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Legal & Regulatory

Issues relating to the laws and regulations that govern the professional practice of counseling.
Issues relating to the laws and regulations that govern the professional practice of counseling.
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Questions and Answers

Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I'm sorry to hear about that situation. If the woman was your therapist (or had been at one time), this could represent a significant ethical violation when she created a dual relationship with you.Even if you were not her client, this might still be an ethical violation. Counselors are held to a... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

This is tricky because there are different types of emotional support dogs. The ones that are officially trained actually go through months of training and then are paired with someone for whom they perform specific tasks.You may benefit from looking at the blog written by Valerie Parrott, who has... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I see a few issues here:First, the age of the child is important. If the child is considered an "adult" by state law with regard to counseling (states differ on this - the range is typically between age 13 and age 18), no one is allowed to be in the session without the child's consent.Second... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Mental health providers should promptly return calls from current clients as well as from potential clients. This is even true if the social worker (or counselor) is unable to make an appointment with the caller. In that case the social worker should call you back to let you know that he is unable... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Yes, your former social worker should return your phone call.It is the professional ethic to do so and plain human decency to do so.If he doesn't, there is nothing you can directly do about the fact of his ignoring you.There are formal complaints you can make, which you can consider doing.What... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. This sounds like a really difficult situation for the whole family. Since the answer to this question will depend a lot on the applicable state laws, I would suggest talking with a local attorney. That being said, I see two competing issues here. On the one... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

It sounds like it may have been a violation of confidentiality for your therapist to disclose information about you without your permission. There are some exceptions to the general rule of confidentiality however. For example, when a therapist has a reasonable concern that a client (or someone... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Generally, the laws regarding confidentiality would require a past therapist to obtain your permission before disclosing any information about you to your current therapist.Depending on state law, there could be some exceptions to this general rule. For example, most states would allow your former... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

This sounds like a really tough situation. As a teenager, you may be able to get counseling on your own (without needing your parents' consent) under some circumstances. If your parents are refusing to consider counseling, you might want to try talking to your doctor or another trusted adult about... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

It can be difficult to get counseling if you don't feel supported by family members. There might be a few options. If you are in school, I'd recommend talking to a school counselor or school nurse. They often will be able to help you access free or affordable counseling resources in your... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.