This article provides an overview of several risk management practices for psychologists who work with divorced or divorcing families, particularly the children of divorcing families. It is based on the author’s 20-plus years’ experience of providing risk management consultations to those insured through the American Insurance Trust, formerly the American Psychological Association Insurance Trust.

This document provides one model for agreement between the therapist and the parents or guardians of a child undergoing treatment. Such an agreement can help establish ground rules that clarify the psychologist's role in therapy and define the limits of parental involvement.

The reader is strongly advised to have his/her personal attorney review the Sample Outpatient Services Agreement for Collaterals document 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.

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 document and attachments constitute a contract between us (the “AGREEMENT”) and you should read it carefully and raise any questions and concerns that you have before you sign it.

Information about the sample psychotherapist-adult patient contract (with addendum for child/adolescent patient)

In order to maintain clarity regarding our use of electronic modes of communication during your treatment, I have prepared the following policy. This is because the use of various types of electronic communications is common in our society, and many individuals believe this is the preferred method of communication with others, whether their relationships are social or professional.

The EHR templates meet the letter of the law and ethical standards but also the templates have “drop down menus” that are designed to be elegant. Our EHR Task Force identified the key aspects of good psychological EHRs that MDs and other health care professionals would expect for integrated health care records from their psychology partners. Also, the EHR templates focus psychologists on meeting the legal requirements of each State's law-- and limit the unnecessary detail, that psychologists often include in their records.

We are frequently asked questions about the implications of a managed care company requiring or requesting a practitioner to sign a "hold harmless" contract; that is, a contract stating that if the company is sued by a patient for the actions of the provider, then the provider's insurance will indemnify the company.

Encryption is the ‘scrambling’ or camouflaging of information—such as progress notes or names and diagnoses—by changing it into a form that cannot be understood by others. In other words, encryption translates meaningful information into a hidden form or code. Only people who have a key—usually a string of alphanumeric symbols that permit the coded information to be translated back into meaningful form—can read the document (Taube 2013).

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.