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    The principles and practice of forensic psychiatry.

    This is a specialist mental health paper with an emphasis on developing clinical skills and knowledge that can be applied to both beginning practice and advanced practice in a specialist area. The paper is based on an acknowledgement of the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand. We are pleased to offer this paper to students with a diverse range of experience of forensic psychiatry. Previous experience of teaching forensic psychiatry at postgraduate level has indicated that this combination of both beginning and experienced students is very effective in the learning process, leading to more stimulating group discussions, whilst meeting the specific learning needs of students.

    About this paper

    Paper title Forensic Psychiatry
    Subject Psychological Medicine
    EFTS 0.2500
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,103.25
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Limited to
    MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc
    Students will require evidence of suitable clinical experience to be admitted to this paper.
    Must be a graduate or possess an appropriate health professional qualification requiring at least three years' full-time tertiary study and have experience of or be currently working in a mental health setting.

    Teaching staff

    Convenor: Associate Professor James Foulds

    Paper Structure

    PSME407 is taught via a series of two-day workshops complemented by self-directed learning using online study materials. The workshops are delivered by leading New Zealand forensic mental health professionals from diverse professional disciplines.

    This content of the paper includes the history and structure of forensic mental health services in New Zealand; violence assessment; ethical and legal frameworks; and interdisciplinary rehabilitation approaches for people with mental illness who have had contact with the justice system.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Four two-day block courses. Two blocks are held in Christchurch and two blocks online via Zoom. Attendance at block days is compulsory.

    Between block courses, self-directed learning is encouraged with the provision of a study guide and self-assessment questions to assist with preparation for the next workshop.


    All textbooks and other course materials will be made available through the secure Moodle online learning platform.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    • Demonstrate understanding of core  theories and concepts underlying forensic psychiatric practice.
    • Understand the history for forensic mental health services in New Zealand and their current structure.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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