REPORT ON THE RECENT DENVER TRAINING
July 12, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Clubhouse of the French Quarter Condos
1155 S. Monaco Parkway, Denver, Colorado 80224
We had a great turnout for the training and lots of lively discussion concerning case examples given by participants as well as from my law practice. Participants received certificates for 3.0 CPDs for renewal.
Amy Diller deserves a huge THANK YOU for graciously hosting the training at her condominium clubhouse!!
I will be offering similar (different topics, but always with a “self-protective” orientation for clinicians) next year. Stay tuned and please tell your colleagues to sign up for my mailing list to receive these mental health newsletters as well as the Beyond Ethics email announcements. They can go to www.beyond-ethics.com to sign up for the e-mailing list.
UPCOMING SEMINAR TOPICS
Here is a topic that I have presented on recently in New Orleans:
Ethical Clinical Practice in an Electronic Age
I will be happy to schedule that one in Denver if I get some requests. It is a brave, new world!!
Clinicians: please let me know if you have topics of interest. I will do my best to formulate a training (3.0 hours) around and/or including your topic for future workshops in Denver.
Here are some comments from participants at the recent training:
- “I thought it was great! Referencing the laws and case examples – super helpful.”
- “Very informative. Thanks, Deb! Nice location.”
- “Very helpful for me as relatively new therapist in private practice.”
- “Never thought about advanced consent – very helpful! Thank you, Deb!”
- “Loved especially the discussion at the end regarding use of authentic self! Being centered!”
- “It was helpful to hear real cases to see the chain of events in legal aspects and what could have happened to prevent escalation.”
- “Very informative seminar. Facilitator was very expert and energetic!”
Question/Answer Corner: What’s On Your Mind?
Q: What if your teen client (15 years old) says that s/he is thinking about transitioning? Let’s say you are not feeling very adept at dealing with trans issues and this announcement makes you wonder if you would be the best therapist to handle such an intimate and complex journey with the teen. More facts: you have been seeing the teenager for over a year very regularly. S/He was brought to you by the parents due to some minor, yet persistent acting out behavior in school (getting sent to office for cursing students and being disrespectful to some teachers) and at home with a younger sibling (pushing and shoving, taunting, etc.). The presenting problems have largely resolved and you were thinking about bringing up termination when the teenager announced this new issue.
Should you refer her/him right away? You worry that if you don’t, you will be practicing outside your area of competence. Should you discuss this with the parents?
A: First, don’t panic. Just because the teen client brings up thoughts about transitioning does not mean that s/he will actually pursue it. Use your clinical skills – explore the feelings and thoughts underlying this announcement. Certainly take it seriously, but do not conclude that it is a fait accompli.
The teen may only be testing you or testing the idea. Will you accept her/him if s/he pursues transitioning? Will you be judgmental? Will you tell the parents? Explore the idea with the teen client as you would any other idea. What if the teen announced that s/he is thinking about cutting? Or running away? Would you immediately refer out? Or tell the parents? Probably not, unless you believed that the teen was in danger. Talking about edgy ideas is part of adolescence, right? Testing adults’ reactions and trying on new identities in the safety of the therapeutic relationship.
Stick with the teenager and use your clinical skills to explore. If it turns out that the teen is serious, you will have plenty of time to find an appropriate referral. The most important thing, of course, is always preserving and deepening the therapeutic relationship. Perhaps the teen would feel hurt if you referred her/him too quickly – misinterpreting your wish to have the best therapist for the teen’s journey.
My focus with consultations is always inclusive of the clinical aspects, not just the legal issues that may arise (or that a consulting therapist presents). Of course we also consider any and all legal/ethical risks that any action implicates, but many times the clinically excellent option is also the legally best one.
I am always happy to assist you with any high-risk clients/situations that bring you angst. Together we can surely find some options that will (1) honor the therapeutic relationship (unless that person has already filed a grievance against you), (2) consider the clinical aspects of any action, and (3) protect you from any legal/ethical misstep.
Due to rather odd circumstances, between mid-July and late August, I had two surgeries for the same thing. The first one “failed” according to the 2nd opinion specialist. The 2nd surgery, 4.5 weeks after the first one, was more than twice as long and much more invasive due to the necessary removal of the first thing. Long story short, I ended up feeling like several trucks had run over me, then backed up and run over me again.
Recent blog posts you might be interested in:
Training/Legal Consultation For Clinicians/Agencies
I have been providing training for high risk clinical situations and legal involvement of the therapist for groups here in Colorado. I consult with individual practitioners, small groups of clinicians, and agencies to help therapists prepare for deposition or trial testimony, or to handle a subpoena request for clinical records.
I am available to meet with individual therapists who need risk prevention consultation and/or with groups of any size for any type of self-protective, clinical practice in this litigious age. I can custom tailor training to your particular agency or small group with questions submitted in advance by participants, if desired.
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.