Description: This reference on legal aspects of clinical practice for mental health professionals includes sample forms and letters for use with clients.
Purpose: It is intended to provide easily accessible legal information for mental health professionals. This is a worthy goal, and this book should be useful for busy clinicians who may refer to it regarding a variety of issues that regularly arise in mental health practices.
Audience: The authors have targeted all mental health professionals. However, psychiatrists will find this book somewhat lacking since it does not address issues related to medical diagnosis and treatment. The credibility of the authors is high; both are attorneys, and one is also a clinical social worker.
Features: This book addresses the fundamentals of clinical practice (e.g., confidentiality, fee arrangements, termination of treatment) and also includes legal aspects of business practice such as incorporation and managed care. Brief clinical vignettes are used to introduce important legal issues, and significant points are bulleted for quick reference. Sample forms are a particularly useful feature. The failure to include the aspects of practice unique to psychiatrists, especially related to somatic treatments, is a particular shortcoming of this book. Also, the lengthy sample incorporation documents are of little utility to the reader.
Assessment: This book is a unique and valuable addition to the paucity of literature addressing the legal aspects of conducting a mental health practice. The quality of the legal information is excellent without being overly detailed or obscure. While the book has obvious usefulness for students and beginning practitioners, its format and organization make it a resource also for busy clinicians who have specific questions or are in need of an update on legal aspects of practice management.