The clinical risk management of stalking: "someone is watching over me...."

Am J Psychother. Spring 1997;51(2):174-84. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1997.51.2.174.


I have offered ten guidelines for the clinical risk management of stalking: a team approach, personal responsibility for safety, documentation and recording, no initiated contact, protection orders, law enforcement and prosecution, treatment if indicated, segregation and incarceration, periodic violence risk assessment, and the importance of dramatic moments. Although criminal stalking is not expected in mental health practice, the interpersonal anguish that often erupts in psychotherapy, and the reporting of relational intrusions that disrupt the safety of treatment, may foreshadow such distressing and potentially dangerous behavior. It is my hope that the clinician will be prepared for such untoward events, and these guidelines will shape an appropriate professional response. For as Racine wrote in 1667, "The heart that can no longer love passionately, must with fury hate." (Andromache, 1, trans. Robert Henderson).

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Obsessive Behavior / psychology*
  • Patient Care Team* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Risk Management*
  • Social Responsibility
  • Violence / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Violence / psychology