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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Can My Psychiatrist Get Subpoenaed to Testify Against Me

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: California

    This is off topic, but it is related to medical practitioners, so I figured I would have the best chance at getting a response in this forum.

    I am writing a memoir, and even though my portrayals of people from my past will be 100% true, I understand even true information can be libel if the intent is considered malicious.

    Can my psychiatrist be subpoenaed to testify about my motivations for writing about certain individuals (say, an ex-spouse)? Logically, I was in therapy because I was still angry about my ex-spouse, but I stopped therapy and made some life changes and soon began to heal from my wounds. In other words, the angry person my therapist saw is not the same forgiving person who is writing this memoir.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can My Psychiatrist Get Subpoenaed to Testify Against Me

    This is somebody who is counseling you? The content of your therapy sessions is privileged, so obviously you would object to an attempt to obtain testimony.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Can My Psychiatrist Get Subpoenaed to Testify Against Me

    Truth is a defense to defamation claims, both libel and slander. Also, malice in a defamation context isn't what you think it is. Read New York Times v. Sullivan and its progeny.

    That said, psychotherapist-patient and physician-patient communications are privileged in California, except (and only to the extent) that you might waive that privilege.

    That is, if you sue your psychiatrist for not properly diagnosing your bipolar disorder, privilege for anything related to your bipolar disorder is waived, but if you also like to dress up in women's clothing and hang around in bars, those communications would remain privileged.

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