While there is a substantial law regulating mental health professionals' services, MHPs do not know about or fully understand much of the law that affects the operation of mental health practices and the provision of services to mental health clients. A basic understanding of the relevant law helps MHPs to be more responsive, sensitive, and realistic in providing therapy to clients who have potential legal issues, informs MHPs about new practice opportunities, and protects MHPs from professional liability.

Laws Affecting Clinical Practice is a comprehensive, concise, readily understandable resource outlining the legal obligations and responsibilities of mental health professionals. Identifying legal topics affecting mental health practices and services, Sales, Miller, and Hall address a wide range of legal topics, including licensing; privacy of professional information; practice laws related to families, juveniles, civil matters, and criminal matters; and limitations on and liability for practice. The laws surveyed are expressed with minimal legal jargon, making this volume maximally accessible to those outside of the legal profession.

Laws Affecting Clinical Practice is an essential introduction to clinically relevant laws for MHPs and graduate students training to become MHPs, and will help readers to become more intelligent consumers of legal services.

Table of Contents


Introduction: How To Use This Book

I. Business Matters Affecting Practice


  1. Legal Credentialing and Privileges to Practice
  2. Initiating Services
  3. Maintaining and Disclosing Information
  4. Liabilities for Professional Activities

II. Mental Health Services Related to Individuals, Families, the Sate, and the Workplace


  1. Competency Determinations
  2. Child Care and Protection
  3. Education of Children
  4. Marriage Dissolution and Child Custody
  5. Juvenile Offenders Before the Court
  6. State Interventions and Services for Individuals With Special Needs
  7. Law Enforcement
  8. Pretrial Matters in Criminal and Civil Litigation
  9. Trial Matters in Criminal and Civil Litigation
  10. Posttrial Criminal Matters
  11. Workplace-Related Services

Conclusion: Taking Next Step

Recommended Readings


About the Authors