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Other States Legal Information

Examples of Therapist-Patient Privilege Statutes Modeled After Attorney-Client Privilege

At least thirteen (13) states have Psychologist-Client Privileged Communications Statutes that are explicitly modeled on Attorney-Client Privilege: Alabama,  Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington .

See excerpts from those statutes, below, with the relevant phrase emphasized in bold italics. Statute numbers link to the complete text of the statute.

( Note: In most states, child abuse cases constitute an exception to therapist-patient privilege,
unlike attorney-client privilege.)

Alabama
34-26-2 : Confidential relations between licensed psychologists, licensed psychiatrists, or licensed psychological technicians and their clients.

For the purpose of this chapter, the confidential relations and communications between
licensed psychologists, licensed psychiatrists, or licensed psychological technicians
and their clients are placed upon the same basis as those provided by law between
attorney and client,
and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any such
privileged communication to be disclosed.
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Arizona
32-2085 : Confidential communications

A. The confidential relations and communication between a client and a psychologist
licensed pursuant to this chapter, including temporary licensees, are placed on the same
basis as those provided by law between an attorney and client.
Unless the client waives
the psychologist-client privilege in writing or in court testimony, a psychologist shall not voluntarily
or involuntarily divulge information that is received by reason of the confidential nature of the
psychologist’s practice. The psychologist shall divulge to the board information it requires in
connection with any investigation, public hearing or other proceeding. The psychologist-client privilege does not extend to cases in which the psychologist has a duty to report information as required by law.

B. The psychologist shall ensure that client records and communications are treated by clerical and
paraprofessional staff at the same level of confidentiality and privilege required of the psychologist.
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Arkansas
17-97-105 : Privileged communications

For the purpose of this chapter, the confidential relations and communications between a
licensed psychologist or a psychological examiner and a client are placed upon the same basis
as those provided by law between an attorney and a client.
Nothing in this chapter shall be
construed to require any such privileged communication to be disclosed.
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Georgia
43-39-16: Psychologist-Client Privilege
The confidential relations and communications between a licensed psychologist and client are
placed upon the same basis as those provided by law between attorney and client ;
and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any such privileged communication
to be disclosed.
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Idaho
54-2314 : Privileged communication — Confidential Relations and Communications
Between Psychologist and Client.

A person licensed as a psychologist under the provisions of this act cannot, without the written
consent of his client, be examined in a civil or criminal action as to any information acquired in the
course of his professional services in behalf of the client. The confidential relations and
communications between a psychologist and his client are on the same basis as those provided by law between an attorney and client , and nothing in this article shall be construed to require any such privileged communication to be disclosed.
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Kansas
74-5323.
  Privileged communications; exceptions.

(a) The confidential relations and communications between a licensed psychologist and the psychologist’s client are placed on the same basis as provided by law for those between an attorney and the attorney’s client . Except as provided in subsection (b), nothing in this act shall be construed to require such privileged communications to be disclosed.

(b) Nothing in this section or in this act shall be construed to prohibit any licensed psychologist
from testifying in court hearings concerning matters of adult abuse, adoption, child abuse, child neglect, or other matters pertaining to the welfare of children or from seeking collaboration or
consultation with professional colleagues or administrative superiors, or both, on behalf of a client.
There is no privilege under this section for information which is required to be reported to a public official.
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Montana
46-14-217 . Admissibility of statements made during examination or treatment.

A statement made for the purposes of psychiatric or psychological examination or treatment provided for in this section by a person subjected to examination or treatment is not admissible in evidence against the person at trial on any issue other than that of the person’s mental condition. It is admissible on the issue of the person’s mental condition, whether or not it would otherwise
be considered a privileged communication, only when and after the defendant presents evidence
that due to a mental disease or defect the defendant did not have a particular state of mind that
is an element of the offense charged.
——————————————————-

New Hampshire
330-A:32 Privileged Communications.

The confidential relations and communications between any person licensed under provisions
of this chapter and such licensee’s client are placed on the same basis as those provided by
law between attorney and client
, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any
such privileged communications to be disclosed, unless such disclosure is required by a court order. Confidential relations and communications between a client and any person working under the supervision of a person licensed under this chapter which are necessary and customary for
diagnosis and treatment are privileged to the same extent as though those relations or
communications were with the supervising person licensed under this chapter, unless such disclosure is required by a court order. This section shall not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to RSA 135-C:27-54 or RSA 464-A.
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New Jersey
45-14B-28 Confidential relations and communications

The confidential relations and communications between and among a licensed practicing
psychologist and individuals, couples, families or groups in the course of the practice of
psychology are placed on the same basis as those provided between attorney and client,
and nothing in this act shall be construed to require any such privileged communications
to be disclosed by any such person.

There is no privilege under this section for any communication: (a) upon an issue of the
client’s condition in an action to commit the client or otherwise place the client under the
control of another or others because of alleged incapacity, or in an action in which the
client seeks to establish his competence or in an action to recover damages on account of
conduct of the client which constitutes a crime; or (b) upon an issue as to the validity of a
document as a will of the client; or (c) upon an issue between parties claiming by testate
or intestate succession from a deceased client.
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New York
NY CPLR § 4507 : Psychologist (more protective than doctor-patient)

The confidential relations and communications between a psychologist registered under the
provisions of article one hundred fifty-three of the education law and his client are placed
on the same basis as those provided by law between attorney and client, and nothing
in such article shall be construed to require any such privileged communications to be disclosed.
A client who, for the purpose of obtaining insurance benefits, authorizes the disclosure of
any such privileged communication to any person shall not be deemed to have waived the
privilege created by this section. For purposes of this section: 1. “person” shall mean any
individual, insurer or agent thereof, peer review committee, public or private corporation,
political subdivision, government agency, department or bureau of the state, municipality,
industry, co-partnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever;
and 2. “insurance benefits” shall include payments under a self-insured plan.
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Pennsylvania
42 Pa.C.S. § 5944: Confidential Communictions

No psychiatrist or person who has been licensed . . . to practice psychology shall be, without the written consent of his client, examined in any civil or criminal matter as to any information acquired in the course of his professional services in behalf of such client. The confidential relations and communications between a psychologist or psychiatrist and his client shall be on the same basis as those provided or prescribed by law between an attorney and client.
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Tennessee

T.C.A. §§ 63-11-213 Privileged Commuications (Psychologists)
(More protective than doctor-patient)

For the purposes of this chapter, the confidential relations and communications between
licensed psychologist or psychological examiner and client are placed upon the same basis
as those provided by law between attorney and client,
and nothing in this chapter shall be
construed to require any such privileged communication to be disclosed. . . .
———————————————————–

Washington
18.83.110 Privileged communications

Confidential communications between a client and a psychologist shall be privileged against
compulsory disclosure to the same extent and subject to the same conditions as
confidential communications between attorney and client
, but this exception is subject
to the limitations under RCW 70.96A.140 [ re involuntary commitment] and 71.05.360 (8)
and (9) [ re prison detainees] .

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