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He thinks most therapists will ignore the law and continue to handle cases as they do now.

Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatry professor at Columbia, said that if the new law is “crudely applied,” it could “erode patient trust in mental health care professionals,” essential for effective care. Yet, he said, “if the law is implemented in a clinically well-informed manner, it holds the promise of helping to protect patients and the general public.”

Eric Neblung, president of the New York State Psychological Association and a psychologist in Nyack, NY, called the new measure “a helpful step” but said it doesn’t address a more fundamental need _ improved access to mental health services.

Medical writer Lindsey Tanner reported from Chicago.