The Law: Privacy and the Psychiatrist

When he received a subpoena last year that summoned him to give a deposition in San Francisco, Psychiatrist Joseph Lifschutz did not hesitate to comply. But when he was asked to testify about his treatment of Joseph Housek, a former patient, Lifschutz demurred. The law, he declared, should not force him to betray even the existence of a patient-therapist relationship, much less what it involved. As a result, Lifschutz was ultimately found in contempt of court and sentenced to jail until he agreed to answer.

Housek is a high school teacher who had brought a $175,000 damage suit against a student who...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!