This course offers an overview of the legal and ethical issues pertaining to a therapist’s duty to warn and protect in cases where a patient may commit violence. It begins with a discussion ofthe 1968 case of Tatiana Tarasoff, which established legal precedent for a duty to warn. Then, using illustrative examples and interview material, it surveys how different states implement the duty to warn and protect, provides a framework for determining when and how to intervene with a potentially violent patient, and offers ethical guidance for balancing confidentiality with the safety of patients’ potential victims.
There was no commercial support used in the development of this educational activity.
Content last reviewed: March 9, 2022