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by Samuel Knapp & Leon VandeCreek
by Samuel Knapp & Leon VandeCreek

Tarasoff and Beyond: Legal and Clinical Considerations in the Treatment of Life-Endangering Patients (Third Edition)

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• 2001  74pp paperback   ISBN: 9781568870700
• A Practitioner's Resource Series Title

In 1969, a Berkeley graduate student told his psychiatrist that he planned to kill the object of his unrequited love upon her return to the country.  Later, following a botched attempt at his involuntary commitment, he did so.  The victim's parents filed a civil suit for her wrongful death, and the court assessed liability for the "failure to warn," extending the "special relationship" that had governed inpatients and their custodians to outpatients as well.
Beginning with a recap of this precedent-setting case, the book (a revision of the 1989 publication) presents recent court decisions, research findings, and clinical issues in the wake of Tarasoff.  Although focusing primarily on the treatment of homicidal patients, also covered are key issues associated with suicidal and child-abusing parents, AIDS patients, incompetent drivers, patient disclosures of past crimes, and therapist liability for wrongful civil commitments.

"This revised and updated third edition continues to provide an excellent education for all mental health professionals faced with life-endangering clients.  It not only provides the legal, ethical, and theoretical background on this topic but, most importantly, presents sound and practical recommendations for therapeutic intervention and risk management."
     -Donald N. Bersoff
, PhD, JD
, Director, Law & Psychology Program, Villanova Law School & MCP Hahnemann University

"This new revision of an invaluable classic is a welcome addition to any clinician's library.  VandeCreek and Knapp provide thoughtful and informed guidance in an extremely complex area of practice where mistakes can have tragic consequences."
     -Ken Pope, PhD, ABPP, Author, Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling, 2nd Edition

"Every psychotherapist, professor and student of mental health practice should be familiar with this contribution in order to fully understand the moral principles which underlie ethical and legal obligations related to dangerous clients or patients.  The authors identify and analyze ethical as well as legal and clinical obligations to inform complex decision making in a variety of dangerous situations and contexts.  Historical overviews of landmark judicial and legislative decisions are provided. This contribution is an absolute requirement for every professional who must deal with dangerous patients or situations."
     -Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD, ABPP, Independent Practice, Austin TX; President, American Psychological Association

Table of Contents

   Ethical Issues in the Duty to Warn or Protect
   The Purpose of This Book

The Duty to Warn or Protect With Dangerous Patients

   The Facts of the Tarasoff Case
   The Tarasoff Decision
   Dissenting Opinions
   Legal Background on the Duty to Warn or Protect
   Living With Tarasoff
   Subsequent Cases Address Unanswered Questions
      Identifying Reasonably Foreseeable Victims
Determining Imminent Dangerousness

   Attempts to Expand Tarasoff
   Special Issues With Hospitalized Patients
   Immunity Provisions
   Clinical Recommendations When Patients Threaten Others
      Assessment of Dangerousness
      Formulating the Treatment Plan
Implementing the Treatment Plan

Patient Suicides

   Inpatient Suicides
   Clinical Recommendations
      Assessing Risk of Self-Harm
      Development of the Treatment Plan
Implementing the Treatment Plan

Duty to Warn or Protect With HIV-Positive Patients

   Clinical Recommendations

Mandatory Reporting Laws

   Child Abuse
      Definition of Child Abuse
      Conditions That Activate Mandated Reporting
Definition of Perpetrators

   Clinical Recommendations
   Abuse of Older Adults
   Impaired Drivers

Risk Management Issues With Dangerous Patients

   Avoiding Abandonment
   Consulting or Referring
   Coordinating Treatment With Physicians
   Keeping Good Records
   Responding to a Suit


   Patients Who Threaten Psychotherapists

   Emotional Self-Care

CE Program
A supplemental 3-credit, 30 question continuing education program is available for this book.  To order the complete program (this book and CE test module, or test module alone if you already have access to this book), click here: Tarasoff and Beyond: Legal and Clinical Considerations in the Treatment of Life-Endangering Patients (Third Edition) - CE Program (3 Credits)

For information about our approved continuing education sponsorships
and acceptance by state, please click here:
Continuing Education

About the Authors
Samuel Knapp, EdD, is a licensed psychologist who is currently the Deputy Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Psychological Association.  His interests include ethical and legal issues related to psychological practice.  Dr. Knapp has made numerous professional presentations and written over 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and several books with Dr. VandeCreek including Treating Patients With Memories of Abuse and Tarasoff and Beyond.

Leon VandeCreek
, PhD, ABPP,
is Past Dean and Professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University.  He has been awarded the Diplomate in Clinical Psychology and he is a Fellow of several APA divisions.  His interests include professional training and ethical/legal issues related to professional education and practice.  He has authored and coauthored more than 180 professional presentations and publications including 22 books and book chapters for which he was coauthor or editor.

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