COLORADO TRAINING – AUGUST 28TH
SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO
Self-Protective, Ethical Practices with High-Stress Clients/Situations: Walking the High Wire in Stressful Clinical Situations and Legal Involvement
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: You have seen a couple for marital/relationship counseling for about 6 months. Despite your great work with them (!!), they have decided to split up. You wish them well and they terminate appropriately. About 3 months later, you receive a request from one of the parties asking you to provide a written summary of the therapy to her attorney. What should you do?
A: Any time one party requests a written statement from you for use in litigation context, beware. If you voluntarily provide such a statement of your opinion, or even a summary, you might be perceived by the other party as being biased in favor of the client for whom you wrote the statement.
Additionally, with couples therapy, you have to get authorization from BOTH parties before any release of records, even by subpoena. Some therapists have asked me if they can merely redact the info concerning the non-authorizing party and give some info concerning the therapy but only stating what the authorizing party said, but the answer is still NO. Each party is entitled to the therapist’s adherence to the privilege of confidentiality and must consent to any release of their records.
As to the request by the client (above) to furnish a summary of the treatment, you can inform her that you cannot do so without the other party’s consent. If he refused to consent, the only way for the records (not your statement at that point) to be entered into the litigation would be pursuant to subpoena. And, even then, you would have to obtain his consent before you release or else you would have to file a motion to quash the subpoena and only release if the Judge ordered you to do so.
If you receive a subpoena, it is best to seek legal consultation, which your liability insurance should pay for.
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
Therapy Office Available For Sublet
Deb’s therapy office in Lakewood (Green Mountain area) is available for subletting – only evenings and one half day left. Please check out her listing on Craigslist Denver or call her for more info or to schedule a time to visit the office. 504.232.8884
You can view photos of the office and read specifics of subletting at:
DORA: What’s On the Various Boards’ Radar?
I try to attend many of the public Board meetings of all the Mental Health Boards: Social Work, Professional Counselors, Psychologists, Marriage & Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors, and Registered Psychotherapists. Each newsletter, this section will address current issues that arise in various Board meetings that may seem helpful for practicing clinicians.
Here are some allegations from the Social Work and LPC Board meetings:
- Complainant alleged substandard practice due to the therapist’s letter to client written in a sarcastic tone and stating, “No wonder you have marital problems.”
- Complainant alleged the therapist agreed to hold money for client and also clipped client’s toenails. Licensee denied keeping money.
- Alleged possible Medicaid fraud.
- Alleged that therapist agreed to do something for client and then failed to follow through. The Board was not too concerned about the substantive allegation, but noted that there was no mandatory disclosure provide and that the Response was late.
- Therapist allegedly recommended that client see psychiatrist to get on a specific SSRI. Response seemed to satisfy Board – the therapist said she recommended anti-depressant medication to augment therapy, but did not recommend a specific medication.
- This matter involved a self-report by a licensee to DORA after the licensee received a DUI. The Board was pleased that the report was made so promptly and referred the licensee for a Mental Status Examination, include substance abuse assessment.
- Several cases involved allegations that therapists failed to release records. This is the reason for the suggestion above that if you receive a subpoena or a request/demand from a client to release to him/her, you seek legal consultation. These matters are steeped in risk for the therapist.
Additional issues will be listed in the coming newsletters and Deb is always available to consult with your agency, private practice groups, clinical consultation groups, or with you individually to discuss potential high-risk situations.
What people said about my most recent seminars:
- “This seminar was extremely insightful and Deb’s delivery and presentation was right up my alley!”
- “I think Deb is a great presenter.”
- “Great job as usual!”
- “Enjoy your workshops – always so informative and interesting. Time flies!”
- “I always enjoy your trainings. I appreciate your flexibility in regards to discussing audience members’ concerns/experiences.”
- “My third seminar with you — you are great! Keep on teaching this class…”
- “Always great! Thank you! Wish you had more throughout the year… You are engaging and positive.”
- “Excellent! I could not think of anything to improve on this workshop. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
- “Excellent presentation. Very informative and well thought out frame work. Thanks Deb!”
