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BROADLY SPEAKING, all aspects of psychiatry may legitimately be considered
matters of public or community concern. The development of any
intellectual discipline, with such insights and technological applications as
may stem from it, is, of course, of some concern to all persons at all times, whether they know it or not. My focus at the moment is, however, more restricted. I
propose to concentrate on situations in which the psychiatrist is called upon to
make or participate in the making of decisions on behalf of the community as a
whole, excluding those situations and decisions where he may properly feel that
his profession as such is concerned or that he and his patient are the parties
primarily involved. In other words, I am concerned with the impacts and practices
of psychiatrists when they function outside the private relation of physician and
patient. Such functioning by the psychiatrist is called for by situations in which
a person who presents psychiatric problems happens also to be in conflict with
other persons to such an extent that the community is involved, either at present
or prospectively. In such situations, a significant interaction between the perspectives and practices of medicine and law takes place.

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psychiatry, community, medicine, law