When you hear the words “forensic psychiatry,” you most likely think of shows like “CSI” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” or those FBI profilers who come on news programs to discuss the psychology of a serial killer.

It looks pretty sexy on a crime solving series, but forensic psychiatry is much more basic in practice. It is the application of psychiatry to legal issues. Some psychiatrists may focus exclusively on legal issues, but at some point in their careers, nearly all psychiatrists have cases where the legal system and a patient’s mental health issues intersect. But forensic psychiatry is a specific medical sub-specialty that focuses on the connection between mental health issues and the law.

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