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Dr. Jones” is a psychotherapist in practice in Alabama. Her client, “Mr. Smith” usually sees her in the office. However, during a vacation to Maine, “Mr. Smith” has a panic attack and calls “Dr. Jones.” She is licensed in Alabama – not Maine – and the laws state that therapy happens where the client is – whether it’s Maine, Alabama, or an airport during a layover in Boston. Legally, she cannot practice psychotherapy with a client who is in Maine. Yet she cannot abandon her client, and putting him on hold to reach the Maine Department of Health and go through an application process to be permitted to provide emergency care is impractical and perhaps impossible. Ethically, she ought not abandon her client.
What should she do?
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