Faculty Publications

Title

Forensic practice in the helping professions: Advocate and adversary roles as a threat to therapeutic alliances and fiduciary relations

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Adversarial process in criminal justice, Clinical coercion, Fiduciary relationships, Therapeutic alliance

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

Volume

31

Issue

1-2

First Page

57

Last Page

68

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of the adversary system on forensic social work and asks the question, can social workers establish an authentic therapeutic alliance and fiduciary relation in the forensic context? The adversary process of the judicial system presents challenges that are affecting forensic social workers in unique ways. For example, because of the quasi-coercive situations in the forensic setting, interpersonal attributes such as empathy, warmth and genuineness, which are the essential components of therapeutic alliance, cannot be truly or positively attained Therapeutic alliance and fiduciary or trusting relationship are central to social work practice. However, the challenge and intricacies of maintaining therapeutic alliance in the forensic setting are concerns that have been largely ignored in the professional literature. The dual roles of advocate and adversary present a paradox with some important implications for all helping professions. © 2000 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2000

DOI of published version

10.1300/J076v31n01_03

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