Sample Forensic Psychotherapist-Patient Contract

Jeffrey N. Younggren, Ph.D.
Eric Harris, J.D. Ed.D
Bruce E. Bennett, Ph.D.

This Draft Forensic Informed Consent contract has been prepared for two reasons. First, it allows the psychologist to comply with the requirement that informed consent must be a part of professional psychological practice (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 1992, Standard 4.02). Second, it allows the psychologist to establish a legally enforceable business relationship with his or her clients and minimize the risks that such business issues may become the bases for malpractice suits and ethics or licensing board complaints. Most risk management commentators advise that full informed consent is both ethically necessary and a good risk management strategy.

This Draft Forensic Informed Consent contract was designed for psychologists engaged in forensic practice. It should be read, reviewed, or otherwise explained to and signed by the individual subject of the evaluation.

There is a great diversity of business practices among psychologists. You should redraft this Draft Forensic Informed Consent contract to fit your business practices rather than adjust your practices to fit the contract. For example, it may not be your usual forensic practice to use audio or video taping as a part of your evaluation and you could choose to leave that section out of the document.

Since regulations and laws vary from state to state, these forms also may need modification before they can be used in your state. For example, some states may grant the person being evaluated access to information regardless of who contracts for it. We strongly advise you to have your personal attorney review this contract prior to implementation. The document should be in compliance with state and local statutes regulating the practice of psychology and should be clear of language that could be interpreted as a guarantee or implied warranty regarding the services rendered.

What follows is specific draft text that you may feel free to adapt for your practice or agency.

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NOTE: This information is provided as a risk management resource and is not legal advice or an individualized personal consultation. At the time this resource was prepared, all information was as current and accurate as possible; however, regulations, laws, or prevailing professional practice standards may have changed since the posting or recording of this resource. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to confirm whether regulatory or legal issues that are relevant to you have since been updated and/or to consult with your professional advisors or legal counsel for timely guidance specific to your situation. As with all professional use of material, please explicitly cite The Trust Companies as the source if you reproduce or distribute any portion of these resources. Reproduction or distribution of this resource without the express written permission of The Trust Companies is strictly prohibited.