On February 20th, 2008, the Court of Appeal of the state of California, Second Appellate District, published an opinion in the nature of the psychotherapist-patient privilege for convicted sex offenders undergoing voluntary psychotherapy.
The question the court faced was this: if a convicted sex offender (SO) is required to undergo psychotherapy as a part of his/her parole, and the SO sees a private psychotherapist in addition to the treatment mandated under the terms of his/her parole, does the State of California have the power to compel the parolee to waive his/her right to confidentiality?
The short answer is “no,” but it is an opinion that should be read by anyone conducting treatment with sex offenders. It is a relatively short opinion and worth the read.
It’s a tough question, and one that weighs the competing interests of (1) protecting the public against (2) the public policy of not interfering with the psychotherapeutic relationship.
The opinion can be downloaded here: In re Corona.
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