7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Deb will present a 1.25 hour workshop entitled:
“Self-Protective, Clinical Practice with High-Risk Clients”
Deb will address how to manage risks with high-risk clients, how to respond to subpoenas for records or deposition/trial testimony, and how to effectively treat child/adolescent clients when their parents are divorced. Deb emphasizes self-protective clinical practice and includes how to best preserve the therapeutic relationship amidst all these challenging situations. Case examples will be offered and participants are welcome to present troublesome situations as long as time allows.
The Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work is again pleased to be offering the following educational and networking opportunities to our members and the community of mental health professionals. These informal workshops exhibit an excellent array of presentations by CSCSW’s more seasoned clinical social workers and other accomplished professionals from the community. They are hosted by members of the Society in their homes. Please contact us if you would like to receive evite’s to these Salons. Non-members will be charged a $30.00 fee (no charge for students).
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: I have encountered questions about allowing clients to defer some of their payment for therapy and if such practice may present ethical issues. These deferred payments can arise in the form of co-pays that are deferred or a deductible in a new calendar year that the insurance fails to pay or perhaps a private pay client who has lost employment and the therapist offers a period of time where the payment for services is put on a “tab” for want of a better term.
Therapists often have told me they feel badly when an ongoing client falls on hard economic times, which is generally what precipitates the above deferment of payment. We are a helping profession and when someone loses his or her job, or cannot find a job, the stress is particularly great at these times and therapy is most indicated.
So, what to do and how to do it self-protectively?
A: Allowing a large balance to accrue is probably not the best idea. I have defended therapists who had thousands of dollars of deferred payments that had built up over many years of treatment. Why did I see these cases? Because the client who loved the therapist for many, many years ended up filing a complaint/grievance against the therapist. These may be the extreme cases.
In cases where a smaller balance is anticipated to accrue, it is essential to have the modification of the typical payment plan (which I hope is pay each session at the time of the session, rather than the older fashioned practice of billing client for services rendered at the end of the month) in writing. I would suggest that this writing be as specific as possible and include such things as: (1) length of time for the nonpayment or educed payment to last, (2) circumstances that would terminate the agreement, (3) client’s permission for therapist to release essential info of client for purposes of collection if any payback agreement is not followed, and (4) any other issues that the therapist and client agree on.
This is a sticky wicket indeed and a therapist should carefully consider whether she or he wants to engage in this type of financial modification, but in some cases, therapists do want to offer reduced fees and/or deferred payments for a period of time to some clients, especially those who have a longer history with the therapist. Documentation is crucial!
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
DORA: What’s On the Various Boards’ Radar?
I try to attend all the public Board meetings of all the Mental Health Boards: Social Work, Professional Counselors, Psychologists, Marriage & Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors, and Registered Psychotherapists. Each month, this section will address current issues that arise in various Board meetings that may seem helpful for practicing clinicians.
This past month was not fruitful for this section of the newsletter because I was out of town one of the DORA meetings and the other mental health board meeting that was scheduled for Sept. 16th was canceled by that board.
Hope that next month will provide more info for this DORA Board section.
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.”
NEW to Deb’s Practice
(1) Referrals being accepted for women’s therapy group to begin in the fall. Good candidates include women between ages approximately 30 – 60 who are undergoing a significant life transition, such as (a) loss of job, (b) major health issue, (c) divorce or death of partner, or (d) depression/anxiety that you believe group work would help. Client would continue in individual therapy with referring therapist – group would only augment clinical work.
If you would like to discuss a possible referral, please call me at 504.232.8884.
(2) Post-Divorce Facilitation – (2) if any of your clients are considering divorce or have recently gotten divorced, I am available to help facilitate the process between the parents with the co-parenting of their children. It takes a new headset to become successful, non-conflictual co-parents, especially when the baggage of divorce litigation is hanging heavy over their heads. If you want more information about the co-parenting facilitation, feel free to email or call me or have the interested client contact me.
(3) My therapy office in Lakewood (Green Mountain area) is available for reasonable subletting by day, half-day, or evening. A couple evenings have been taken, but some remain as do a few days or half-days. Please check out my listing on Craigslist Denver or call me for more info or to schedule a time to visit the office.
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 also maintains a clinical practice in Denver, with an office in the Green Mountain area of Lakewood. Through that private practice, Deb offers individual and couple therapy, primarily, and will be starting an ongoing women’s therapy group in the Fall (ages 35-65; interviews for group placement will be conducted upon referral). Referrals for the group are welcome – 504.232.8884.
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.