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Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice Hardcover – March, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: ReganBooks; 1 edition (March 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060391979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060391973
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A whistle-blowing insider, Hagen (psychology, Boston Univ.) rails against forensic psychology and psychiatric practitioners. In her view, the booming business of expert testimony in child custody, criminal rehabilitation, child abuse, and psychological injury/disability cases wastes society's financial resources and yields decisions probably inferior to those that could have been made by the general public. As an "infant" science, she argues, psychology can't provide the answers to the questions posed in such situations. Unfortunately, provocative ideas rest under mounds of verbiage and inflammatory rhetoric here. Legitimate outcome studies that bolster Hagen's conclusions are interspersed with sensational newspaper snippets of particular incidents; oversimplifications and gross generalizations weaken her message. Essentially a political diatribe, this work may be equally useful for consciousness-raising or as fodder for cost-cutting insurance companies, but it is not a necessary purchase for general collections.?Antoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A take-no-prisoners condemnation of psychiatric experts being waved into the witness box, this account trashes psychiatry in general as a quack profession. Hagen (a psychology professor) assails most of the diagnostic tools of the field in her text, which roams among court cases whose outcome hinged on the testimony of mental-health experts. Her fundamental contention is that psychiatry is a junk science whose theories when extended to matters of legal culpability go against common sense. Indeed, Hagen assumes the posture of that legendary legalism, the "reasonable person," and her prose is peppered with exclamations and rhetorical questions like "Who could believe that?" which might annoy as many readers as it might convince about whatever points are in question. Among them are such topically current items as battered-wife syndrome, recovered memory claims, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and urban psychosis claims. The average person could easily encounter in divorce and child custody litigation the situations Hagen vigorously complains of, so her energetic attack could gain considerable attention. Gilbert Taylor

Customer Reviews

This was by far one of the worst books I've ever read!
She is not opposed to government charity such as welfare and disability benefits, but feels the gatekeepers should be ordinary people, like a lay jury.
Mira de Vries
She also doesn't seem to understand that diagnosis does not equal insanity or incompetency.
Clementine Kruczynski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Wolf Roder on September 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Margaret Hagen is an experimental psychologist who studies human activities. She is very much aware how little we know or can predict about human behavior, and that we know virtually nothing about how the brain works in everyday life. Clinical psychologists, the people who decide about mental illness, treatment, prison confinement, and guilt and innocence in court do not draw on this meager knowledge. Rather, clinical psychology depends on speculations about human behavior going back to Sigmund Freud, and on the intuition of the psychotherapist. In other words, clinical psychology is neither science, nor does it rely on firm knowledge. She refers to therapy and assessment as ineffective, a waste of time. We, the public, the courts, various welfare and other institutions, desperately need to assess and to know what to do with persons, including children, who are emotionally damaged, who commit criminal acts, or are just generally behaving weirdly. Society has empowered the clinical psychologist to make these determinations, to say who is sick, who is guilty, who needs treatment, and how to dispose of the case. The clinical psychologist has no, absolutely no, no kind, of science to base his or her judgement on. We simply do not know how people will behave in future, nor do we understand the working of the brain. "I have said it before, and I will say it again, there are no reliable valid, mental or `behavioral' tests for suspected child abuse worth a damn In this mythology, the individual is an impotent pawn of his environment and upbringing, and the family is more likely pathological, dysfunctional, and damaging. In contrast, "the ideas of free will and moral choice have vanished from the landscape." (p.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By alisa on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are two doctors that are whores for hire and will commit the innocent to institutions and have them forcefully medicated if they get the right price. Dr. Francisco Velarde and Dr. Kaushal Sharma are chilling charlatans and this book's author should investigate any cases involving these two vile whores.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
SEND A COPY TO EVERY JUDGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY!! Ms. Hagen has done an OUTSTANDING job of exposing the fallacies of the Psych communities involvement in the legal system. If you are attempting to refute bad "science" this book will help you to understand how to go about it. It will not give you step by step instructions but the understanding of how and WHERE the flaws are will help to create questions and arguments against "SNAKE OIL SALESMEN" (might make a good follow up title?). I am buying a box and sending one to ALL of our judges. They ALL need to know what they are dealing with!
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29 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Based on testimony of one of those "psychoexperts," I have not seen nor spoken to my own children for more than 10 years, so I was enthusiastic about reading Prof. Hagen's book. But I was sorely disappointed: from the opening apologia for her "personal outrage," the book is a mishmash of promotional material for experimental psychology & condemnations of anything "clinical." It is poorly outlined, poorly written, badly edited (Restak & Restick in the same paragraph!), and, like so many of her colleagues, she repeatedly misreads Freud's "legacy." Freud, among others in the latter 19th century, sold the public on the idea that human beings could be objects of scientific inquiry, just like plants & animals; Prof. Hagen obviously believes this, and this places her squarely in the company of those she condemns. This is a surprisingly and sadly incoherent book, & Prof. Hagen can never quite explain why our courtrooms are overrun with psychoexperts: not because the experts are liars & the judges are fools but because they & Prof. Hagen sincerely believe that the scientist can explain the mysteries of human conduct by, to paraphrase Sartre, reducing the cultural order to the natural order.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mira de Vries on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Quiz Questions:

1. In what field did the author earn the letters she proudly displays behind her name?
2. What does she do for a living?
3. How much does she earn and who pays it?

If you wish, you're allowed to read this review, and even the book, before answering.

Hagen maintains the belligerent tone of the title and subtitle throughout her book, hissing and sizzling and inflating the text with epithets. That is a pity, because the unprofessional presentation of her quite valid arguments detracts from them.

What Hagen tells us is that the fields of psychology and psychiatry are scams. The so-called research done in these fields does not meet scientific criteria such as being repeatable, challengeable and refutable. It isn't possible to do scientific research in these fields because the factors affecting human behavior are too infinitely many and unknowable, let alone controllable. The Diagnostic Manual is baseless. Degrees people earn in these fields are not awarded to them for demonstrating skills or knowledge of facts, but rather for their having successfully memorized the beliefs held by others in the field. Often these beliefs are based on a single anecdotal case, with the supposed conclusions subsequently generalized to millions of people. We do not even know how normal people's minds work, let alone the minds of people who display deviant behavior. Definitions in this field are so fluid as to be useless. The information gathered is uncorroborated and the tests employed are based entirely on self-reporting. "Graduate and professional training programs ... fail because the task they have set for themselves is impossible." Psychological treatments have never been proven effective.
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