ETHICS TRAINING through Deb’s BEYOND ETHICS, LLC
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 – practicing ethically AND self-protectively are not in conflict.
2017 Training Schedule: 3.0 hours of Ethics held at East Jefferson General Hospital on the following three Fridays: February 17th, June 2nd, and November 3rd. All workshops run 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.
What people said about my most recent seminar:
- “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.”
- “Great seminar and very informative. Thank you!”
- “Very intriguing and engaging session.”
- “Nice work! Very interesting, especially when examining specific case studies.”
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: A long-term client of yours refers one of her best friends to you for therapy. The client has mentioned in session that her friend is in a really bad situation and because your current client feels that you have helped her so much, she wants you to be her friend’s therapist now.
WHAT TO DO???
A: Think long and hard about the dual relationship issues – like we looked at last month. What if your client’s friend were to become your client and the two friends had a falling out? What if they don’t have a falling out, but keep comparing therapy “notes” and discussing what you say to each one, of course with the transferential spin on the material? What if the friend decides (for some reason unknown to you in the beginning) that she needs to distance from her friend – your initial client? Think of a situation, say substance use/abuse, that develops during therapy with you and precipitates the backing off of the 2nd client and then your initial client blames you for the loss of her friend
For the above and probably many other reasons, accepting the referral is probably not the best idea. Sometimes we do it – we all have done it, I imagine – but then it makes our therapeutic lives much more difficult as we balance who told us what and how to keep the treatments very, very separate when the clients keep bringing in material about the other friend. Not the best practice, it seems to me.
We can certainly honor the feelings that the referral indicates – that, of course, is ripe for clinical conversation and probing. The relationship can be strengthened if handled with grace. Be sure not to just casually say something like, “It would be unethical for me to become your good friend’s therapist.” Instead of delving into all the problems, I would suggest a more general statement about how being a therapist to two people who are really closely involved can present problems down the road, and although it might not, your first priority is to protect the current client’s best interest for therapy and not let anything interfere in any possible way if you can help it. That way, the client feels the honor and commitment to her treatment from you instead of perhaps feeling dumb because she didn’t know it was off limits. Also, if you then explore the client’s feelings about you and, most importantly, the therapeutic work that she has been doing, I think it will strengthen the therapeutic relationship is a very beneficial way.
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
Last week I traveled to the Wind River Reservation close to Lander, Wyoming to be a part of the Eastern Shoshone’s welcome to their spiritual and survival animal – the buffalo – back to their land after 130 years of the bisons’ absence and some 70 years of the tribal leaders working on this project. My involvement in this memorable experience was only due to my membership in the National Wildlife Federation over the years; the NWF supported the Shoshone’s efforts and helped bring this Buffalo Return Project to fruition working alongside the tribal leaders for many years.
So, what does this have to do with my title for this month: Finding the Deeper Meaning in Life?
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE SOCIAL WORK LICENSING BOARD REGARDING SANCTIONS FOR NOT HAVING ALLCEUs AT RENEWAL:
SUCCESS FOR LICENSEES AND NASW!!
I received quite a few questions in August from social workers about the new renewal process and what to do if the social worker had not gotten all of his/her CEUs in time for renewal. The Board did not used to be too draconian about this and let licensees submit their paperwork late in case of audit and late CEUs. But, this year the Board became quite serious about CEUs not being obtained by the time of the renewal and required any licensees who had not completed their CEUs by renewal time to enter into Consent Agreements, which of course constitute public discipline. I had several social workers ask me to represent them in fighting the Board, but I declined due to the lack of possibility that I could actually help them overturn the Board’s decision to force a Consent Agreement (in lieu of suspension).
Then, I recently got some REALLY GREAT NEWS from someone who had reached out to me earlier. She told me:
I contacted you a few weeks ago, for possible assistance with a continuing education sanctioning issue in Louisiana. The issue has resolved and the Board rescinded all consent agreements on all social workers and paid back fines in the continuing education argument regarding how it should be handled. I just wanted you to know and thank you for your timely response when I reached out.
Nice to know the licensees could advocate and impact a bureaucratic change.
When I asked the social worker how it happened, she responded:
Numerous letters from licensees stating their case and their right to their license, once hours were completed, as noted in the Social Work Practice Act, and fantastic advocacy from the director of NASW-LA, Carmen Weisner.
I then contacted Carmen Weisner, Executive Director for LA NASW, who was instrumental in the Board’s change of heart. I congratulated Carmen for her organization’s success and asked how she accomplished this feat, to which she responded:
Our phones rang off the hook during this renewal cycle. I sent letter with 10 concerns. I am publishing my letter and response in the next newsletter to demonstrate the value of membership in the professional association.
Indeed, support organizations for our particular disciplines can make a big difference if the E.D. is as vigorous in advocating for the licensees as Carmen was in this matter. I encourage each of you to join your support organization and, perhaps before joining, ask the E.D. if they have an active advocacy arm in the organization. That might include legislative advocacy, which is also vital to our professional integrity.
Deb’s Louisiana 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).
If you would like to discuss a possible referral, please call me at 504.232.8884.
(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.
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.