Through the Lens of Therapeutic Jurisprudence

By Marie Jensine Marcelino, CFCC Student Fellow, Fall 2020

Therapeutic Jurisprudence (“TJ”) is a legal framework or lens designed to consider and promote individuals’ psychological well-being.

Healing, not punishment, is essential to Therapeutic Jurisprudence.

Evaluating and understanding that every legal decision creates consequences for the individuals involved in a legal proceeding is critical to TJ.

Recognizing that the legal decision implemented may not always promote the clients’ psychological well-being is a critical consideration in the judicial process.

Applying a sincere ethic of care when addressing the needs of each client, and

Promoting true listening and diligent attempts to understand each client help clients feel at ease.

Encouraging all legal professionals to provide a quality ethic of care makes the justice system more therapeutic.

Unknowingly, unfairness can be created by failing to truly understand clients, which then fosters a negative impression of the legal system.

Trying to learn about the ecology of human development and how trauma manifests, while

Identifying what the legal system does not provide to people, and how lawyers can assist them despite this, means more people can receive quality legal representation.

Compassion and TJ can provide a holistic approach when addressing legal issues.

Justice cannot be truly served if it merely acts as a band aid.

Understanding that everyone has a story and the right to tell it helps ensure that people are heard.

Restorative practices provide a space for people to find their voices to tell their stories.

Individualized treatment plans, such as those in drug treatment courts, address the cause of many complex problems affecting those involved with the justice system.

Sympathy is truly not the same as empathy.

Preventing a person’s further involvement with the court is a goal of problem-solving courts.

Relationship building is vital to the success of the individual both in the court and beyond.

Under the TJ framework, people have the possibility to experience effective healing.

Different families have different needs.

Emotions are hard to manage without practice and proper tools.

Never underestimate the power of TJ.

Courts can be a community source for more than just judgements.

Every family deserves a chance to heal.

4 thoughts on “Through the Lens of Therapeutic Jurisprudence

  1. Marie, this format for your post immediately caught my eye. I have struggled in how to effectively define therapeutic jurisprudence to fellow law students, colleagues and family. This post perfectly encompasses everything that TJ is. Thank you for this post. I plan on referring to it for years to come.

  2. Marie,

    I love the format of your blog post. I think it effectively breaks down a concept that can be difficult for people to grasp into a format that makes it less intimidating. I think this could be greatly beneficial in practice. If someone worked at a place where they incorporated Therapeutic Jurisprudence practices, they would definitely be able to use your post to explain to their client or people they assist why they may do things differently than some other firms for example.

  3. Marie,

    I love how you made what may seem like an abstract concept to many into something digestible. It mimics the spirit of TJ, I think, in the way it makes the language accessible and leaves enough room between sentences and ideas to contextualize and process.

  4. Marie, there are so many things I love about your post. I love your creative approach to writing about TJ. Your sentences are simple and concise, yet packed with depth and wisdom. You hit on a wide array of TJ-related concepts with takeaways for anyone seeking to learn more about TJ. Wonderful job!

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