Published: “On anger, shock, fear, and trauma: therapeutic jurisprudence as a response to dignity denials in public policy”

The International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, has just published my article, “On anger, shock, fear, and trauma: therapeutic jurisprudence as a response to dignity denials in public policy.” Through May 18, you may click here to obtain free access to the article.

This piece is not about employment law and policy, but it embraces a relevant theme, namely, how the making and content of public policy can either advance or deny our dignity. Here’s the article abstract:

This article asserts that when policymaking processes, outcomes, and implementations stoke fear, anxiety, and trauma, they often lead to denials of human dignity. It cites as prime examples the recent actions of America’s current federal government concerning immigration and health care. As a response, I urge that therapeutic jurisprudence should inform both the processes of policymaking and the design of public policy, trained on whether human dignity, psychological health, and well-being are advanced or diminished. I also discuss three methodologies that will help to guide those who want to engage legislation in a TJ-informed manner. Although achieving this fundamental shift will not be easy, we have the raw analytical and intellectual tools to move wisely in this direction.

Although it’s a scholarly journal piece, it’s relatively short (10 pp.) and accessible to non-legal folks.

The article appears as part of a special issue honoring Prof. David Wexler (U. Puerto Rico/U. Arizona), a co-founder of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. It was co-edited by Profs. Amy Campbell (U. Memphis) and Kathy Cerminara (Nova Southeastern U.). The journal is hosted by the International Academy of Law and Mental Health.

2 responses

  1. This coupling of the law with psychology is so promising.

    In terms of mental health, as I have written about for Psychiatric Times and Behavioral Healthcare, it has been deteriorating: increase prevalence of many mental disorders; increase in burnout; increase in xenophobia and related prejudices; and an increase in loneliness. To add to the concern, the highest rate of burnout is in the caregiving professions of mental health care, which in turn also worsens patient care. Veterinarians may have the highest suicide rate of all. Here, too, it all began with the “friendly racism” of the Reagan years, but is escalating the last couple of years.

    Yours,

    Steve Moffic, M.D.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. Yes, I hope that we can use psychological insights to create more humane public policy. Our legal/policy structures will not accept these perspectives easily, but we have to make a sustained effort regardless.

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