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, Division of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association, 2001-2002