Volume 6, Issue 4 (1977)
Therapists as Protectors and Police Officers: New Roles as a Result of Tarasoff
During the course of voluntary out-patient psychotherapy conducted at a university hospital clinic, a client informed his therapist, a psychologist, that he was going to murder a young woman when she returned from a summer vacation. The woman went unnamed but was readily identifiable by the therapist. When the client concluded his visit, the therapist conferred with two other clinicians, who decided the client should be committed to a mental hospital for observation. The psychologist then telephoned the campus police (followed by a formal letter), requesting their help in confining the young man. Subsequently, three officers took the client into custody, but satisfied that he was rational released him on his promise to stay away from the woman. The client never returned to the clinic. Two months later, he carried out his threat and killed the woman.
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