The shortest answer that can be given is it depends. Most therapists are hesitant when it comes to being involved with attorneys or court. I don't love it…I don't even like court much (hence the desired profession of being a therapist, not an attorney) but it is also understood that in this profession, there are times where it is necessary to be involved with court given certain situations. Court is a nerve wracking thing, even as a professional. There are a bunch of different scenarios that would create a desire for client to have a therapist to go to court on their behalf. Here are some things to consider if looking to have a therapist attend court.
Court Is Expensive
If a therapist is willing to be involved in court proceedings, typically fees come with that. I charge a lot to actually appear in court. There are also fees for letters to be written, consultations with attorneys, court preparation and depositions, etc. It is a good idea to know exactly what it will look like on the financial end of things before moving in that direction.
Licenses are Umbrellas, Not Blankets
There are some things that can be addressed under the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) umbrella but the LCSW licensure is not a blanket, covering everything that could be addressed in court proceedings. There are certain things an LCSW or therapist can and cannot weigh in on or determine, particularly regarding a person's civil and legal rights as an individual and/or a parent.
Double Dipping is Not Allowed. Ever.
If your therapist was hired as a therapist that is the only role they can play in any court involvement. They cannot be a parent coordinator or consultant for the case. If you'd like the LCSW or other licensed professional to be a parent coordinator, they cannot be a therapist in the case. The role you hire the individual for is the only role they can have or they run the risk of a dual relationship which then puts them at risk of unprofessional conduct occurring.
The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth
When a therapist becomes involved with the court, they have to give an objective and impartial opinion. This often involves both parties (husband and wife, mom and dad) regardless of who the therapist is attending court for. This can get tricky, particularly in parenting situations.
Although court is not off limits for therapists, many enter such matters cautiously. If you're hoping to utilized the licensed professional in court proceedings or are anticipating court may occur throughout your professional relationship, let the individual know up front. This allows them to determine if they are willing or able to assist you in the manner you hope for.
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