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Dangerousness, confidentiality, and the duty to warn
Am J Psychiatry 1977;134:508-511.
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Abstract

The Tarasoff decision, by imposing on psychiatrists an obligation to warn the intended victim of threats made by a patient, but only under certain vaguely specified circumstances, may stampede psychiatrists into issuing such warnings to avoid possible legal liability no matter how remote the risk of harm may actually be. The authors suggest that the ill effects of such a reaction by psychiatrists--breach of confidentiality and the attendant erosion of trust and harm to the therapeutic alliance--can often be easily avoided by taking less drastic steps, some of which are illustrated by case presentations.

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