the important role psychologists can play in evaluating patients’ competency and decision-making processes in cases of assisted suicide. It is often assumed that psychologists will be objective when conducting evaluations or that current training standards will neutralize potential sources of bias. Yet, providing service to patients who are seeking an assisted suicide may give rise to a number of relational and intrapsychic issues that could influence the evaluation process and its outcomes. In this commentary, we argue that psychologists should not be involved in cases of assisted suicide until they are adequately trained to be cognizant of the psychodynamic issues, particularly their own countertransference, that are likely to emerge within this unique clinical situation. We offer suggestions for augmenting previously recommended training procedures to account for these issues.
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice
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