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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

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As a licensed therapist I have liability insurance. I am currently making plans to open an office that would also be within the church building.  Is there any concern for me that I might make this church liable with my doing ministry in its facility?   As in the past I intend to continue using theophostics within my practice. What I am looking for from you is additional resources that you would know about, including articles or authorities on this subject.  In getting this office open I believe such information could be very helpful to the elders in supporting further my interests and ideas of conducting TPM within my practice.


Ed Smith's response:


First of all I am not a legal attorney and know nothing about the law in your particular area.  I have done some general research and have tried to offer some practical "non-professional" advise in the little book "Keeping Your Ministry Out of Court."  I really do not know of any good resources out there (though I am sure that they are there) to refer you.  The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) has published some works that might be helpful.  I did notice that the latest issue of the AACC "Christian Counseling Today" journal is focused on legal and ethical issues.   You can search their web at www.AACC.net. It may be that others reading this response can point us in the direction of other resources as well.  If people write in I will post what I receive.


However, specifically for your question I can only offer this humble counsel. (1) Check with your local authorities and see what is expected and acceptable and what is not.  Operate within these guidelines if at all possible.  (2) Your church should look into getting (if they do not already have such) some form of liability insurance for all their staff members.  (3) Operate within safe parameters.  Use hold harmless agreements, informed consent forms, as well as be very clear about who you are and what it is you are doing.  I am convinced that the TPM approach to helping people is very safe when done as directed.  (4) I am sure that you always avoid all practices that might involve suggesting memory content, guided visualization, or other things that have been suspect by those who raise question concerning false memory and such.  (5) You may need to find out if there is any legal connection between you and this church.  If you are operating as a ministry of this church then I would assume that what you do will be seen as a representative of this church as well.  If you are renting or being given space and are not receiving any payment for services directly from this church then I would have a lawyer draw up a clear contract that shows your relationship.   Bottom line is minister in a wise manner, be upfront with every person what it is you are offering, stay within those guidelines and do good ministry.  


Hope that this helps. 


Ed Smith

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