- “Presenter was engaging, knowledgeable, and very thorough.”
- “Nice work! Very interesting, especially when examining specific case studies.”
Training/Consultation For Clinicians/Agencies
Deb has been providing training for high risk clinical situations and legal involvement of the therapist for groups here in Colorado. Deb consults with individual practitioners, small groups of clinicians, and agencies to help therapists prepare for deposition or trial testimony, or to handle a subpoena request for clinical records.
Deb is available to meet with individual therapists who need risk prevention consultation and/or with groups of any size for any type of self-protective, clinical practice in this litigious age. Deb can custom tailor training to your particular agency or small group with questions submitted in advance by participants, if desired.
On August 28th, Deb will present through her training business, Beyond Ethics, LLC, a 3-hour seminar entitled:
Self-Protective, Ethical Practices with High-Stress Clients/Situations: Walking the High Wire in Stressful Clinical Situations and Legal Involvement
Description of Seminar
This workshop presents vital information for handling high-risk clients and/or situations in this litigious society. Presented by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years clinical experience, who is also a Mental Health Attorney defending clinicians in DORA grievances, you will learn practical, ethical, self-protective methods for managing a high-risk practice and responding to subpoenas for records and/or your testimony at depositions or trial.
Participants will also be encouraged to submit clinical dilemmas and/or ethical minefield examples ahead of time. A good portion of the seminar will be discussing case examples that I have encountered in my law and/or clinical practices and any situations that participants send in ahead of time or raise during the seminar.
Although the training concerns a serious topic, Deb believes that seminars should also be fun – so be ready to laugh some along the way. Deb also plans to have you leave the seminar with less stress than when you entered the room. You will understand specific steps for responding to high-anxiety situations in your practice so such events will not be foreign when and if they occur. Deb is also available for subsequent consultations when needed.
Registration for Sungate Linkage Therapists will be discounted from the regular fee of $60 for the 3-hour seminar to $50. You can register at: www.beyond-ethics.com or email Deb at email@example.com. Certificates will be provided.
Some of the participants had this to say about Deb’s training:
- “Very helpful and informative. Thank you!”
- “Great info – very knowledgeable and great examples. Great reminders as well as some new nuggets.”
- “Could have listened to you all day! Great info. Lots to think about.”
- “Very good! Lively! Engaging! Knowledgeable! Very important information. Perfect timing.”
- “Deb presented excellent information that I feel will help me with my practice. Excellent info! Great workshop.”
- “I attend multiple, legal, ethical practice trainings and Deb is excellent in presentation. Thank you!”
- “Great advice about staying balanced/grounded in testifying.”
- “I appreciate Deborah being both a clinician and an attorney. Frightening possibilities regarding DORA, but [she helped me] know what possible protections I can possibly provide for clients and myself.”
Deb will be scheduling additional trainings concerning The Troublesome Interface of Legal and Clinical Issues in the near future in the Denver area.
Deb will be doing another 3-hour Beyond Ethics training in New Orleans on November 3, 2017 entitled:
Ethical, Clinical Practice in the Electronic Age
Deb’s Clinical Practice
(1) Referrals being accepted for women’s therapy group. Good candidates include women between ages approximately 35 – 60 who are undergoing a significant life transition, such as (a) loss of job, (b) major health issue, (c) divorce or death of partner, or (d) depression/anxiety that you believe group work would help. Client would continue in individual therapy with referring therapist – group would only augment clinical work. Group will meet in the evening at Deb’s Lakewood office.
(2) Deb will be teaming up with a Yoga instructor who offers Trauma Sensitive Yoga for survivors – both a teen group and a women’s group. We will be offering short-term (probably 6-week) groups starting in the New Year. These groups will be structured around providing a safe space for survivors of any type of trauma. Here is the blurb about the group:
Certified Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor Rachel Stroud and Therapist Deborah M. Henson, LCSW are collaborating to offer two 6-week Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Workshops. One workshop is aimed towards teens who have survived or are enduring any type of trauma and the other is geared towards women trauma survivors. We are reaching out to the communities in Denver/Lakewood and surrounding areas to invite trauma survivors to start or continue their healing journey. If you are a trauma survivor or know of someone who could benefit from this type of workshop, we’d love to hear from you so we can come together to find a 6-week slot that works for the majority. Please email Rachel Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 405-640-5132 to express interest and to collaborate meeting times.
