ETHICS TRAINING through Deb’s BEYOND ETHICS, LLC
In 2019, I will be providing two (2) seminars.
BEYOND ETHICS, LLC WORKSHOP
East Jefferson General Hospital
Title of workshop still in process of development (if you have ideas, please email me!!!
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.
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.
INFORMATION FROM 2018 WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
CORE VALUES ARTICULATED BY SMALL GROUPS IN 2018 SEMINAR
Ethical Management of Legal Involvement:
Authentic Use of the Therapist’s Self
The following is a list compiled by a participant, who graciously offered to be our recording secretary in the last New Orleans seminar. All the participants met in small groups to discuss their core values as clinicians, in anticipation of legal involvement where these core values may be threatened by the legal, adversarial process. This was the first step in the identification of our “authentic” selves. The goal, of course, is to preserve our core values even when faced with the challenging style and opposing goals of legal events, such as depositions and/or trial testifying.
Here are the values listed by the November New Orleans Beyond Ethics participants:
- Cultural competence
- Being present
- Do no harm
- Meet client where s/he is
- Continue to learn
- Do your own work
Some of the participants had this to say about Deb’s training:
- “Deb provides awesome, thought-provoking info. I wish my agency would have had this info available for the clinicians before we went on the stand [at trial].”
- “Deb is such an incredible speaker – and knowledgeable. I really appreciate everything [she] does to advocate for social workers and the mental health profession(s).”
- “Very lively and informative. Made a serious subject clearer.”
- “Great topic and delivery – love Deb’s navigation of the grey areas. Thank you!”
- “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.”
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: If you have a very anxious client, who has terminated precipitously (e.g., by canceling last session(s) via phone or email), should you give a copy of his/her record to the client upon request?
A: My unequivocal answer is “NO!” Why? Because the precipitous termination, coupled with the high anxiety, suggests that the client might be likely to take some of your notes out of context and get even more anxious by reading what you have said about his/her therapy.
But you say, Deb – the client has right to inspect the record, right? Yes, under HIPAA, clients have right to access their records (not the psychotherapy notes without a separate, distinct additional authorization – IF you keep them separate from the rest of the clinical record). But given the nature of the client and the circumstances of the non-termination, the therapist would be most self-protective (always my goal) to offer a free “record-review” session of 10-15 minutes during which time the therapist is sitting with the client and available to answer any questions.
This procedure can be “sold” to the client as follows. “You may not be able to read my handwriting or you may have questions about some of my comments in the record. I keep the notes for me and that means they are not written out in a form that is always understandable to others. I will be happy to see you for a brief period of time while you review your copy of the record and if you have any questions during that review, to answer them as best I can.”
Why offer a free session? Because it serves to protect you – you will get an idea when the former client reviews the notes whether s/he becomes agitated by something that was written. If so, you can try to assuage the anxiety if you are present with the person. This would not be possible if the former client were to review them alone. It is well worth a 15-minute session at lunch break or end of day to protect yourself from a high-risk client getting upset about something you wrote and filing a Complaint (they terminated precipitously for some reason that likely was not that they were happy with you).
Well, it has been a year since I wrote a blog. My web guy is nudging me and I love writing these, but life has been fairly intense over the past year, so I have not taken time to write. Maybe you will better understand why with this blog. And I am setting my intention to write more frequently in this year of 2019.
In brief review –
I spent several months of the latter part of 2017 getting the Colorado house packed up and ready for the move. During that process were the final aspects of buying my new dream home to open the B & B in Northampton, selling my Colorado home to pay for the transition, and driving across the country for four straight days with 2 dogs and 3 cats and my best friend, Sue, and our son, Cody, who was driving the second moving truck. Sadly, my bearded dragon had passed in the summer of 2017, so Mango did not accompany me on this latest move although she (really a he, we found out at the reptile vet a few years ago) was a lively traveler from New Orleans to Denver in 2015!!
Other blog posts you might be interested in:
Transforming Our Relationships With Our Adult Children
Separation Pondering, Continued
Pondering Separation of All Types
Control Versus Resilience: Emotional Balance
Multi-Career Professionals or Juggling Many Balls
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:
- “Great topic and delivery – love Deb’s navigation of the grey areas. Thank you!”
- “I really enjoyed the training; it was quite applicable to practice.”
- “Information presented in a very clear and precise manner with relevant examples.”
- “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)
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 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.