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 Legal procedure designed to protect individuals from doing harm to themselves or to others through involuntary institutionalization or other forms of mental health treatment.

Competency to stand trial 
A prediction by a mental health expert of the defendant’s cognitive and emotional stability during the period of the trial.

The principle that disclosures in therapy must safeguarded by the therapist as private.

Duty to warn
The clinician’s responsibility to notify a potential victim of a client’s harmful intent toward that individual.
Guardian ad litem 
A person appointed by the court to represent or make decisions for a person (e.g., a minor or an incapacitated adult) who is legally incapable of doing so in a civil legal proceeding.
Health insurance  
1996 (HIPAA)
U.S. legislation intended to ensure adequate coverage and protect consumers from loss of insurance coverage when they change or lose their jobs.
Informed consent 
The process, often in the form of a written statement, in which a client participates in setting treatment goals, understands and agrees to the treatment plan, and knows the credentials of the clinician.
Insanity defense

The argument, presented by a lawyer acting on behalf of the client, that, because of the existence of a mental disorder, the client should not be held legally responsible for criminal actions.

Least restrictive    
A treatment setting that provides the fewest constraints on the client’s freedom.
Mandated reporting
 The legal requirement that professionals notify appropriate authorities about cases in which children and certain other groups of vulnerable individuals are being abused.
Parens patriae
The state’s authority to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

Information provided by a client to a clinician that cannot be disclosed in a court of law without the client’s expressed permission.

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