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Unread July 5th, 2004, 06:17 PM
William Reid William Reid is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 105
Post Welcome (back) to the Law & Ethics Forum

Welcome to this discussion about Legal and Ethical Issues in mental health. This Forum started in 1998 with the following message from John Grohol, Psy.D. (now edited for 2004). We were offline for a couple of weeks while BOL installed some fantastic new software (it just doesn't get much better than this), but now we're up, running, and ready for your comments.

"I am happy to initiate this discussion with Bill Reid. William H. Reid, M.D., M.P.H., is a forensic psychiatrist, professor, and past-president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. He has authored or edited 15 textbooks, including Legal Issues in Psychotherapy, Handbook of Mental Health Administration and Management (with Stuart Silver), Treating Adult and Juvenile Offenders With Special Needs (with Jose Ashford and Bruce Sales), and books on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Dr. Reid often works with attorneys, courts, governments, licensing and regulatory agencies, and health care organizations on various facets of mental health and the law, including standards of clinical care, professional standards, ethics, and civil and criminal litigation. For additional infomation visit his Psychiatry and Law Updates website at

John Grohol"

All About This Forum

This forum is intended for discussing interesting -- and sometimes thorny -- topics at the interfaces of clinical practice, law, and professional ethics. It's YOUR forum, and you'll determine the specific topics. However, BOL and I have a few "rules of the road." Sorry if some of them sound like censorship, but the past six years' experience makes a few guidelines necessary. Someone has to be the arbiter of those guidelines and, right or wrong, it's generally me. Very occasionally, I must delete posts to protect the integrity of the forum. This isn't done lightly, and posters are welcome to ask for an explanation.

1. This is not the place to get detailed legal or clinical advice. Here's the disclaimer: This forum is intended for discussion purposes only. I am not an attorney. Although case examples may be presented, neither my comments nor any other part of this forum should be construed as clinical or legal advice. Participants are asked not to post information which might identify patients/clients or others, nor to imply that their comments constitute clinical or legal advice.

2. This forum is designed for professional interaction. Anyone may register and lurk, but the discussion is designed for clinicians, trainees, and students in the mental health professions. It is not a place for patients/clients seeking advice about their own clinical issues, therapy or therapists. In the same vein, we ask that participants be cautious about posts that might imply that they are "practicing" on the forum. People searching for a clinically supportive forum for patients/clients or family members should consider Dr. John Grohol's website at

3. We do not "flame" here. I know it's fun, lets off steam, and probably prevents strokes and high blood pressure; but please don't do it here. This is a place of professional collegiality, where one's comments may certainly be vigorously challenged and defended but personal (ad hominem) insults are frowned upon. Similarly, profanity is discouraged (especially those seven deadly words someone thought up for the radio censors). When discussing sensational or potentially titillating topics, please keep your wording professional.

4. Advertisements, spam, and the like will not be tolerated. Self-aggrandizing lilnks that come close to advertising will probably not be tolerated. If you wish to post a link that has relevance to your point, do so. I will check it. If it advertises your latest nutritional supplement or espouses something that seems distasteful, vitriolic, or non-verifiable (like a conspiracy theory), I'll almost certainly delete it. If you are running for office and that fact is not relevant to the forum, email BOL; who knows, maybe Gil will sell you a banner ad. But please don't post your manifesto.

5. Please try to stay within the general forum topic of the interfaces of mental health and law and ethics. Posts that appear merely to be pastes to multiple forums will probably be deleted. BOL has a host of forums (fora?) on other topics, most hosted by far better, more tolerant moderators. Use them.

When this forum started six years ago (has it really been that long?), as a primarily law-and-professionals discussion, we posted the topics most commonly mentioned by therapists in a national survey done for one of my books. At that time, they were

confidentiality (especially in managed care)
managed care in general (including others' control over one's
clinical practice)
forensic topics
dual relationships
standards of care & professional competence
sexual abuse
sex with patients (including reporting it)
boundary issues other than sex
unethical or incompetent colleagues
"litigious" patients

Hundreds of posts later, scores of other topics have been raised, such as co-therapy/co-treatment, working with attorneys and courts, clinical risk management, impaired colleagues, conflicts between clinical employment and patient/client responsibilities, training issues . . . the list goes on. Pick one of the above or one of your own, and please join in.

Bill Reid

Last edited by William Reid; July 14th, 2004 at 08:45 AM.
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