The Mental Health Professional and the New Technologies: A Handbook for Practice Today

By Marlene M. Maheu; Myron L. Puller et al. | Go to book overview

Epilogue: Immediate Steps—A Checklist
This epilogue is devoted to practical matters. After focusing on essential issues, the epilogue provides action checklists and suggestions to help professionals implement immediate change. However slight such changes might be, they can have far-reaching implications for recipients of mental health services.
SUMMARY OF RISK MANAGEMENT ISSUES
As discussed throughout much of the text, mental health professionals, particularly those in private practice need to minimize their legal risks in a number of areas. Private practitioners work in a highly litigious environment, with very few protections from action taken by third party carriers on one side and patients on the other side. Gone are the days when risk management can be left to paying for professional association membership and malpractice insurance. When using any of the psychotechnologies the essential ingredients of risk management include:
Professional training.
Supervision.
Referral processes and authenticating client identity.
Anticipating threat assessment and duty-to-warn situations.
Client education, including reasonable risks involved with psychotechnologies.
Patients matched with the appropriate psychotechnology.
Security: safeguarding privacy and confidentiality.
Informed-consent agreement, including duty-to-warn obligations that address potential technical problems and traditional topics covered by these agreements.
Legal issues: old and new.
Licensure.
Ethical breaches.
Emergency backup.
Awareness of local conditions when communicating from a distance.
Cultural and linguistic competence.
The protection of children.
Professional standards and guidelines (including, where appropriate, meeting proposed standards where none have been adopted).

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