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Subpoenas & How to Handle Them

1 CE Credit Hour - Online Course - $19.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Course fulfills, fully or in part, the Ethics & Law requirements for psychologists in CA and for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and addiction counselors in other states. Verify requirements with your state board.

This course is also offered as part of an Advanced Ethics Certificate Program of 70 CE Credit Hours.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles

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General Course Description

Sooner or later in their careers, most psychotherapists and counselors are likely to receive a subpoena demanding that they send the records of a client to an attorney or the court. When receiving the subpoena, therapists often react with dread and respond with a fight or flight response. SubpoenasThis means they either ignore the subpoena or immediately send the requested records. Either response may be illegal, unethical, counter clinical and ill advised.

This intermediate level course explains what subpoenas are, who may initiate them and, most importantly, how to respond to them. It will give therapists guidelines on how to respond to subpoenas.

This one CE credit course includes one article that covers the following areas: What is a subpoena? Who may initiate subpoenas? The importance of clients' authorizations to release information; Therapists' option of filing a motion to quash a subpoena; HIPAA and subpoenas and the confusion regarding the disclosure of Psychotherapy Notes; The highly volatile issue of subpoena of test records, test data, protocols and test kits; The USA Patriot Act and subpoenas; Jaffee v Redmond and concerns with confidentiality and disclosures; Codes of Ethics on confidentiality and disclosures; States' laws on subpoenas; and finally Guidelines: How to Respond to a Subpoena. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Differentiate between types of subpoenas.

2.    Identify the legal and illegal issues that are involved in responding to subpoenas.

3.    Summarize how the Patriot Act may affect disclosure of information.

4.    Summarize how HIPAA law affects disclosure in general and the disclosure of Psychotherapy Notes in particular.

Course Syllabus

  • The Dreaded Subpoena
  • What is a Subpoena?
  • Who May Initiate Subpoenas?
  • Clients' Authorizations to Release Information
  • Motion to Quash a Subpoena
  • HIPAA and Subpoenas and Psychotherapy Notes
  • Subpoena of Test Records
  • The USA Patriot Act
  • Jaffee v Redmond
  • Codes of Ethics
  • State Law
  • Online and other resources
  • Guidelines: How to Respond to a Subpoena
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