By Michael L. Perlin, Esq.
Professor Emeritus of Law, New York Law School
Founding Director, International Mental Disability Law Reform Project
Co-founder, Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates
Last month, at the biannual Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH), a group of us launched a new, non-profit organization, the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence (“TJ Society”). From the most recent draft of our by-laws, here is what the group is about:
Therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) is an interdisciplinary field of philosophy and practice that examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic properties of laws and public policies, legal and dispute resolution systems, and legal institutions. TJ values psychologically healthy outcomes in legal disputes and transactions, without claiming exclusivity in terms of policy objectives. The TJ Society shall advance these overall purposes by supporting legal and interdisciplinary scholarship; identifying and promoting best professional and judicial practices; sponsoring conferences, workshops, and seminars; engaging in continuing professional education and public education activities; and hosting and participating in print, electronic, social media platforms.
I have been part of “TJ world” since its beginnings, and I have never been more energized or excited about a new organization than I am about the TJ Society. It is international, interdisciplinary, and its membership spans all ages. It values respect and dignity, and avoids the sorts of hierarchies that plague so many professional organizations. As our first chairperson, David Yamada noted on a recent blog post, “Above all, it means building a welcoming and difference making community.”
I was privileged to be selected as an honorary lifetime president and am also serving on the initial Board of Trustees. I can’t wait for our website to “go public” (soon, I hope) at which time, we’ll let the world know all about us.
In the meantime, I am linking to a recent blog post of mine about what TJ is doing and our different approaches to it (this occasioned by the IALMH conference that I mentioned above). The blog, Mainstreaming TJ, is run by Australian Magistrate Pauline Spencer, another of our initial trustees and the recipient this year of the Bruce Winick Therapeutic Jurisprudence Award.
On behalf of David Yamada and David Wexler (another honorary lifetime president, and one of the two creators – along with Bruce – of the entire TJ school of thought), I invite all who read this to sign up for the blog (it’s easy and user-friendly; if you access it, enter your email, and press Follow, you’ll be kept posted on the new TJ society and how and when to join it).
We hope to get to know you in the coming weeks and months!