Rachel & Deb are passionate about helping trauma survivors navigate through their healing journey and offering a safe place for them to heal from the deep places where trauma is held within the body. Trauma-Sensitive Yoga provides survivors with the opportunity to heal from the source, empowering them with renewed relationships with their bodies.
- Learn how to connect with your breath, mind and body to provide calm and safety within
- Learn techniques to help release stress, tension and anxiety
- Find connection, strength and support with others in a safe setting
- Learn to process your trauma & healing through movement, optional group sharing, journaling and mindfulness.
Trauma is different for everyone. The exact same traumatic event can, and likely will, affect individuals differently. Trauma can be, but it not limited to:
- PTSD of any kind
- Childhood trauma
- Sexual trauma
- Surviving a natural disaster
- Surviving/witnessing an attack
- First responders holding trauma from their first-hand accounts on the job
- LGBTQ processing/marginalization/discrimination/questioning…etc.
- Emotional/spiritual/physical abuse or trauma
- Death of a loved one and/or close encounters with death
- Surviving an accident
- Surviving or witnessing anything horrific and/or traumatizing
(3) Deb offers family counseling to those who have a LGBTQ kid or family member of any age coming out. If sufficient referrals come forth, Deb and another clinician will start a multi-family group, which is very potent for families who feel isolated as in these situations. For more info, please call or have the family member call Deb at 504.232.8884. Deb is also a new Board member for PFLAG and will be assisting with the support groups in the near future, including the family and significant other support groups.
(4) Post-Divorce Facilitation – if any of your clients are considering divorce or have recently gotten divorced, I am available to help facilitate the process between the parents with the co-parenting of their children. It takes a new headset to become successful, non-conflictual co-parents, especially when the baggage of divorce litigation is hanging heavy over their heads. If you want more information about the co-parenting facilitation, feel free to email or call me or have the interested client contact me.
Legal Services Offered
- Legal Representation & Consultation for grievances (complaints) to licensing boards and/or malpractice lawsuits
- Training & Consultation for Clinicians and Agencies (e.g., respond ethically to subpoenas while protecting yourself and your clients; identify high-risk clients and situations to avoid client disciplinary complaints and harm to clients or third parties)
Deb Henson is an Attorney and LCSW (Tulane School of Social Work, MSW) in private practice in Denver and New Orleans, specializing in mental health licensing defense. She represents clinicians in DORA grievances (CO) and licensing board Complaints (LA) and regularly consults with clinicians in both states to help them deal with legal and clinical conundrums, such as: (1) the receipt of subpoenas for records or testimony; (2) the escalation of high-risk clinical situations; and (3) other sticky ethical wickets that arise in clinical practice. Deb helps clinicians develop self-protective, clinically sound and legally proper strategies for risk prevention.
Deb also maintains a clinical practice in Denver, with an office in the Green Mountain area of Lakewood. Through that private practice, Deb offers individual and couple therapy, primarily, and will be starting an ongoing women’s therapy group in the Fall (ages 35-65; interviews for group placement will be conducted upon referral). Referrals for the group are welcome – 504.232.8884.
Deb has been presenting half- and full-day seminars on “Avoiding Ethics Complaints and Malpractice Lawsuits” or “Legal and Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice” around the country through PESI, Inc. for over 7 years and presenting for many CEU groups in Louisiana and Colorado. She also has lectured for Tulane School of Social Work Continuing Education and the University of Texas School of Social Work (Austin) Continuing Professional Development program, and for many other clinical and counseling groups. Deb started her own training biz — Beyond Ethics, LLC — in 2009. Contact Deb for group presentations to agency staff and/or private practice consultation groups.
Deb can be reached through her law and social work web site: www.deborahmhenson.com or through her training web site: www.beyond-ethics.com. Deb can also be emailed at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. And, you can use the old tried and true method of calling her at 504.232.8884.