UPCOMING ETHICS TRAINING
through Deb’s BEYOND ETHICS, LLC
Ethical Managing of High-Risk Situations in Clinical Practice:
8:45 a.m. to 12:00
East Jefferson General Hospital Conference Center
1st Floor of Main Hospital
4200 Houma Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70006
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 – acting ethically AND self-protectively are not in conflict.
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.
INFORMATION FROM May 31st WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
We had over 80 participants at the May 31st workshop!! It was fabulous. Participants had many great examples and we spent quite a bit of time discussing various scenarios, balancing risks against benefits for each proposed course of action. This process of weighing and balancing is what makes ETHICS so fascinating to me and to many who were at the workshop.
Some of the participants had this to say about Deb’s most recent training:
- “Deb provides awesome, thought-provoking info. I wish my agency would have had this info available for the clinicians before we went on the stand [at trial].”
- “Deb is such an incredible speaker – and knowledgeable. I really appreciate everything [she] does to advocate for social workers and the mental health profession(s).”
- “Very lively and informative. Made a serious subject clearer.”
- “Great topic and delivery – love Deb’s navigation of the grey areas. Thank you!”
- “Deb presented excellent information that I feel will help me with my practice. Excellent info! Great workshop.”
- “I attend multiple, legal, ethical practice trainings and Deb is excellent in presentation. Thank you!”
- “Great advice about staying balanced/grounded in testifying.”
- “I appreciate Deborah being both a clinician and an attorney. Frightening possibilities regarding DORA, but [she helped me] know what possible protections I can possibly provide for clients and myself.”
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.
Other blog posts you might be interested in:
Deb’s Louisiana Law 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).
(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. Now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Louisiana has to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples and I can get a second parent adoption accomplished via the Intrafamily adoption statute in any parish.
What people said about 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.”
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.