GROWING MY EMAIL LISTS, Part Two! YOUR CHANCE TO RECEIVE A DISCOUNTED WEBINAR OR LEGAL CONSULTATION!
CONGRATS to REBECCA KENDIG in New Orleans who earned 15% off legal consultation or 30% off a webinar registration last year!!!! Thank you, Rebecca, for your vote of confidence in my legal and training abilities.
I sent out this offer last January and February and am continuing the offer going for this New Year – 2022 that we hope is a better year than last year, right?
Please feel free to refer colleagues to me who wish to be on my mailing list for this mental health newsletter and emails regarding upcoming webinars. Here is what I stated in last years’ newsletters:
I would like to reach as many clinicians in Louisiana and Colorado as possible to invite them to webinars and to send them my Mental Health Newsletters. If you refer another clinician to me who requests inclusion on my mental health email lists (CO or LA), and that referred person emails me, asks to join the email list for her/his state, and gives your name as the referring clinician, YOU WILL BE ENTITLED TO 20% OFF A WEBINAR FEE OR 10% OFF A CONSULTATION FEE to be used any time within a year of the referral.
For those who refer MORE THAN ONE CLINICIAN TO MY EMAIL LISTS, YOUR DISCOUNT WILL BE 30% OFF WEBINAR FEE AND 15% OFF A CONSULTATION.
One more caveat: the referred person must be a NEW addition to my email list. My web guy will check it out for us; Brian is the keeper/manager of the lists.
COMMON CLINICAL CONUNDRUMS
Some food for thought … I hear these same issues in consultations over and over. No simple answers. Balancing risk versus benefit, which is why consultations are sometimes necessary.
Here is one for this month – feel free to email me with ideas and I will share them in the next newsletter.
We are in a new year and to many of us, that has certain connotations – e.g., resolutions, healthier lifestyles, etc. I wrote a blog on this topic some time ago (see web site), but today I am not writing about resolutions except for the one I am about to describe for you. If you do nothing else to improve your practice this year, please do this …
This suggestion comes from two (2) cases I recently defended: one in Louisiana and one in Colorado. I will not give details, but the general principle.
Both clinicians were seasoned and incredibly competent. Both have huge hearts and want to help their therapy clients improve their lives. Both had the misfortune of treating a commonly understood, difficult client with a serious personality disorder…
Both ended up receiving licensing board Complaints/Grievances alleging that the therapist had engaged in, and even encouraged/initiated a friendship sort of relationship. Of course, the truth was that the therapy client relentlessly pushed boundaries, including personal ones (e.g., attending the church of the therapist despite knowing better; joining the walking group of therapists that my clinician/client belonged to because the therapy client was a clinician herself and my clinician/client could not breach confidentiality by telling her walking companions that the new member should not be allowed to join them, etc.).
Beware therapists. In these strange times, therapists may try to accommodate their therapy clients in ways that may be misconstrued later, twisted into the formation of an ethical complaint to the board when the clinician inevitably starts setting more firm limits, thus precipitating a crisis for the therapy client who leaves furious and sometimes bent on retaliation. It’s horrible for the clinician, even if the boards generally see through the allegations and dismiss the Complaint.
Remember, please, to take care of yourselves in your practices! How to do this?
- Consult with respected colleagues more frequently than you need to just to keep those relationships strong and your countertransference in check.
- Beware of “over-caring.” Therapists tend at times to offer too much caring … unfortunately, without careful limits at all times (even during a pandemic), that tendency can cause the therapists some vulnerability and give fodder for disturbed, angry therapy clients to cause emotional harm to their previous therapists.
- Seek risk prevention legal/ethical/clinical consultation when necessary. I try to blend all three of these elements into my consultations on high-risk clients/situations. Sometimes a clinical-type “fix” is indicated to manage the escalating situation rather than a purely legal response. My clinical background provides me with the understanding of your life in the trenches and working together, my consultees and I strategize to accomplish the 3-fold goal: protection of the licensee, protection of the therapeutic relationship (when at all possible), and protection of the therapy client.
What people said about my most recent seminars:
- “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.”
Sorry to say, but I have not yet decided on the topic for this new year. If anyone has a burning desire/idea, please let me know. Otherwise, in next month’s newsletter I will announce the 2022 topic. Thanks in advance for any ideas – they just must be substantively in the ethics realm so that Louisiana licensees can obtain credit upon renewal.
[NOTE: these topics/presentations are available for consultation groups, agencies, or university custom trainings – contact Deb for more information or to schedule.]
March – there were about 30 mental health professionals in the Zoom webinar offered to both Louisiana and Colorado clinicians – Walking the Clinical High Wire with Couples, Families and Legal Involvement: Ethical Management of Risk.
One participant who had sent a couple scenarios to me in advance agreed to present them in our meeting. We had a robust discussion of ideas for her that morphed into other issues and analyses. Quite a fun, engaged, and productive 3 hours.
