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From The CriticsReviewer: Aimee St. Pierre, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This volume is a practical legal reference for mental health clinicians in psychotherapy practice.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to increase the mental health clinician's understanding of the legal aspects of psychotherapeutic practice. This is an important area that tends to be neglected or even omitted in training programs and clinical supervision. The author, a respected forensic psychiatrist, addresses the legal issues thoroughly, in a clear and practical manner.
Audience: The intended audience is non-physician mental health practitioners; specifically, the focus is on psychotherapy practice, and does not include the legal aspects of diagnosis and medical treatment provided by psychiatrists. The content will certainly be useful for mental health practitioners in general, but also should be appropriate for psychiatric residents and other mental health trainees. It will also be of value to psychiatrists engaged in psycho-therapeutic practice.
Features: An overview of the law as it applies to the practice of psychotherapy is provided. Other topics include the standard of care in various aspects of clinical practice, including confidentiality, therapeutic boundaries, dealing with impaired colleagues, and dangerousness, among others. One chapter is devoted to conducting a forensic practice. Appendixes provide a glossary of legal terms, as well as a helpful collection of sample forms for use in clinical and forensic practice.
Assessment: This is a useful volume, written in a concise and engaging style by a knowledgeable author. Answers are provided to common legal questions posed by clinicians, and guidance is offered in risk management and the standards of clinical practice. The brevity and readability make it an excellent reference for educators and students.