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Expert Witness Testimony

The prospect of appearing in the courtroom typically induces considerable apprehension on the part of mental health professionals, physicians included.
Often this anxiety is due to simply to inexperience in this alien forum where the rules may be also be unfamiliar and where the professional may feel vulnerable to aggressive legal tactics. Obviously, lawyers are trained to probe, sometimes aggressively, into the testimony that is given whether it be by experts or lay persons and this may be a daunting prospect.

However, not only is such testimony often of great assistance to the decision-maker and therefore brings its own sense of satisfaction, but also the professional can be forewarned and forearmed by anticipating the kinds of questions that will be asked and rehearsing, at least mentally, the suitable responses to cross-examination.

It is therefore possible to train individuals to become more effective at giving expert testimony and this is what specialized training programs endeavour to do. The use of mock-trials is typical in law schools but tends to remain the area of specialists within psychiatric and psychological academic programs.