The concept of confidential communications is the medical profession's way of acknowledging that a physician "should not talk out of school"; the concept of privileged communications is the law's way of acknowledging that there are times when a patient should be able to impose medical secrecy on his physician. These concepts cannot be discussed separately. They are the two sides of a coin which concerns the information a physician obtains through professional contact with his patient.
Most legal writers feel that a medical practice fails to meet the criteria usually used to determine whether a particular conversation should be protected by a privileged communications law. The authors of this volume tend to agree with this belief, but they argue that the practice of psychotherapy is different from the general practice of medicine.
It has never been adequately shown that patients fail to consult psychiatrists in those states in which no