UPCOMING BEYOND ETHICS, LLC TRAININGS
Yay! I am once again in 2020-21 a NASW-CO CE Approved Provider. That means you can find me on the NASW-CO web site with a listing of upcoming seminars. For those of you reading this newsletter, I will save you the trouble of going to that web site right now and provide you with the description of my training focus here:
In this age of increasing litigation, clinicians frequently are drawn into the legal battles of their clients through subpoenas for records, depositions and/or trial testimony. Additionally, clinicians may find themselves treating high-risk clients who present many risks for DORA grievances. Deb is a LCSW with over 30 years clinical experience as well as a lawyer who defends clinicians. Deb’s focus in her seminars is to help therapists practice in a more self-protective manner without losing their own professional and personal values.
I am excited to be among the esteemed NASW-CO approved providers this year and hope you will join me for one of the upcoming seminars. Here is the description of this year’s lineup; they are both the same and will be provided via ZOOM in October and again in March.
Ethical Management of Risk
Location: via Zoom
- Ethical Obligations in the Context of Couples and Families
- Why Couples and Families are Considered High-Risk Clients
- Certain Risks Inherent in Treating Couples and Families
- Specific Clinical and Legal Challenges When Working with Couples and Families: Case Examples (Deb’s and Participants’ situations)
- Ethically Responding to Subpoenas & Dealing with Attorneys
- Self-Protective, Client-Protective Procedure upon Receipt of Subpoena
- Subpoenas for Records, Deposition or Trial Testimony
- Preparing Clinician and Clients for Legal Involvement of Either/Both
Description of workshop
In this workshop, Deb and participants will examine the high-risk nature of clinical practice in 2020. Deb will present vital information for participants’ ethical responses in this litigious day and age. Also, Deb will facilitate discussion of participants’ case examples, as well as her own work defending clinicians in Louisiana and Colorado who have faced legal and ethical dilemmas in their clinical practices.
Deb will help participants develop ethical, self-protective strategies to avoid the high-risk case turning into the nightmare case! As a seasoned clinician, who has a firm belief in protecting clients and guarding their confidentiality, Deb’s suggestions always are fashioned to protect the therapeutic relationship and the client and therapist from bullying, harassing legal activity.
We will be discussing numerous case examples furnished by participants and culled from Deb’s legal practice in Louisiana and Colorado, which provides much grist for the training mill! Additionally, Deb will teach participants a relatively simple step-by-step approach for ethically responding to subpoenas for records, depositions, and/or trial testifying. Deb will help participants learn how to prepare for litigation events such as depositions and trial testifying.
About the Trainer
Deb is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 35 years clinical experience, who is also a lawyer since 1991. She has been defending clinicians since 2000 in various types of licensing board matters. Deb also has a robust practice of risk prevention consultation for therapists who are attempting to avoid ending up before their licensing board. After Ethics training around the country for PESI and Cross Country since 2006, Deb started her own training business, Beyond Ethics, LLC, in 2009. Through Beyond Ethics, Deb has been offering two to four trainings annually in Louisiana since its inception and in Colorado since 2015.
Case Examples Utilized in the Seminar
In the workshops, I always ask participants to send me case examples to discuss in the seminar. I also incorporate a variety of ethical conundrums for high-risk clinical practices from my law practice defending such claims when grievances are filed against clinicians. I also help clinicians understand how to prepare for depositions and/or trial testifying.
Trainings typically are three (3) hours and certificates will be provided at the end of the seminar.
from MAY 31, 2019 SEMINAR IN NEW ORLEANS and AUGUST 7, 2020 ZOOM TRAINING FOR LOUISIANA
The May 2019 workshop in New Orleans had close to 80 participants!! The largest group ever, and it was a lively, participative group of seasoned clinicians.
As I am doing with the Denver training, I had asked the Louisiana registrants to submit case examples of their (or colleagues’) “nightmare cases” (the subtitle of the seminar). So many therapists submitted diverse situations; we had a fun and instructive time analyzing them in the seminar.
It was such a diverse set of situations – some absolutely clinically resolvable, some quasi clinical/legal, and some mostly legal (e.g., responding to subpoenas and filing Motions to Quash subpoena when the release is objected to by the therapy client).
- “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.”
- “Great info – very knowledgeable and great examples.”
- “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.”
The August 7, 2020 seminar had to be conducted virtually, so I quickly converted my life to learning enough Zoom to conduct the workshop this summer on that platform. About 40 participated in the remote training and, again, folks seemed to have a good time and learned a bit as well. Here are some of their comments:
- “Great job with Zoom. It almost was a good as being in the room with you.”
- “Very detailed, helpful … in navigating the legal world from a clinical perspective.”
- “Content was practical and presented in ‘layman’s’ terms. Easy to understand and able to take into practice immediately.”
- “Very thorough and helpful.”
- “Topic was very pertinent to many things I have experienced.”
- “Very helpful and plan to attend future seminars.”
