AP Psychology: Tarasoff's Case

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Leah Wilck Ms. DiFiore AP Psychology 24 Sept 2015 Period 2 Tatiana Tarasoff Ruling Tatiana Tarasoff was a student at University of California, Berkeley in the late 1960s. She was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, Prosenjit Poddar, who had begun to take their relationship too seriously. Afterwards, Poddar began to stalk Tarasoff, causing him to begin seeing a therapist on campus. During one of his sessions, his therapist, Dr. Lawrence Moore, became concerned after Poddar informed Moore of his intention of killing Tarasoff. Moore told Poddar that if his death threats towards Tarasoff continued, he would be forced to get Poddar hospitalized. By disclosing this information to Poddar, Poddar stopped his treatment. Moore then told campus…show more content…
Making sure a person is safe should be everyone 's number one priority. Even though people go to therapists because they want someone to talk to who won 't judge them or divulge their secrets, divulging information about harming another person does not fall under that category. I agree that it can be very difficult for a therapist to decide when a patient actually intends on following through with the death threats or if the patient is just trying to vent. However, if he or she is a good therapist, then he or she should know their patient well enough to decide whether they are being serious. Not only that, but when a patient begins therapy, their therapist is required to tell them all the things that if they say, the therapist is required by law to tell the police. Therefore, because the therapist is outwardly saying, “If you tell me you have a plan to cause harm to another human being I have to tell the police,” in my opinion, it is no longer considered a breach of confidentiality. The patient knows about their therapists obligation ahead of time. The therapist is giving the patient all of the information, and the patient can decide what to do with it. By having these laws in place, everyone is protected. They are preventing the therapist from getting malpractice suits filed against them if their patient does harm someone. They are protecting third parties, because by being informed, they can take precautions in protecting themselves instead of being blindsided like Tatiana Tarasoff was. The laws also protect the patient because they know ahead of time what they should and shouldn 't say in therapy in order to not have their confidentiality breached. Therefore, I definitely believe that the Tarasoff Laws do not breach the confidentiality of a

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