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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Jersey Psychology Practice Revealed Patients’ Mental Disorders in Debt Lawsuits

By Charles Ornstein
ProPublica, Dec. 23, 2015

When a New Jersey lawyer named Philip received legal papers last year informing him that his former psychologist’s practice was suing him over an unpaid bill, he was initially upset they could not work out a payment arrangement outside of court.

It was only later, Philip said in an interview, that he scanned the papers again and realized something else: The psychology group to which he’d confided his innermost feelings had included his mental health diagnosis and treatments he received in publicly filed court documents.

The greatest fear of many patients receiving therapy services is that somehow the details of their private struggles will be revealed publicly. Philip, who requested his last name not be used to protect his privacy, said he felt “betrayed” by his psychologist. He worried that his legal adversaries would find the information and try to use it against him in court.

“It turned my life upside down,” he said.

The article is here.