Your Practice and the Law: Legal Liability and Protection
More than ever before, the therapist must retain an attorney with expertise in therapy-practice law in the cadre of consultants. Clients are more likely to litigate than in the past; therapists are more likely to be asked to testify in a trial, have their records subpoenaed, or be held accountable for certain of their clients' behaviors. This chapter highlights some of the most common and confusing legal issues that therapists may face. This confusion arises from multiple causes: The courts are attempting to formulate guidelines for ethical practice at least in part based on legal decisions, and individual therapists are attempting to apply a general law to specific situations and to balance their interpretation of laws and guidelines with their therapeutic instincts, which may conflict. The second part of the chapter focuses on ways in which you can protect yourself against liability even in the midst of ever-changing legal guidelines and decisions.