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: I often get asked in consultations about dual relationships between therapist and client. The explanation of a dual relationship in the social work rules is as follows:
“Social workers shall be aware, even in those instances where other relationships are not specifically prohibited, that the social worker by promoting, encouraging, or participating in any relationship with a client or former client runs a risk of exploitation.”
Examples that are given, although not an exclusive list, includes: Personal Relationships with Clinical/Therapeutic Clients; Personal Relationships with Former Clinical/Therapeutic Clients; Sexual Intimacy or Contact with a Client, Supervisee or Student; Sexual Intimacy or Contact with a Former Client; Business Relationship with a Client, Supervisee or Student; Business Relationship with a Former Client; Prior Personal or Business Relationships. The section of this rule (#113) ends with this proviso:
“Social Worker Responsibility. A social worker shall be solely responsible for acting appropriately in regard to relationships with clients or former clients. A client or a former client’s initiation of a personal, sexual, or business relationship shall not be a defense by the social worker for a violation of §113.B.1-8.”
LPCs caution about dual relationships as follows:
Non-professional interactions or relationships (non-sexual) with clients, former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members should be avoided except when the interaction is potentially beneficial to the client.
Further, the LPC rule mandates a protocol before entering into a non-professional relationship with a client:
- If LPC decides to engage in nonprofessional relationship with client, LPC must document in case record (prior to the interaction when feasible) the rationale for such an interaction, the potential benefit, and anticipated consequences for client/former client and for others significantly involved with client.
- Must obtain client consent.
- If harm results, LPC must show evidence of attempts to remedy such harm.
If a LPC changes roles with a client, s/he must obtain informed consent from the client and explain the right of the client to refuse such change of role.
Examples: (1) individual to couple/family therapy; (2) forensic to therapeutic role or vice versa (DH says DO NOT DO THIS); (3) licensee to researcher role; or (4) licensee to mediator or vice versa.
Examples of some dual relationships are as follows: (1) providing therapy to an employee of the therapist; (2) providing therapy to anyone who provides services to you, your colleagues, or your close relatives; (3) providing therapy to someone with whom you are engaged in an intimate or close friendship, or anyone closely associated with that person; (4) providing therapy to someone you supervise or teach; and (5) providing therapy to someone for whom you are also providing another service to that is not associated with mental health treatment.
Thus, for our Question of the month . . .
What if a client who is struggling to make her new cleaning business grow and support her and her kids asks you if you want to employ her or her employees to: (1) clean your office? (2) clean your home? (3) clean rental apartments that you own, but do not live in or around? She also asks if she can post her new business flyer at your office and if you would send out an email to any listservs you are a member of telling the other therapists or people about her business and recommend her on these lists.
Therapists want to help their clients and the one outlined above wants to stay in therapy, but cannot afford health insurance that pays much or at all for therapy. Helping the client’s business would help facilitate her being able to afford therapy.
WHAT TO DO???
A: Think long and hard about the dual relationship issues. Safer for her to clean a rental apartment that you merely own and manage. But not your therapy office! And not your home, though in long ago therapy days, bartering was not unheard of and sometimes clients cleaned their therapists’ homes in exchange for some or all of the therapy fee. Those days are long gone and the Boards would look unfavorably upon such intimate dual relationships.
What about recommending the client’s business to your friends and colleagues? Again, probably not great for your reputation (or professional safety with the licensing boards) to recommend a client’s business, especially if you do not have any real knowledge of the skill and/or reliability or trustworthiness of the client or her employees. Better stay out of this and explain that ethically, as her therapist, you are prohibited from entering relationships with client that are personal or business in nature in order to protect the therapeutic relationship from any interference or possible contamination: therapy and her best interests as your client come first.
Clinicians in agency settings or private practice are surrounded by grief, sadness, toxic behavior, depression, anxiety, and questions about the meaning or purpose of life. The influx of heaviness and sorrow sometimes seems to never end. Then, the work day is over, but the feelings of desperation and despair, frustration and anger, etc. persist within the healer as s/he leaves the office for the trip home. Where do those feelings go? How do we dissipate them from inside our guts — and sometimes, inside our very souls?
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
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.
(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.