IPT Book Reviews

Title:

Law and Mental Health Professionals: Wisconsin and Minnesota volumes 

Editors of the Series: Bruce D. Sales and Michael Owen Miller
Authors Wisconsin Vol.: Leonard V. Kaplan and Robert D. Miller
Authors Minnesota Vol.: Eric S. Janus, Ruth Mickelson, and Sheva Sanders
Publisher: American Psychological Association, 1996

American Psychological Association
APA Order Department
P.O. Box 2710
Hyattsville, MD 20784
(202) 336-5500
$59.95 (each volume)

With the rapid fundamental and structural changes taking place both in the health care system and the science of psychology, any psychologist can benefit materially from knowing and understanding the laws relevant to whatever the psychologist is doing.  This series of volumes is intended to provide a single book for each state, federal jurisdictions, and the District of Columbia that brings together all the applicable and relevant laws and legal reasoning for the jurisdiction.  So far, volumes covering the laws of Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are available from the APA.

Most psychologists know next to nothing about the relevant laws controlling psychologists and the practice of psychology.  Part of the cause of the ignorance is the difficulty nonlawyers, as well as many lawyers, have in tracking down the laws in any specific area through the maze of statutory codifications, definitions, and precedents in applicable case law.  Another obstacle to understanding what the laws require of psychologists is the difference between legal language and ordinary discourse.  The veil of jargon, however, should not be unfamiliar to psychologists.  It is just that the law is a different jargon.  To have what is needed to understand the laws of a given jurisdiction in one volume is a great service done by the APA for psychologists.  These volumes do the job well.  They are indispensable for all psychologists who want to remain within the law, conduct a good practice, and avoid litigation of any sort.

The series has a single format with each book organized into eight sections.  The first deals with the credentialing and/or licensing and regulation of psychologists.  Next comes the law dealing with the business or commercial aspects of psychology.  Section 3 provides the law relevant to confidentiality, privilege, malpractice issues, and liability.  The remaining sections include adults, minors, and families, civil and criminal matters, and voluntary or involuntary services from the state.  Of course, the content of each volume is unique to the jurisdiction covered, but this outline is followed in all the volumes.  It is a clean, simplified, and conceptually inclusive approach that is easily referenced for specific topics and questions.  The Minnesota volume is 442 pages long and the Wisconsin volume is 383.

All mental health professionals should have the volume for the state or jurisdiction in which they work.  It may serve to avoid considerable grief and expense and even the loss of a profession.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies, Northfield, Minnesota 55057.

Order this book: Hardcover (WI)
Order this book: Hardcover (MN)

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