A psychiatric observation was a medical decree from a certified professional where someone can be held in a facility should that person be deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Counselor Deanna Troi, in working with Starfleet Command under the urging of Reginald Barclay, threatened Ferengi spy Leosa with such a measure If she had not agreed to cooperate with authorities after Ferengi stole the Barclay hologram and reprogrammed it to steal Seven of Nine's nanoprobes. (VOY: "Inside Man")

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