ETHICS TRAINING through Deb’s BEYOND ETHICS, LLC
Deb is offering 3.0 hours of required Ethics to satisfy your renewal requirements.
“I always train with case examples and lots of humor, and – most importantly – audience participation with difficult situations, clinically and legally. I try to convey the way to protect yourself professionally – acting ethically AND self-protectively are not in conflict.”
2017 Training Schedule: 3.0 hours of Ethics held at East Jefferson General Hospital on Friday, November 3rd from 8:45 a.m. to noon.
In my legal consultations with clinicians, as well as in the various groups to whom I present on high-risk clinical practice, I often get asked questions about practicing within this new age of social media and client mobility. I will present the pertinent rules and regulations governing social media and electronic communication with clients. I will also explore the seduction and risks of both and, along with audience participation and case examples, will analyze how to reduce such risks to protect the therapeutic relationship and guard the clients’ confidentiality. Finally, I will teach participants specific steps for responding to subpoenas that compel the release of clients’ clinical records.
Once you are registered for one of the trainings, you will be invited to send me questions or case examples of sticky situations you or others you know have encountered. Your input will enrich our time together and provide great grist for the training mill. Hope to see you in 2017 at East Jefferson General Hospital Conference Center for my Beyond Ethics, LLC trainings!!
NOTE: If you are not on Deb’s email list for Beyond Ethics, LLC trainings and would like to receive notification (or your friend or colleague isn’t getting this email and wants to sign up), please go to beyond-ethics.com and sign up for Deb’s newsletter and training email notices.
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.
Information regarding Complaints
Some issues of concern to the Boards and some allegations against clinicians:
- 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 the Board after the licensee received a DUI. The Board was pleased that the report was made so promptly and referred the licensee for an evaluation for fitness to practice, including 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.
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
Transforming Our Relationships With Our Adult Children
Taking Our Health And Well-Being For Granted?
Buffaloes, Wind River Reservation of the Eastern Shoshone, and Finding Deeper Meaning in Life
Pondering Separation Of All Types
Deb’s Louisiana Law Practice
(1) Case/Clinical/Legal Consultations – can be undertaken via teleconference or in person. Call or email for appointment. Flat fee for up to one hour is charged. I am in New Orleans every month or so to meet with licensees who prefer face-to-face in person consultations, but also can arrange consultations via Skype or video face time (with android phones).
(2) Defense for Licensing Board Complaints – with Social Work, LPC, or Psychology Board. Other health professionals are also represented.
(3) Adoptions – while I do not have an “inventory” of babies, many of my clients have found babies who are available for adoption through friends or relatives. The latter is easier to accomplish because it is an “intrafamily” adoption and much easier to accomplish. Stepparent adoptions are considered “intrafamily” adoptions, too. Private (non-family) adoptions are not extremely expensive, but do require a private Home Study by another social worker and that adds to the cost of that type of adoption. Now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Louisiana has to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples and I can get a second parent adoption accomplished via the Intrafamily adoption statute in any parish.
What people said about my most recent seminars:
- “This seminar was extremely insightful and Deb’s delivery and presentation was right up my alley!”
- “Enjoy your workshops – always so informative and interesting. Time flies!”
- “I think Deb is a great presenter.”
- “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.”
- “Thank you for the best Ethics presentation I have been to in 25 years of practice. Your recommendations for protecting ourselves and our clients were exceptional! I will come to any presentation you have in the future. Thank you so very much!”
- “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.”
- “I thoroughly enjoyed your training. The intimate setting allowed for increased participation. I enjoyed the relevant examples/cases. I have been to Ethics seminars where the presenter went through the code of ethics (boring!). You discussed relevant issues that stimulated our interest in a fascinating way.”
- “Excellent presentation. Very informative and well thought out frame work. Thanks Deb!”
- “Nice work! Very interesting, especially when examining specific case studies.”
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. And, you can use the old tried and true method of calling her at 504.232.8884.