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: The clinician learned from another client that one of her former clients committed suicide. Shortly after learning about this and still reeling from the news, the clinician received a phone message from the deceased client’s father that he wanted to meet with her. The problem was that the father had been described by the deceased as abusive, alcoholic, and impulsive. Clinician called me to discuss what she should do.
Should she meet with the father?
A: When a client or former client suicides, the clinician stands to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit; grieving families often want to assign blame and the therapist is a handy target. Relatives often feel that the therapist could have prevented the tragedy, and the clinician is often suffering from pangs of guilt wishing that she had been able to foresee the planned suicide before the client died. Of course, we therapists are not mind readers and often our crystal balls do not deliver as we wish they would.
Levity aside, this was a tragic event and the clinician was deeply saddened, but also afraid that if she met with the father, it might not go well and could cause more problems for her.
We discussed the other vantage point: a grieving family also needs comfort and perhaps to know that the deceased loved them and that the depression was not the family’s fault. I recommended such an approach, but not with the father. The clinician had a brother’s contact information and the deceased client had reported that the brothers were close. I encouraged her to reach out to the brother and explain that she would prefer meeting with him rather than the father (I hoped the brother would understand why, and he did).
The therapist met with the grieving brother and reassured him that he could not have known what his deceased sibling was planning. She did a great job of both comforting and educating the brother about suicidality and encouraged the brother to meet with his father if that seemed workable. The brother did so and later emailed the clinician to let her know that all went well and to thank her for her good work with his brother.
No lawsuit or grievance was filed. Whew!
UPCOMING GROUP TRAININGS
I am also excited to be conducting training for the following two entities outside the schedule seminar listed above. Both of these were supposed to be provided in person this summer, but alas, COVID-19 had other ideas for us all. Although these trainings are closed to the public, I share the content to give you examples of training topics that might be of interest to your agencies or group practices.
(all day) New date TBA
I will be offering Ethics training for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) new Master of Social Work program. This will be a full day Ethics seminar for students, faculty, field instructors, and community partners.
I will be offering Legal/Ethical Training for Colorado Health Network Inc. – Behavioral Health sometime this fall (date still TBD). This training will be a 6-hour training session for all behavioral health staff in the agency. The tentative Agenda looks like this:
- Self-Protective Clinical Practice
- Protective Practice does not Diminish Clinical Excellence
- Handle High-Risk Clients and Their Files with Greater Documentation and Care
- Role of DORA
- Regulating 6 Mental Health Disciplines
- Protecting the Public
- Review Prohibited Activities (C.R.S. 12-43-222)
- Review Unauthorized Practice (C.R.S. 12-43-226)
- Process if Grievance is Received
- Steps for Handling Receipt of Subpoena for Records or Testimony
- Must Respond to Subpoena – Not Necessarily Produce Records
- Get Client’s Authorization & Prepare Client in Advance for Litigation Event to Try to Preserve Therapeutic Relationship
- Send Invoice to Lawyer and Get Paid IN ADVANCE
- How to Prepare for Deposition or Trial Testifying
- Always Document in Client’s File – for ALL things with High-Risk Clients!!
- Questions/Answers re: Specific Issues
- Is report necessary of child abuse when disclosure is made by adult client
- Reporting issues for clients who test positive for HIV
- Telehealth protocols and concerns
If you are a clinician in an agency and would like to schedule a Group Training, please feel free to contact me to discuss the details. I have provided training for many small and large agencies, groups of private practice clinicians (e.g., Clinical Consultation groups, therapists in an office suite, etc.) and always tailor the training to the agency or group needs.
COVID-19 PONDERING AND THE JOY OF QUIET TIMES
It seems as though I am always pondering when writing these blogs. I guess that’s what blogging is about; I am new to the sport!
But, I am not new to changing or stressful times. The last blog I wrote ended with my salutation:
To self-caring and comfort through challenging times,
That also seems pertinent for these strange, sad, crazy-making times.
We have never lived through a pandemic like we are currently enduring. The last one was in 1918 and unless you are 102 years old, my previous statement is accurate. We don’t know this way of living.
Other blog posts you might be interested in:
Training/Legal Consultation For Clinicians/Agencies
I have been providing training for high risk clinical situations and legal involvement of the therapist for individual clinicians and clinical groups in Louisiana and Colorado for some years now. I consult 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.
Occasionally, I am available to meet in person 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. I can custom tailor training to your particular agency or small group with questions submitted in advance by participants, if desired.
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)
Deborah (Deb) Henson is an Attorney and LCSW (Tulane School of Social Work, MSW) in private practice in Colorado and Louisiana, 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 taught in the MSW programs at Tulane University School of Social Work and the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She also serves as Expert Witness for litigation cases around the country involving assertions of malpractice against clinicians. She offers Divorce Mediation long-distance (Zoom; Skype; telephone) in Colorado and Louisiana. See her website for more details.
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.