The client reported saying that he/ she "was upset and disappointed with society". The therapist indicated that would not do, as it had to be a technical reason – such as depression or the sessions would not be paid for. The client stated that he/ she was glad to be divorcing, and not depressed, but the therapist continued to press the “depression” issue. The therapist had a struggle in trying to come up with a diagnostic category for this court ordered therapy. Finally the client told the therapist to put down whatever he/ she wanted. The client was never interviewed or counseled by the therapist for this diagnosis. There was no reason for the therapy other than Judge Janelle ordered it to be done. There was no depression experienced by the client/ patient. The “reason” was being fabricated for billing and court purposes, so a state (taxpayer - funded) agency would pay. It would also label the patient for the record as being depressed and this could be used in future court appearances against the patient/ client.
When Judge Andre Janelle forced this parent into “junk therapy” based on a Guardian ad litem “junk science” recommendation did he consider any of the following questions before forcing therapy:
- Is the therapy really necessary?
- Is there an accepted diagnosis of a problem for which therapy is indicated?
- Is the treatment a valid, recognized form of treatment?
- Is it approved of by professional societies?
- In the end is it really effective therapy?
- What us the aim of the Judge's prescription and can it be defined?
- Will this therapy work on someone without a diagnosis?
- Does this forced therapy have the potential of causing harm?
- Is the treatment ethical? Or does it force treatment that humiliates with no definable therapeutic purpose?
Judge Andre Janelle probably also didn't consider some other very real issues like: Human Rights violations – where courts and their officers who are unqualified (both in training or background in diagnosis, counseling and or therapy) are forcing innocent people into unnecessary sessions. These therapies such as recommended by Judge Janelle appear to be methods of control and punishment and not of treating an actual problem. In this case as in many the judge forced the release of therapy records by the party. What ever good that may have come from the “therapy” was dissolved from that point on. The trust necessary for any form of therapy – which is founded on near absolute confidentiality – was broken with that request. Confidences are ended. No privacy = no therapy. Forcing the release of information to be shared with the opposing lawyers and their clients – can be damaging in unforeseen ways to not only the client but also those innocently mentioned in therapy. Will Judge Andre Janelle or the Guardian ad litem be held libel for possible damages? Will the lawyers, therapist or 3rd party payers be held accountable? In the examples provided above – probably not as they either have immunity or deep pockets. It will come down to the person with the most to loose that will risk the cost of liability. This poses some interesting legal questions and issues.
The question that should be asked is why insurance companies and government health agencies – who are paying for this – are accepting this sham of forced therapy being prescribed by the likes of Judge Janelle? Do they realize what they are paying for? These Judicial/ Guardian ad litem prescriptions are frequently 'pro forma', and executed with little thought and no diagnosis but as a means of “Judicial Outsourcing” - about saving time for the judge in court that effecting any helping change in patients/ clients.
All third party payers - government (tax payer funded) or private - should have an interest in this set of issues; especially, if they are made aware of it. The money spent by these organizations is being wasted because of a Judicial recommendation that often has little or no bearing on a court case. Or is abused as a means of controlling a situation. The professional organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association have long had an interest, and have written volumes on the issues of confidentiality, informed consent, human rights - and the plethora of legal and ethical issues associated with these questions.
If you are or have been in a situation where the Guardian ad litem or the courts have ordered court sanctioned therapy please contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com or like us on Facebook for up to date information on reform within the Judicial system.
For past posts on Judicial Outsourcing: The Role of Judicial Outsourcing in Maine