If you do not have direct knowledge, ask yourself about the credibility of your source of information. Reports by clients about previous treatment relationships can be difficult to evaluate, requiring clinical skills to assess the likelihood of accuracy based on factors such as the degree of psychopathology (Overstreet, 2001). If the information came by casual gossip, proceed with considerable caution. The motivations of those passing on the story, coupled with the exaggeration and distortion that always hangs heavy on “grapevines,” could cause a colleague unfair damage. If no way exists to obtain any substantial, verifiable facts, you may choose to ignore the information or, as a professional courtesy, inform your colleague of the scuttlebutt. If the colleague is guilty of what the idle hearsay suggests, this may have a beneficial effect. However, we recognize that this constitutes risky business and may prove effective only if you feel reasonably confident that you can anticipate the colleague’s reactions.


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