Ethical Management of Risk: Walking the Clinical High Wire with Couples, Families, and Lawyers

Presented by Deborah M. Henson, MSW, LCSW, JD, LL.M on 05-06-2020 at 9 a.m. Pacific (noon Eastern) to 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern)

In this 2-hour continuing education webinar for mental health professionals, Deb Henson will examine the high-risk nature of clinical practice in 2020, and the ethical obligations and challenges when working with couples and families. For example, when couples decide to divorce, frequently their therapist will become entangled in the clients’ litigation. This may result in the therapist receiving a subpoena for records and/or deposition and trial testifying.

Deb will present vital information for clinicians’ ethical responses in what can be a litigious day and age. She will also discuss case examples brought forward by participants, as well as case examples from her own work defending clinicians who have faced legal and ethical dilemmas in their clinical practices, which provides much grist for the training mill.

Deb will help clinicians develop ethical, self-protective strategies to avoid high-risk cases turning into worst-case scenarios. As a seasoned clinician who has a firm belief in protecting clients and guarding their confidentiality, Deb’s suggestions are always fashioned to protect the therapeutic relationship and the client and therapist from bullying, harassing legal activity.

In addition, Deb will teach clinicians a relatively simple step-by-step approach for ethically responding to subpoenas for records, depositions, and/or trial testifying. She will also help clinicians learn how to prepare for litigation events such as depositions and trial testifying with confidence.

The agenda for the presentation is as follows:

  • Ethical Obligations in the Context of Couples and Families
    • Why Couples and Families are Considered High-Risk Clients
    • Certain Risks Inherent in Treating Couples and Families
    • Specific Clinical and Legal Challenges When Working with Couples and Families: Case Examples
  • Ethically Responding to Subpoenas and Working with Attorneys
    • Self-Protective, Client-Protective Procedure upon Receipt of Subpoena
    • Subpoenas for Records, Deposition, or Trial Testimony
    • Preparing Clinician and Clients for Legal Involvement of Either/Both

This introductory level web conference is designed to help clinicians:

  1. Describe strategies to balance the ethical requirements of client confidentiality with the legal demands of a subpoena.
  2. Explain strategies to respond ethically and self-protectively to subpoenas for records or testimony.
  3. Reduce one's fear/anxiety related to testifying in depositions or at trial.
  4. Mitigate adverse effects of legal involvement on the therapeutic relationship.
  5. Identify the differences between clinicians’ and litigators’ goals and mindsets to be more effective in handling legal involvement.

Statement of program material's accuracy, utility, and risks: This program presents practical information to help therapists when they must get involved in their clients’ legal matters. Deb’s suggestions always are fashioned to protect the therapeutic relationship and the client and therapist from bullying, harassing legal activity. This program discusses strategies for ethically responding to subpoenas and for preparing to testify at depositions and/or trial. The presenter will discuss situations and clinical dilemmas presented in advance by the participants and/or those encountered in Deb’s legal practice defending clinicians when they receive a licensing board complaint.

Declaration of conflicts of interest and commercial support: No conflicts of interest. The presenter conducts ethics trainings; provides clinical and legal services; and has written articles, blogs, and mental health newsletters related to the content of this program.

If you have any questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us here.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

2 CE contact hours will be provided by GoodTherapy for attending this web conference in its entirety. To receive CE credit hours for an archived recording, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events are generally considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

GoodTherapy is an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within Legal, Ethical, and Professional Development.

GoodTherapy is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 3/30/2019 – 3/30/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 2 ethics continuing education credits.

GoodTherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content. GoodTherapy.org received APA approval in May 2011. Events after 2011 may meet APA requirements for Continuing Education credits.

GoodTherapy, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395. GoodTherapy, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

To receive CE credit hours for an archived event, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 12 or 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events generally are considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

Registration Information

Premium and Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no additional cost, as well as other member benefits such as a profile listing in GoodTherapy's Therapist Directory. Not yet a member? Sign up for a Premium or Pro Membership, here.

Just want CE credits? Sign up for a monthly or annual CE Subscription with GoodTherapy to get unlimited access to our CE Program, including this event, other live CE web conferences, and hundreds of hours of homestudy courses.

Mental health professionals who are not members can access the homestudy recording for $14.95. Sign up here to purchase this CE course and earn a CE certificate.

If the event is canceled by GoodTherapy, registrants who purchased the event will be notified and the charge for the event will be refunded

If you have any questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us.

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Meet the Presenter

Deborah M. Henson, MSW, LCSW, JD, LL.M

Deborah M. Henson, MSW, LCSW, JD, LL.M

Deb Henson is a licensed clinical social worker (Tulane School of Social Work, 1977) with over 35 years clinical experience. She has also been a lawyer since 1991 and has been defending clinicians since 2000 in various types of licensing board matters. Deb also has a robust practice of risk prevention consultation for therapists.

After conducting ethics training around the country for respected training organizations since 2006, Deb started her own training business, Beyond Ethics, LLC, in 2009. Through Beyond Ethics, LLC, Deb has been offering two to four trainings annually in Louisiana since its inception and in Colorado since 2015. She is now moving to webinar presentations in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Learn more or connect with Deb through her training website at beyond-ethics.com or her law and social work website at deborahmhenson.com.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • aceGoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. GoodTherapy.org received APA approval in May 2011. Events after 2011 may meet APA requirements for Continuing Education credits.
  • Logo GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • aceGoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 03/30/2019 - 03/30/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 2 continuing education credits.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.
  • Person Centered Tech, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Person Centered Tech, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

649 CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy Premium or Pro Members at no additional cost.
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