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Facing the Challenge of Liability in Psychotherapy: Practicing Defensively / Edition 2

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Facing the Challenge of Liability in Psychotherapy offers ways for therapists of all persuasions to limit liability while continuing to practice effectively. Dr Hedges demonstrates how therapists can put themselves in a position to defend their practices if ever called on to do so; by developing a series of informed consents covering different situations, by learning how to document ordinary as well as critical incidents, by seeking out peer and expert opinion, and by using community resources as appropriate. Most importantly, Dr. Hedges points out the kinds of clinical and dynamic situations that typically lead to complaints and false accusations against therapists. This updated edition addresses three new major areas of concern—work with minors, child custody evaluations, and compliance with the new federal HIPPA regulations. A freshly revised CD-Rom accompanies the book with 30 forms that can be downloaded and adapted.

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Editorial Reviews

...any mental health professional who practices what could be termed “psychotherapy” will find this an immensely helpful volume, especially if he or she has done no ethics reading since the final implementation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or since recent court decisions have changed the landscape of practicing psychotherapy (p. 209). This is a manual for practicing as defensively as possible, without giving up your principles or delivering an ineffective service to your client. At times one is likely to disagree with the author's recommendations or feel that they are too idealistic. At the same time, it is good for psychotherapists to have an ideal to hold their practices up against. Every time the reader has an objection, I would challenge him or her to make sure there is a good reason for it because Hedges has solid reasoning and years of experience backing every recommendation. The first two chapters lay a solid groundwork for a myriad of basics that all therapists should consider having as regular practices. Time and again Hedges does an excellent job of reducing a concept to the practical issues involved and gives you a clear idea how to apply it to your practice. ...many of the risks discussed apply to the various types of therapy and can be discussed more generally. An excellent chapter points out why we need to rethink the language of dual relationships. This is important not only to psychodynamic practitioners but also to those from other theoretical perspectives. In addition, Hedges covers the required HIPAA discussion, requisite in any book of this kind, in very clear language. Each of these chapters is worth the price of the book alone, as any error you correct could save you up to a hundred or a thousand times the cost of the book retail. The materials on the CD that cover these areas appear helpful and standard, and would not require much—if any—alteration if you are a nonpsychodynamic practitioner. Thus, reading Hedges's offering should h
Bryant L. Welch
Malpractice lawsuits and licensing board complaints are a serious threat to the welfare of psychotherapists. It is fantasy to think that only the culpable are brought before licensing boards or become the targets of malpractice litigation. Being a good person and a competent therapist does not guarantee that one will not be forced to defend the profession, often with the very right to continue practicing at stake. Anyone who works with borderline patients, families, children, or very sick patients is at risk. It is that simple, and it is only at one's peril that one denies this fact. In reading Dr. Hedges' latest work, we can take a meaningful step out of the confusion that surrounds many psychotherapists today about the source and nature of their vulnerability before licensure boards and malpractice tribunals. It will be time well spent.
O. Brandt Caudill
Dr. Lawrence Hedges' book is an insightful explanation of the ethical and legal pitfalls facing psychotherapists in the new millennium. His in-depth exploration of the issues and his practical suggestions to minimize risks should help therapists avoid ethical dilemmas and possible litigation. Dr. Hedges also explores and refutes a number of popular myths about administrative and civil litigation. This book will be very valuable to any practicing psychotherapist who hopes to avoid being a defendant in a civil suit or in an action by licensing board.
Stephen M. Johnson
This book is a wonderful gift to the profession, deeply educational and eminently useful. So many of us are babes in the woods concerning the intersection of the clinical, ethical, legal, and human issues in professional practice. Dr. Hedges knows these woods and, through this book, he has made them much safer. He is uniquely qualified for this task. As a depth-oriented therapist, expert on personality disorders, and longtime consultant to therapists, he appreciates the clinical and human issues as well as the risks. As a forensic expert and educator, he has helped many of us to anticipate and handle the hazards, from the most well meaning to the most malevolent. Dr. Hedges loves these woods and I can think of no more knowledgeable and friendly guide with whom to explore them.
Martha Stark
Dr. Lawrence Hedges' latest book, the only one of its kind, is an outstandingly comprehensive and comprehensible handbook about the art of practicing defensively. Before I was even half way through the book, I was making changes in the way I conduct my practice. Hedges is eminently qualified to take on this task of educating mental health clinicians to the perils of practicing in these litigious times: he is not only a well-seasoned, highly respected senior psychoanalyst and teacher/supervisor but also the 'go-to' person for therapists in trouble with their licensing boards and/or at risk for being sued. Particularly noteworthy is the passion that fills every single page of this spell-binding volume; clearly, Hedges truly cares and is deeply committed to passing on to the reader all the wisdom he has accumulated from his many years in the field. A real page turner, this essential guide is a must-read for all practitioners interested in learning about what they must do in order to minimize their chances of having either a complaint or a lawsuit filed against them. Ultimately, however, because it gives clinicians the tools necessary to avoid what might otherwise turn into a ghastly nightmare, perhaps the worst experience in their professional lives, Hedges' book on practicing defensively empowers and holds out hope for all of us.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765703866
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence E. Hedges, Ph.D., ABPP, is the leader of a thirty-year clinical research project into the origins of human relationships at the Listening Perspectives Study Center in Orange, California. Dr. Hedges travels widely, lecturing and consulting with psychotherapists on their most difficult—to—treat clients. His work on how early childhood trauma impacts the psychotherapeutic relationship has led him to a keen awareness of how the growing consumer complaint and litigational processes that surround the practice of psychotherapy today are threatening to undermine it and to destroy its effectiveness.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Facing the Challenge: Practicing Defensively Chapter 2 Practicing Defensively: Basic Terms and Concepts Chapter 3 Practicing Defensively: Psychotherapy Practice Issues Chapter 4 Practicing Defensively: Complex Treatment Issues Chapter 5 Minding the Mind Business Chapter 6 Therapeutic Hot Spots: Boundaries, Dual Relationships, and Recovered Memories Chapter 7 Linking Infantile Trauma, Terrifying Transferences, and False Accusations Chapter 8 False Accusations and Where They Come From Chapter 9 Defending Against Complaints by State Licensing Boards Chapter 10 Practicing Defensively Chapter 11 The Highest Risk Cases for Clinicians Who Work With Children: High-Conflict Divorce/Custody Cases Chapter 12 Ethical Risks in Child Custody: Where is the Wizard of Oz When You Need Him? Chapter 13 Achieving HIPPA Compliance Chapter 14 Model Forms for Psychotherapy Practice Chapter 15 Informed Consents Chapter 16 Record-Keeping Forms Chapter 17 Supervision and Ongoing Training for Therapists Chapter 18 Disclaimer and List of Attorneys

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