Articles by Legal Department Staff

The Legal Department articles are not intended to serve as legal advice and are offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in the article.

Articles by Zachery Pelchet, JD, former Staff Attorney

Psychotherapist Patient Privilege Your Special Relationship in the Law

Posted on 9/4/2012
California law recognizes 13 privileges. Seven of those privileges arise from special relationships: lawyer-client, husband-wife, physician-patient, psychotherapist-patient, clergyman-penitent, sexual assault victim-counselor, and domestic violence v

Consider Yourself Served!

Posted on 9/1/2012
Brenda is updating a client file when a man she does not recognize enters her office. She starts to ask who he is when he puts an envelope in her hand and says she can ???consider herself served.??? Brenda looks down and realizes she has been handed

Dual Relationships Your Legal and Ethical Guide

Posted on 8/29/2012
Are dual relationships legally prohibited? Are they ethically prohibited? How is a dual relationship defined? Is every dual relationship a cause for concern? Do dual relationships apply solely to patients, or to students and supervisees as well? What

HMO Watchdogs You and the Department of Managed Health Care

Posted on 5/11/2009
Helping clients deal with the inequities and administrative burdens of managed care can be very frustrating. In addition to being a burden on a client???s sense of well-being and self worth, it can also make the clinician feel like he or she is battl

Absolute Immunity for Child Custody Evaluators

Posted on 5/1/2002
Child custody evaluators cannot be successfully sued for simply doing their jobs. Evaluators are protected by two important legal concepts; the common law doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity (evaluator performing a judicial function) and the statutor

Minor's Privilege Florida Follows California

Posted on 1/1/2002
Florida has followed California's lead in protecting minor's psychotherapist-patient privilege. In California, the minor - not the parent - is the holder of the psychotherapist-patient privilege. However, because minors cannot make legal decisions, t

Managed Care Considerations

Posted on 1/1/2002
Three important considerations in dealing with managed care are evaluating the panels, negotiating with the managed care organization (MCO), and knowing your rights as a provider. There is no reason for you to be on any panel if it is not economicall

Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege Patient's Condition at Issue in Trial

Posted on 11/1/2001
The relationship you have with your patients is a special one in the eyes of the law. As a psychotherapist, you must assert psychotherapist-patient privilege on behalf of your patient when you receive a subpoena. After you have asserted privilege, th

Corporal Punishment Mandated Report or Not?

Posted on 9/1/2001
Mandated reporting is a very important duty imposed by the state upon therapists and other mandated reporters. Mandated reporting, while a powerful tool for social justice and the protection of children, is a double-edged sword. Just as underreportin

Legal Issues in Treating Suicidal Patients

Posted on 7/1/2001
Treating a suicidal patient can be incredibly challenging and frustrating for a therapist. Many clinical, legal, and ethical issues must be addressed and resolved to ensure the physical safety of the patient and the professional safety of the clinici

Testimony at Deposition as a Witness

Posted on 7/1/2001
I'm sorry, I have to assert the psychotherapist-patient privilege." That will be the extent of your testimony at a deposition unless you have a written waiver of the psychotherapist-patient privilege from your patient or have a court order compelling

The Standard of Care Definitions and Examples

Posted on 5/1/2001
Any discussion of the standard of care is fraught with the danger of controversy and some ambiguity. The standard of care is not a statute or regulation that can be pointed to and expounded upon. The standard of care is a concept that is argued in co

LMFTs Do Not Report Domestic Violence

Posted on 1/1/2001
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are not mandated reporters of domestic violence. If an LMFT reports domestic violence, it is a breach of confidentiality, regardless of the work setting or employer. As reported in the November/December 1994 is

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act for 2001

Posted on 1/1/2001
The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) has had much attention lavished upon it during this year's and this past year's legislative session. To see where the State is going, we will take a look at where CANRA has come from and the changes t