Clinical assessment of the voluntariness of behavior.

S. L. Halleck,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 20(2): 221-36, 1992.
There are a variety of therapeutic and forensic contexts in which the clinician is called upon to assess the voluntariness of behavior. Because the assessment has such complex moral and scientific dimensions, it has been difficult to conceptualize how it is done. By considering the behavior of clinicians and other relevant theoretical issues, the author has prepared a framework for thinking about the assessment of voluntariness. The relevance of diagnostic and philosophical issues is considered. Most of the factors which influence assessment are related to the nature of the patient's pathological experience, hypotheses of causation, and method of treatment. Dr. Diamond had a deep interest in questions of voluntariness and responsibility. I know that he would have disagreed with, at least, some of the material, but I believe that he would have thoroughly enjoyed discussing and arguing the issues. I know that I would have loved the dialogue.