Poker Face in Mental Health Practice

A Primer on Deception Analysis and Detection

Ansar Haroun (Author), David Naimark (Author)


Using the latest techniques from poker players to detect when your patients are lying to you.

Forensic psychiatrists frequently deal with deceptive people. In these cases, malingering is the most common type of deception one encounters. However, deception on the part of mental health clients in other treatment settings is much broader and more complex than malingering, and learning the signs of deception can be useful for therapists in any specialty, especially those who do not necessarily take what their clients tell them at face value.

The book begins with an introduction to some basic concepts concerning deception, with particular emphasis on “what it is” and “what it isn’t.” It then looks at the motivations behind and methods of deception in mental health practice, as well as the common contexts in which deception occurs. Finally, with an eye toward the detection of deception, the book looks at the game of poker as a “clinical case study” to explore whether the popular notion of “tells” has any relevance to the practice of mental health treatment.

This short and uniquely illustrated guide will help mental health professionals determine when, why, and how their clients may lie to them. With some of the analysis based on insights from the world of poker players, readers will learn about methods of deception, reasons why clients deceive them, and the best methods to uncover the truth.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70699-4
  • 9 × 6 in / 176 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“As experienced forensic psychiatrists, Drs. Haroun and Naimark are experts in detecting deception by individuals they examine in court proceedings. In this book, they share their expertise in order to enable mental health professionals to best serve their clients by detecting deception by their clients. The authors provide a detailed definition of deception and explain why, how, and when clients deceive, and offer specific advice on how to detect deception. For the valuable insights it provides, this book should be read by every mental health professional.” — Grant Morris, Professor Emeritus, University of San Diego School of Law, and Clinical Professor, University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

“Drs. Naimark and Haroun, both expert, experienced, and eminent forensic psychiatrists, provide both a philosophical and pragmatic rationale throughout this readable and illuminating book. It will be especially useful to behavioral clinicians, psychotherapists, and forensic mental health professionals who deal with issues involving mistrust, manipulation, misrepresentation, and lying.” — Saul Levine, MD, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Children's Hospital and Health Center, University of California, San Diego

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