Facing the Challenge of Liability in Psychotherapy
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Facing the Challenge of Liability in Psychotherapy : Practicing Defensively

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Dr. Lawrence E. Hedges updates his ground breaking first edition with special articles on the pressing issues of working with minors and child custody evaluations, and provides critical information regarding compliance with new HIPPA regulations. In this book he urges clinicians to practice defensively and provides a course of action that equips them to do so. After working with over a hundred psycho-therapists and attorneys who have fought unwarranted legal and ethical complaints from clients, he has made the fruits of his work available to all therapists. This book is a wake-up call, a practical, clinically sound response to a frightening reality, and an absolute necessity for all therapists in practice today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 154.9 x 226.1 x 20.3mm | 476.28g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • Second Edition
  • 0765703866
  • 9780765703866
  • 2,210,907

Review quote

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. -- Bryant L. Welch, J.D., Ph.D., Potomac, Maryland, From the Foreword 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. -- O. Brandt Caudill, Jr., Esq.,, partner, Callahan, McCune & Willis, LLP 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. -- Stephen M. Johnson, Ph.D, author, Character Styles and Humanizing the Narcissistic Style ...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 alltherapists 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 PsycCRITIQUES 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 topassing 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 ofhaving 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' -- Martha Stark, M.D.,, Harvard Medical School ...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 PsycCRITIQUES 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. -- Martha Stark, M.D.,, Harvard Medical School
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About Lawrence E. Hedges

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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