Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling & Psychology

First Advisor

Joseph Mageary

Second Advisor

Susan Gere

Third Advisor

Robert Fein



Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative case study research was to identify the advantages and disadvantages of collaborations among law enforcement and behavioral health providers on multidisciplinary teams when responding to behavioral health crises. The aims included 1) understand how communication between behavioral health professionals and law enforcement officers impacts their ability to collaborate; 2) uncover how information sharing between both disciplines influences outcomes; 3) describe the perceptions of members of both disciplines regarding levels of case engagement.

Background: Law enforcement is increasingly engaged in behavioral health crises. In addition, there is growing demand for clinical input regarding law enforcement matters. Complex cases appear to exceed the capabilities of an individualized response (law enforcement or behavioral health). As a result, there is a notable growth in the use of multidisciplinary teams, in an effort to engage multiple expertise.

Method: This study was guided by Yin’s work on case study research. Purposive sampling was used, pulling from members of existing multidisciplinary teams. Inclusion criteria included the affiliation as either law enforcement personnel or behavioral health provider.

Results: The themes that emerged from this research are (1) Systemic issues impact MDT success (2) Training and role on the team impacts member practice (3) Successful implementation of MDTs requires intentional work (4) Efficacy of MDTs increases when different expertise is engaged.

Discussion/Conclusion: Through this case study, bounded in space and time, there is greater understanding about the perceptions of multidisciplinary team members regarding law enforcement and behavioral health collaborations when responding to behavioral health crises. An overarching theme regarding a collaborative approach to “dividing and conquering the work” was noted in this study.

Keywords: forensic MDTs, deinstitutionalization, BHP’s, decriminalization, MDTs, diversion, CIT, Co-response, member, user.



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