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Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners

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Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners

SKU# 9780826195654

Quality Care and Risk Management Strategies

Author: Robert Woody PhD, JD


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It is difficult to find books that provide such a wealth of information on legal issues for practicing clinicians. This is a solidly written, invaluable resource that all practicing mental health professionals must read." Score: 97, 5 Stars.--Doody's Medical Reviews

Legal Self-Defense for Mental Health Practitioners is interesting, informative, and committed to professional, ethical quality care of service recipients....Woody offers many useful risk management strategies for mental health professionals....[and his] discussions are provocative and are supported by current, well-established references."--PsycCRITIQUES

I give high marks to Legal Self-Defense for Mental Health Practitioners because it presents a real-world perspective and no-nonsense analysis....As impressive, is that this valuable information is packed into a mere 153 pages, making the book an economical investment of time for the knowledge that is gained."--New England Psychologist

At some point in their careers, mental health professionals may face legal action from clients. Clients may be noncompliant regarding policies agreed upon at the outset of therapeutic services, not adhere to an individualized treatment plan, be inappropriately aggressive, and file unjustified ethics and licensing complaints and/or lawsuits. Unfortunately, many mental health practitioners are not prepared for such actions and suffer great distress that affects their professional and personal lives. This practical text, written by an author who is both a psychologist and an attorney, demonstrates how mental health professionals can avoid legally actionable mistakes in their practices and what to do if they occur.

Reflecting contemporary social policy and laws regarding mental health services, the text emphasizes the protection of rights for both practitioner and client, and addresses such pitfalls as malpractice, licensing hearings, noncompliant clients, and dealing with the legal system. It distills the author's wisdom, gained over more than 30 years of legal counsel to all types of mental health practitioners, and describes how to improve practice strategies for achieving quality care, confront ethics and licensing complaints, and defend against potential or actual lawsuits. Additionally, the book covers individualized treatment planning, effective record keeping, how to deal with dangerous clients, how to insulate yourself from risk, and more. Numerous real life examples further help practitioners foster the knowledge and skills to assertively defend their rights should the need arise.

Key Features:

  • Illustrates how to avoid legally actionable mistakes in assessment and treatment
  • Covers such issues as effective record keeping, treatment planning, dealing with dangerous or non-compliant clients, protecting your practice, and more
  • Helps mental health professionals foster a "warrior" mentality when faced with unjust allegations of wrongdoing
  • Presents numerous real-life cases

Product Details 

  • Publication Date June 20, 2012
  • Page Count 184
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826195654
  • EISBN 9780826195661

Table of Contents 


Chapter One -- Mental Health Practitioners Under Siege

Chapter Two -- Social Psychology of Practitioner Vulnerability: Avoiding Psychological Errors

Chapter Three -- Knowing the Opposition

Chapter Four -- A Protective Shield for Professional Services

Chapter Five – The Practice Context

Chapter Six -- Business Savvy: Structuring and Operating a Mental Health Business

Chapter Seven – Dealing with Attorneys and the Legal System

Chapter Eight -- Threatening and Dangerous Service Users

Chapter Nine -- Appropriate Defensiveness

Chapter Ten – Avoiding Ethical and Licensing Complaints and Legal Challenges



About the Author