Avoiding Liability Bulletin – September 2006

… Practitioners must pay attention to advertising issues because when they advertise they put themselves in the spotlight, not only with prospective patients, but also with regulatory boards, colleagues, and others. Some therapists and counselors proudly advertise their credentials, their experience, and their “expertise.” When one does this, it is critical to make sure that everything advertised is accurate and not overstated. Further, it is important to realize that if you hold yourself out as an expert, you will likely be held to a higher standard of care than the average therapist or counselor. Thus, if there is litigation concerning the quality of your services, rather than being judged by the standard of the reasonably prudent practitioner under like circumstances, you may be held to the higher standard of the reasonably prudent expert practitioner under like circumstances.

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Richard Leslie

Richard S. Leslie is an attorney and acknowledged expert on the interrelationship between law and the practice of marriage and family therapy and psychotherapy. Most recently, he was a consultant to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and has written articles regarding legal and ethical issues for their Family Therapy Magazine. Prior to his work with AAMFT, Richard was Legal Counsel to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for approximately twenty-two years. While there, he also served as their director of Government Relations and tirelessly advocated for due process and fairness for licensees and applicants.

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