Robert E. Burns


In placing a legal duty to warn on the psychotherapist, the California supreme court followed the modern trend in tort law by recognizing the subordination of the patient's interest in the confidentiality of the psychotherapist-patient relationship to both the public interest, and to what the court determines to be the patient's own best interest. Under these confined circumstances the therapist acquires a limited right to disclose pertinent information to any person who may have a legitimate interest in his patient's health.' However, certain restrictive guidelines have been placed on the disclosure of such information. In Berry v. Moench, the Utah supreme court required that: (a) the therapist use good faith and reasonable care to tell the truth; (b) the information be reported fairly; (c) only necessary information be given; and, (d) publication be limited to those persons necessary for protection of the threatened interest.