2021 (see agenda and description below)
June, September, November – a topic that will either intrigue or depress you: The Professional Will. Why would it depress you? Because most of us prefer to avoid the inevitable knowledge that one day we will no longer be around. This topic has been requested by some folks over the years but arises primarily from my several consultations with mental health professionals who had to “pick up the pieces” after a beloved colleague suddenly passed away.
In all my consultations, the mental health provider died, but some situations present a slightly different twist: the therapist suffers a stroke or other type of sudden, debilitating medical event. Poof! Clinical practice is OVER. Suddenly. Without the therapist’s ability to terminate or even email or text her/his clients. How will clients of the suddenly gone therapist be notified that their therapist will no longer be able to see them for their scheduled appointments this coming week?
These experiences that I have been involved with peripherally caused great angst in the mental health professionals who met with me to figure out what to do and how to do it ethically. They were torn between wanting to notify the deceased therapist’s clients but worrying about entering forbidden territory: CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL IN CLIENTS’ CASE FILES.
This is the type of dilemma that a Professional Will seeks to avoid. Similar to a personal estate Last Will and Testament, the Professional Will involves planning for an untoward event where the therapist himself/herself has suddenly departed. Moreover, because therapist’s clients are notified ahead of time, the concerns about breach of confidentiality are eliminated; the client has given advance consent – and those of you who have attended my trainings in Self-Protective High-Risk Clinical Practice know I am keen on advance consents in your Intake paperwork because client’s agreement in advance protects you from breach of confidentiality Complaints/Grievances.
Additionally, as you have heard me say frequently in Beyond Ethics, LLC seminars, self-protective practice is not at odds with caring for our clients’ wellbeing, but rather ensures excellence in clinical practice. This is a great example. If you are self and colleague protective by creating a Professional Will, it also serves to give clients notice not only pertaining to the individual who would handle your caseload wrap-up, but also demonstrates to the client that you care for them enough to plan ahead to protect their confidentiality and continuation of care should something happen to you.
Anyway, for more on why we need Professional Wills, how to create them, how to advise our clients of their existence, how to prepare our practices and assemble a team of trusted others who will be ready to jump in … and lots more: Advance Ethical Planning for Therapist’s Unexpected Departure: The Professional Will!!
Louisiana and Colorado clinicians
- Ethical Obligation for Therapists to Employ a Professional Will (PW)
- When is a PW necessary?
- Do the Licensing Boards Require a PW?
- How does a PW Protect Clients’ Privacy?
- Specific Ethical, Clinical, & Legal Challenges re: Therapist’s Unexpected Exit from Practice
- Creation of the Professional Will
- Select & Prepare an Executor/trix (and Team?)
- Determine What Aspects of Practice Exec will Handle (only Clients or also Financial)
- Organize Clients’ Files for PW Purposes to Protect Clients’ Privacy
- Incorporate PW Information into Intake Paperwork – for New/Existing Clients
- Analyze Risks of Notifying Former Clients of PW
- Plan in Advance for Payment to Professionals who Assist in Implementing PW (e.g., attorney, accountant, copying and postage charges)
- Handling Termination of Existing Practice Checking Account, Any Joint (e.g., Co-Tenants) Checking Account(s) and/or Lease(s), and other Business Closure Details
Description of workshop
In the event of death, disability, or other unexpected circumstances that would prevent a psychotherapist from continuing to provide clinical services, a large number of tasks typically need to be completed, which should be set forth in the counselor’s Professional Will. This webinar will address the ethical obligations of counselors to engage in advance planning for such unexpected event. Deb Henson, attorney and LCSW, will lecture on specific ethical, clinical, & legal challenges, including a thorough analysis of methods to protect client confidentiality. Deb will also invite participants’ ideas, experience, and thoughts about this evolving ethical aspect of practice so often overlooked. The webinar will cover the entire process of planning and creating the Professional Will, implementing advance team preparation, and incorporating notice to clients by amending Intake paperwork. Although questions will be welcomed throughout the webinar, some time will also be left at the end for final questions or discussion.
Certificate of CEU/CPD:
Certificates will be provided at the end of the seminar.
More comments from 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.”
Available for Legal/Clinical Consultation and/or Training:
I am available to provide legal consultations for your high-risk clients or situations. I offer consultations to individual therapists or clinical group (e.g., clinical consultation groups, suite mates, etc.). I often schedule therapist consultations via telephone but can also schedule via Zoom if you prefer.
Additionally, I also can work with you to design custom training for your agencies, academic mental health programs, and small group practices. The trainings I have provided in the past have included a focus on: (1) ethically managing high-risk clinical situations and legal involvement of the therapist, (2) helping therapists prepare for deposition or trial testimony, and (3) responding to a subpoena request for clinical records or therapist testimony at deposition or trial.
Preparation for Depositions or Trial Testifying
I also help clinicians understand how to prepare for depositions and/or trial testifying in the webinars and/or individual consultations. Some clinicians have never testified in a legal proceeding and are extremely anxious. I have helped many overcome this paralyzing anxiety as they practice with me prior to the legal event. Most professional liability insurance will cover legal consultations resulting in the receipt of a subpoena (which is the ONLY way you should be going forward with testifying).
If interested or need additional information, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.