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Using the Law

Practical Decision Making in Mental Health

Andrew B. Israel

Publication Date - 01 July 2011

ISBN: 9780190616168

340 pages
6 x 8.9 inches

In Stock


Every day mental health professionals are faced with making practice decisions involving cultural, ethical, moral, regional, personal, and legal considerations. Using the Law: Practical Decision Making in Mental Health shows readers how to resolve practice problems efficiently through a structured application of legal principles. Writing for the various disciplines that face such complex decisions, Israel pulls from the codes of ethics of the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Board of Certified Counselors. Using the Law presents a unique unified perspective that stresses the integration of the fundamental legal, ethical, cultural, and pragmatic factors influencing practice.

Written in a clear and direct style, this book is ideal for both instructors of law and ethics classes in social work, psychology, counseling, and other mental health academic programs as well as private practitioners, agency personnel, and administrators in mental health professions.


  • Framework to streamline professional decision making across disciplines
  • Simplifies understanding of legal concepts
  • Examples of decision making in cases involving diversity issues and cross-cultural practice across a variety of populations in the United States

About the Author(s)

Andrew B. Israel (JD, Syracuse University College of Law; MSW, New Mexico Highlands University) is associate professor at New Mexico Highlands University School of Social Work and served as associate dean from 2005-2010. Prior to his teaching career, he practiced law in New Mexico mainly in the areas of civil rights, child welfare, and domestic relations, and is a past director of the State Bar of New Mexico Section on Public Law. He is both a licensed attorney and social worker and is active as a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in the areas of forensic mental health issues and law-based decision making in the mental health professions. Israel maintains a website dedicated to the interrelationship of ethics and law in practice aT http://www.mentalhealthlaw.us/.

Table of Contents

    About the Author
    1. Introduction to Law-Based Decision Making in the Mental Health Professions
    2. Constructing a Law-Based Framework for Professional Decision Making
    3. The Duty to Practice Reasonably Competently
    4. The Duty to Seek Informed Consent
    5. The Duty to Identify the Primary Client
    6. The Duty to Treat Clients and Co-workers With Due Process and Equal Protection
    7. The Duty to Maintain Confidentiality
    8. Incorporating Law, Ethics, Context, and Pragmatism in Decision Making
    Appendix: Decision Making Framework